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new cardigans

The weather is getting cooler, just a little bit each day.  The light is this beautiful diffused brightness that turns everything golden, and the trees whisper the husky song of drying leaves. It was time for new cardigans for the boys!

I have been waiting for the chance to make the kimono-style cardigans with long sleeves, especially as it seems to be quite difficult to find long sleeved sweaters for babies. I used a shirt that fits well for sizing, and two sweaters from my robust stash of sweaters for repurposing. I used one of daddy’s old grey ones (he has many), and a purple one that used to be my aunt’s. I made the sleeves extra long, to ensure they last this winter, and I am very pleased with how they fit the boys. I still have to add bias tape to prevent fraying, so although I let them wear their new cardigans on Saturday, I don’t consider them done. I make my own bias tape, which I find quite time consuming, perhaps because I haven’t done it enough to find all the shortcuts.

If you want to make your own (the pattern is actually so basic and simple, it could work for any size, up to an adult cardigan – think of those nice ballerina wrap around tops!) there are lots of tutorials out there, like this one, this one, or this one. I actually winged it, after having made the pattern a couple of times before. For closure, I am planning to sew snaps in strategic places, instead of trying to fumble with strings on wriggly babies.

More pictures when they are all done. Stay tuned!

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baby kimono green

It is cold out there! So I dug into my stash of sweaters for recycling, and picked a nice green one, perfect for some baby cardigans. I used this tutorial  and included pattern for the kimono, and a version of this for the bias tape. Cutting the pieces and putting together the wool part was quick and easy, but I am not very good at bias tape making, and it took 3 times as long. It was fun, though, and I enjoyed making things that should fit but without the need for them to fit perfectly. I learned a couple of new techniques in this project, which is always a plus. Now I need to make another one! I have the wool part already cut, so all I need is another color for the trim and, hopefully, an improved performance in making and attaching it.

Some details about the bias tape: I used a fat quarter and cut strips of about 2″ wide, and that made almost 6 yards of bias tape (a great deal!) The tool I had bought to fold the tape, however, did not work well at all for me, so I did the whole thing by hand (hence the time-consuming element). Perhaps I should design a bias tape making tool first!

My summer cardigan is complete! It took a bit over a month to make, and most of it was done in motion: in buses, trains, during lunch breaks. Only the really messy parts, like the top two fronts down to armhole, were done at home. The patterns I follow ask you to do them both at the same time, and there are just too many yarn ends floating around to make it comfortable for knitting in motion.

This pattern is inspired by Augusta  from Dolce Handknits (it is the third thumbnail), but from what I saw about the pattern, it is bottom-up. I didn’t want to pay for a pattern I won’t end up following, as I prefer to make things top-down. So I just looked at it, and did what I could to emulate this beautiful cardigan. Naturally, the end result is reminiscent but not the same, but I am still very happy with it.

The color of the yarn (Cactus, of Jo Sharp Soho Summer DK Cotton) reminds me of the fresh, baby leaves of spring. It is splitting a bit too much, and was rather slippery for metal needles, so I had to use bamboo circulars to save my hands from hurting too much. But it creates a soft and pleasant yarn to wear, which is perfect for the chilly summer days we are having lately.

I had to re-do the sleeve edges a couple of times before I ended up with the no-ruffle version. This yarn doesn’t really make good ruffles – it goes straight to wide drapes instead. Which is not a bad thing, if that’s what you want. In any case, I enjoyed making the pattern up as I went. I won’t bore you with them, but if you want more details you can find them in my Ravelry page. I know I will be wearing this a lot, and am itching to start my next summer cardigan project. There is even more travelling ahead of me for the summer, and I ‘ll need something to keep me centered.

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