Baby Messenger Henley

Teal baby sweater with yellow stripes across the yoke and sleeves. Three purl snaps are used to keep the henley neckline closed.

Let me start by saying a few things:

1) I probably should have done a gauge swatch because I would have learned the correct needle size to use. Using a size 5 instead of a size 4 has left me with a size ~12 months instead of ~6 months.

2) You can’t tell, but I put the outie of the snaps on the wrong part (I prefer the outie to attach to the pearl snap side). That being said, this was my first time attaching snaps to a handknit and I have to say I’m a fan.

3) I cannot get enough of this blue yarn, seriously it’s gorgeous and reminds me of jumping in a cool brook on a hot summer day.

4) Where is this sweater in my size? Do I dare seek out a sweater’s quantity of Mad Hatter in Glow Worm for myself?

When thinking about baby sweaters, blue and yellow are such a classic combination. That being said, I love the depth that Glow Worm adds to the sweater — in fact, it was very difficult to choose which color to make the contrast color and which to make the main color. If one had a really hard time choosing or second-guesses the choice they made, there should be just enough yardage to make two inverse sweaters.

The other thing that I’ve learned to like about any baby top is the ability to create a large opening at the neckline. Pre-baby, this was because babies have large heads. Post-baby, this is because it takes a while for babies to be ok having garments go over their heads and a large head hole makes it quick and easy (and you can take it off by sliding it along their body if you’re not brave enough to go back over their head.

I’m tempted to knit this sweater again using the leftover yarn (this would mean a yellow sweater with blue stripes) for my new nephew, but there’s a crochet baby sweater I’m tempted to try. After all, why not keep working on my crochet skills this summer?

Want to make a Baby Messenger Henley of your own? Use the discount YARNVIP for 15% off your total purchase from Wonderland Yarns (discount not eligible on sale items, with other discounts, or on yarn clubs) :]

Gradients Galore

Yarn gradients are not a new thing, in fact, they’ve been around for years and I used to lovingly stock them when I worked for Webs Yarn Store. So why has it taken me so long to start playing around with them? I have no idea! Ever since working up Euphorbia and Mince Pie Fading Lines for my mom and designing Head in the Clouds, I’ve found myself reaching for the gradual color transitions again and again.

Bloomerang shawl knit up in a blue - fuchsia gradient being modeled by a young woman wearing a black shirt tucked into high waisted jeans.

First, came the Bloomerang Shawl knit up in Muscari, a gentle transition from blue to fuchsia (or fuchsia to blue depending on which direction you decided to work from). In my case, though the blue makes up the largest section of the shawl, it’s actually the purple-fuchsia end that speaks the loudest. I don’t often reach for boomerang-shaped shawls, something about the lack of symmetry makes it feel as if they’re going to fall off my neck during the day (they never actually do), but Bloomerang creates interesting color blocking when worn. It’s easy to enjoy the way the blue pops dramatically against the other colors when wrapped.

Solandis shawl knit in a white to blue gradient being modeled by a young woman wearing a charcoal sweater and black yoga pants.

Next came Solandis worked up in Aquilegia, whether or not you want to call this one a shawl or a cowl depends on your personal preference! I loved the simplicity that Solandis called for, each row dependably predictable and easy to put down and pick up again. My only regret for this one is that I started with the Whitish color instead of the blue, despite knowing that the starting color would take up the bulk of the showl (see what I did there?). In my mind, starting with the white would allow for the greatest contrast when worn, but now that it’s done I find myself thinking that reversing the colors would have provided more of a pop.

Ebb and Flow Arm Warmers knit in a yellow to purple gradient laid on top of each other on a gray table cloth. Each arm warmer begins with each end of the gradient and ends with the middle color.

Then came the Ebb & Flow Arm Warmers knit in Anemone, each arm warmer worked on a different end of the gradient so that the upper ends meet in the middle. Anemone is one of Wonderland Yarns’ more dramatic gradients, so the transition between the arm warmers isn’t as smooth as it could have been if knit up in one of the other colorways I worked with. Thus, the arm warmers are funky and vibrant, coordinated by pattern more than by color. I like the idea of running with them in winter, the bright colors helping cars see me on gray days. Plus, I sense they’d be comfortable on days where layering for runs is critical.

I don’t think this is the end of gradient knitting for me, if anything I’m just getting started. In terms of future projects, I’d love to make my daughter a Plumeria Mini in Jade Mar Flower (I love the way she looks in blues and have to take advantage of her lack of opinion on the matter) and I have a mini-skein set of Coal and Scuttles that’s dying to be turned into Longma’s Cowl. So there’s no “finally” to this post, “finally” would imply that I’m done working with gradient skeins – and I’m not!

Use the discount YARNVIP for 15% off your total purchase from Wonderland Yarns (discount not eligible on sale items, with other discounts or on yarn clubs) :]

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.

Rainforest Mini Gale

A size 2T poncho knit in a heathered dark teal.

Confession time: While I understand that creating a project holding yarn double, triple or quadruple is not economical, I can’t help but love the squishiness of the fabric that is created using the technique. So as I opened my stash hatbox and saw 7 skeins of Knit Picks Stroll, yarn that was originally intended to make myself a sweater, I couldn’t help but wonder at how soft the dense fabric would be if I held enough strands to work the yarn at an Aran weight.

One of the major downsides of holding yarn multiple is that you’re dividing the amount of yardage you have to work with. For example, if I have a skein of yarn with 420 yards and I opt to use it double-stranded in a project, I really only have 210 yards of that yarn to work with. This means that instead of having 1617 yards of Stroll to work with, I would only have about 400 if I were to hold enough ends (4 total) to bump the weight up to Aran. Not a huge problem when you factor in all the little people in my life that I’ve been knitting for lately (although I’ll be honest and say there was a moment where my husband was hoping to get a shawl). After swatching, I decided to make a Mini Gale and got ready to cast on.

Though I admit that many of my projects lately have been larger ones, Mini Gale few off my needles in a matter of days. The pattern was the perfect combination of interestingly mindless and fast, it felt really good to finish it. Other than holding the yarn quadruple, no modifications were made to the pattern (unusual for me I know!).

As I mentioned, holding multiple strands of yarn together is not the most economical way to produce a knit fabric. That being said, it’s a really fun way to use up yarn in your stash because you’re no longer limited to the original weight of the yarn. Holding yarn multiple is also a fun way to create a marled look! If you’ve never held yarn multiple before, I’ve put together a cheat sheet to help you get started (below). Otherwise, hold the yarn together as if it were a single strand and knit as usual.

Starting strandFingeringDK/SportWorstedBulkySuper Bulky
Lace2 strands4 strands8 strands16 strands32 strands
Fingeringx2 strands4 strands8 strands16 strands
DK/Sportxx2 strands4 strands8 strands
Worstedxxx2 strands4 strands
Bulkyxxxx2 strands
Note: These numbers are a rough approximation, make sure to swatch!

You can also combine different weights to achieve a thicker gauge. For example, you may opt to hold 2 strands of fingering weight with 1 strand of DK/Sport in order to achieve a Worsted weight yarn.

Despite having my eye set on specific projects for the skeins in my stash, my eyes are often looking at single skeins and wondering what other color combinations I could create by holding multiple strands together. Some designers even write patterns that encourage you to do this on purpose (ie: Marley, Simplest Baby Blanket)!