Head in the Clouds Knitting Pattern

Head in the clouds shawl sitting on a manikin.

Over the last few months, I’ve found myself reaching for gradient yarns more and more frequently. Don’t get me wrong, I think solid or heathered colorways are still my favorite, but I think gradient colorways are giving me the space to work with more than one color without sacrificing the complexity of the project. Gradients allow you to continue to play around with texture, something I’ve been drawn to of late. This is a roundabout way of saying that when Wonderland Yarns asked me if I wanted to design a pattern for their March Blossom Club, they received an enthusiastic yes!

It took a few tries before I landed on a design that I was happy with, despite going into the design process with the idea of “head in the clouds” after seeing the colorway. My first attempt was a shawl that didn’t make it much further than casting on. Then I tried a cowl with a provisional cast on with the general goal of grafting the ends together at the end, this design didn’t make it much further than the second repeat. Third time was the charm, although I did have to put it down for an evening before committing to it. Visualizing the way a design is going to knit up and block is very difficult – even making a gauge swatch leaves a lot left to the imagination when it comes to what the larger garment will look like. There’s this delicate balance between creating from an idea and calling the project when it’s clear that it’s not working out the way that you intended it to.

Head in the Clouds is a quick knit cowl, despite being knit in fingering weight yarn, with a textured design meant to remind the wearer of birds migrating and puffy clouds in the sky. Guage is not important for this pattern, but not knitting the cowl to gauge will affect yardage requirements (and Head in the Clouds uses just about an entire skein of blossom!).

You can purchase Head in the Clouds on Ravelry.

Close up of the head in the clouds cowl being worn.

Madonna Sorrel Mini

Red Sorrel Mini in progress photo with the yoke and half the body completed.

Wool and Pine has been on my radar since the beginning, I love the way their patterns use color and texture to create beautiful knitwear pieces. It’s also hard not to love their body positivity and inclusivity model of designing. Despite my enthusiasm and owning one of their patterns, I had yet to sit down and actually create one of their designs. Some of this was knowing that we were trying for a baby and I didn’t want to make a garment that would never fit and some of this was having a queue of knits already in the works. Either way, I quickly added their Minis Collection to my queue and have loosely decided to work my way through the book.

The first pattern I started with was Sorrel Mini. I thought it would look super cute in a skein of madelinetosh TML + TWEED in Madonna from my stash (I was right!) and I have almost enough of a sweater quantity to make myself a larger DK version if I liked working the pattern. After finding gauge with a US size 2, I enthusiastically cast on size 6-12 months and worked my way through the yoke and down to the body of the sweater.

This is a very silly observation to bring to the table because it should have been obvious to me just by looking at the sweater, but Sorrel is a lot of purling. In fact, the entire sweater minus the yoke and ribbing is worked in reverse stockinette. While it looks gorgeous, I had to pay a bit more attention to my stitches and the little sweater seemed to take longer due to my speed when purling vs knitting. That’s really my only complaint about the little sweater, and it’s not really a fair complaint to make because I should have noticed it going in!

To compensate or rather to take a break from purling, I ended up knitting the sleeves inside out. While this mentally solved the problem, it did change my gauge a little bit. The sleeve stitches are a little bit looser than the body stitches (baby doesn’t care!), so if I do end up making a DK version for myself that’s something I’ll need to keep in mind. The other modification that I made to the pattern was to knit the sleeves 6 inches with 1 inch of ribbing instead of 5 inches with two inches of ribbing. I have a feeling the longer cuff was used with the idea that it could be folded over, but my preference is to fold the ribbing over onto stockinette on little sweaters.

Since I don’t usually work with single ply yarn, I wanted to take a minute to note that I enjoyed working with the skein of TML + Tweed that I picked up from my local yarn store. It was a little bit of an impulse buy, but seeing as I was eyeing the skeins during our craft night it’s safe to say that there are more skeins in my future.

Sorrel Mini knit in madelinetosh TML + Tweed in the colorway Mondona.

Firefighter Knit Overalls

A while ago now, I stumbled across a firefighter-inspired print on Spoonflower and purchased a yard of it in their organic cotton knit. The theory behind this purchase was twofold: it’s a super cute pattern to make something for a baby and it would give me the chance to work with their organic cotton knit without committing to an adult size project.

Sewing with this fabric is like sewing with butter. Seriously, there were parts of this project that were 4-5 layers thick and my machine didn’t even skip a beat. Plus, it’s softer than I was expecting and one can’t help but imagine a pair of pajamas or an everyday dress being made with a different print.

In terms of choosing a pattern for the fabric, I knew that I wanted something on the gender-neutral side. As much as I love the Germanium Pattern as a dress workhorse, even using the sunsuit hack limits the sewist to a more feminine garment. Not that baby cares! Let’s be honest, baby will wear anything that you dress them in at this stage of the game. It’s really the parents that you’re sewing for at this stage of the game and, even though my husband and I are the parents for this one, I really wanted to add another workhorse pattern to my arsenal.

I don’t remember how exactly I stumbled upon OhMeOhMySewing Patterns, perhaps a Pinterest search for baby sewing patterns put them on my radar? While they have many patterns that have quickly earned an “ohh I want to make that someday”, I knew I found the pattern I was looking for when I saw their Knit Overalls Pattern. Cute little pocket on the front, the ability to choose between snap or button closures… it was perfect for filling the hole in my pattern collection. I also love that it goes up to a size 5 years!

Initially, I meant to sew the 9-12 month version in pants because it’s going to be chilly by the time our little one can wear that size, but I wasn’t paying attention when selecting pattern pieces to cut out and ended up cutting out the front and back pieces for the shorts instead of the pants. Completely my fault and not a reflection of the pattern.

All in all, these little overalls came together super quickly and I’m thrilled with the final result. I may modify the bottom closure next time in order to incorporate snaps for easier diaper changes, but otherwise, the only change to the pattern I made this time around was to add topstitching to the top edging in order to help the lining stay in place after washing.

Having sewn the pattern using a knit fabric, I’m confident that the shorts version of this pattern could also be used when working with woven fabric (and you could probably lengthen the legs to turn them into a pants version). That being said, if you’re someone who works more with wovens than knits, OhMeOhMy also has a Woven Overall Pattern.

In case you were wondering, I’m already jonesing to make this one again. Perhaps another shorts version for my niece’s upcoming birthday?

Toddler sized overalls with yellow buttons and a firefighter pattern printed on them that includes hoses, fire extinguishers, hats, boots, axes and fire hydrants.

Kiwi Bird Bubble Romper

Front view of a bubble romper made with gauze fabric with multi colored cartoon kiwi birds.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, we’re expecting an addition to our little family! I feel like it’s taken me forever to start crafting for them. For starters, we don’t know the gender of our child. While this doesn’t affect the colors or fabrics that I use, it does seem to have an effect on the patterns that I want to work with.

Honestly, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of gender-neutral sewing/knitting patterns out there unless you’re willing to make “just a sweater” or “just a onesie”. Don’t get me wrong, those are important and would get a lot of use… they’re just also not very fun to make. I can’t help it, if we have a little girl there will be more hand-sewn dresses in my future. It’s not that I wouldn’t knit or sew for a little boy, it’s just that there seems to be fewer options to choose from. So really, until our child starts to have strong opinions about what they wear it will be a little bit of this and a little bit of that (and even when they do start to care it will still be a whole lot of hand-me-downs).

I have never worked with gauze fabric before, and while I’m not on a mission (at this point) to try every fabric out there, Spoonflower’s Sweat Pea Gauze combined with cartoon kiwi birds seemed like a fun summer combination. Add in a free swimsuit pattern from Made-by-Rae in order to adjust the base of her Germanium Dress and you’re on your way to imagining how my afternoon went. Filled with deep breaths, “you gots this”s, and a triumphant look what I made at the end.

Back view of a bubble romper made with gauze fabric with multi colored cartoon kiwi birds.

Why not just use the entire swimsuit pattern from start to finish? To be perfectly candid, it probably would have been easier due to having fewer pieces. In my opinion, the bodice area on the swimsuit is slanted towards the feminine side and I wanted to make sure that this romper could be worn comfortably regardless of gender. Plus, the swimsuit has a lot of gathers in the top and I honestly wasn’t in the mood to mess around with that many rows.

It will be interesting to see how the final garment wears on a person as the gauze fabric has a lot of drape to it. This may be a situation where it’s less poofy from the fabric and more poofy due to having a diaper underneath, but either way, it’s a cute ensemble to add to our collection (that and it feels good to be crafting for our little one)!

Time will tell if I will reserve gauze fabric for dresses, shirts, and pants that don’t bubble as it was a little tricky to work with. I also plan on using this tutorial to modify an overall pattern I found so that it has snaps for easy diaper changes. Stay tuned, and be prepared for some baby knits to make an appearance soon!

Red Feather Spice

Since before we even started dating, I’ve been knitting for my husband. In fact, by the time we started dating I think I had already made him three pairs of socks and a scarf. One of his favorite stories to tell is how we went into the movie theater to watch The Joker and came out with a half-finished sock (I can knit without looking, but I can’t turn a heel without looking!). In my defense, we were really good friends before we started dating and he’s from an area of New Zealand where it doesn’t really get cold. His first pair of handknit socks were such a game-changer that he literally asked when he could get a second pair as soon as he had them on his feet. He took to my handknits so enthusiastically that for our first holiday season together, I knit him a sweater. And then I knit him another one a few months later, and another one a few months after that.

I’ve almost knit sweaters for the men (ok one man) in my life before. In fact, I was working on an octopus embrace sweater when the sweater curse struck and I realized that the work needed to create the handknit wasn’t worth the relationship! After that, I refused to knit anything larger than a sock (just because they’re small doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot of stitches!) for my partners. My husband, who at this point now has 4 handknit sweaters to his name from me, is the first man I have ever given a sweater to. He’s also 100% worthy of each of them and is always willing to oo and aww when I show him progress updates.

Knowing that we had a winter baby on the way, I wanted to make him something particularly cozy this year (after all, there would be a time that he would have to take the dog out on his own). There are about 8-10 sweaters that I’ve favorited over the last few months because I thought he would like them, so I don’t have a good reason for choosing to make a Spice Cardigan other than the fact that my local yarn shop‘s birthday was coming up (they had a giveaway bag if you spent over x amount, which is so easy to do with sweater quantities) and I have been wanting to work with Spincycle Yarns for a while. In fact, it wasn’t until after I purchased both the pattern and the yarn (I snagged some Forge by Hudson + West Co to go with the Spincycle) that I realized the pattern required the cardigan to be steeked. But we’ll get to that in a little bit.

When it comes to sweater construction, I don’t have strong feelings about top-down, bottom-up, or pieces that require seaming. I usually pick a sweater pattern by the design itself and then throw myself into it. Having said that, I’ve never knit the sleeves of a sweater before knitting the body of a sweater. This is not an uncommon technique, many knitters even do it so that they can use the sleeve as a gauge swatch. Andrea Mowry actually wrote Spice in such a way that you knit the sleeves before you knit the body of the sweater. True, it’s easy enough to knit the body of this sweater first and then set it aside for the sleeves, but it was sort of satisfying to have “completed” two parts of the sweater before even casting on for the body.

The colorwork stitches being every other stitch is nice as well, the yarn flew between my fingers as opposed to requiring that I slowed down to pick up a float from time to time.

I suppose this brings me to steeking, that thing I’ve successfully avoided my entire knitting career. Until this sweater. After attempting a few stitches of the crochet reinforcement, I ended up deciding to use the straight stitch on my sewing machine instead. Though nerve-wracking, it was easier than I thought it would be to sew through the knit fabric. Next, I picked up the stitches for the collar based on a suggestion from Tincanknits and tried to knit a row (and put off cutting the fabric a little longer). This method result in a cramped working space, so I ended grabbing my scissors and spending two minutes cutting the knit fabric before continuing the collar.

Now that I have a steeked project under my belt, I can say that it’s honestly not that bad. I don’t see myself seeking out projects just to steek, but I don’t see myself actively avoiding them either. All in all, I would (and probably will) steek again.

An orange cardigan with a shawl collar and five toggle buttons laid flat.