Saturday, January 30, 2010

Super Simple Ruffled Baby Shrug

As you may have gathered from the title of this post, these are not just gratuitous baby photos. This is about the shrug she's wearing.
As you can see from this sort of back view, it's really straightforward. I wanted something that was not only feminine, but simple and rustic. I think I accomplished that.

Here's my pattern for it.

Simple Ruffle Baby Shrug

Size: 9 - 12 months

Yarn: Paton's Classic Wool (100g, 205 m, 223 yds) Natural Mix

Needles: US9

Gauge: After I knit this up, I decided gauge wasn't especially critical for this project. Paton's Classic Wool calls for US7 needles to get 20s = 4" (10 cm), but I chose to have a looser fabric by jumping up a couple needle sizes to US9. Had I used US7 needles, I probably would have gotten gauge (for some reason, this tends to happen with me), a somewhat denser fabric, and possibly size 6-9 months. So the option of other sizes could be addressed by variously changing the yarn used and the size of the needles, I imagine. Just remember that garter stitch stretches horizontally considerably.

PM: Place stitch marker
SM: Stitch marker

NOTE ON BUTTONHOLES: I started mine on Row 3, then made the second one at about 2", counted the number of rows between the first buttonhole and the second, and then placed the third buttonhole after I had knit that many rows. (For example, if I knit 24 rows after the first buttonhole, placing the second buttonhole on Row 25, I then knit 24 more rows and made the following row the buttonhole row. Then I knit three more rows.)

CO 36

Row 1 [WS]: k8, PM, k5, PM, k10, PM, k5, PM, k8, turn.

Row 2 [RS]: *k to 1 st before SM, yo, k1, sl SM, k1, yo, repeat from * to end, turn.

Row 3: k across row, turn.

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until knitting measures 4" from CO edge, ending with a RS row. Place sts between 1st SM and 2nd SM, and 3rd SM and 4th SM on scrap yarn to be worked later. (These are the sleeves sts.)

Next Row: p3, *yo, p1, repeat from * to 3 sts before end of row, yo, p3, turn. Work in stocking stitch for about 1 1/2 inches (3.75 cm). Cast off all sts.

Place sts on scrap yarn on needles. With RS facing, rejoin yarn at armpit, making sure to leave about 4" (10 cm) of tail. k3, *yo, k1, repeat from * until 3 sts before end of row, k3. Work in stocking stitch for 1 1/2 inches (3.75 cm). Cast off all sts. Turn work inside out and use CO tail to close gap in armpit.

Sew on buttons, weave in all ends. Block if desired. (The ruffles will curl up at the edges, so I blocked mine to minimize it.)

Voila! You have a baby shrug!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Oh, hail!

It was raining like the dickens today. Yes siree, we are in the depths of California winter here - some of the hail actually turned to snow on the back porch. True, there was only enough for one snowball, but what do you really expect? As I said, this is California.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Knitting Without Tears

I've been reading Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Without Tears while nursing the baby down to sleep at night, which has it's pros and cons. The positive side of it is that I am reading something both interesting and educational. I used to be a bookaholic. Okay, perhaps I still am, since the only thing that rivals my yarn hoard is my book hoard, but the point is that before the arrival of the baby I actually had time to amass and read these books, rather than simply amass. They say that when you have a child that it takes up time that would otherwise be spent on other things. This is true for obvious reasons. What is hard to predict, however, is what shape this will take. Some people say that the knitting suffers. I find this not to be the case, especially now that the baby enjoys being in her walker for periods of time during the day. For me, reading as a daily activity got pushed out of circulation. But thanks to our new evening schedule (I wash baby, daddy oils and pj's baby, I nurse baby down to sleep and read while laying with her once she's stopped fussing) I am opening books again. Very good, illuminating books. Which brings us to the cons of the situation.

Knitting Without Tears makes me want to knit everything in her book. Just exactly as she tells me to, and ASAP. I thought I was a pretty knowledgeable knitter, but she really opened my eyes to some fundamental things that I am shocked I've overlooked for so long. Like that backwards loops aren't just for adding stitches at the end of rows or buttonholes - it can stand in for an M1. Simple, obvious, and totally overlooked by me. So here I am at nights, engrossed and gobsmacked by this book, a six month old baby firmly latched on to my boob while I lay in the bed, unable to get up and get to work exploring these sudden revelations.

It is, in a word, torture.

I finished it last night, thank goodness. Now I am waiting for another Elizabeth Zimmerman book in the mail. Because I am a masochist.

Please enjoy the following gratuitous holiday baby photo: