Can I just say what a moron I am? Babies grow at an alarming rate. What if the sweater no longer fit the wee kidlet?? Well, I lucked out and the sweater fits her now and she looks so absolutely adorable in it! Sadly, I forgot that I even owned a camera and didn't take any photos of her in it, but little Penny will be able to wear her new sweater for at least a week before she's too big for it. Lesson learned. Don't wait to gift a baby item!!!
This project will count towards my 12 in 2011. Yay, happy dance! The pattern, which was designed by Canadian yarn dyer, Tanis Lavalée (of Tanis Fiber Arts fame!!) is Sunnyside Baby Sweater and is a free pattern that you can download from Ravelry. The yarn is a yummy MCN blend (merino, cashmere, nylon) from Sunshine Yarns. I had received it from a grab bag sale that I had purchased last year. It's an absolutely gorgeous skein of yarn but I had no idea what I was going to make with it. Sometimes yarn screams at you, begging to be knit with. This skein called to me for months. When I heard the happy news that Erin was expecting, I knew immediately what that skein was destined to become.
I had such sweet and quick success with the Maile pattern that I thought this pattern would be the same. While both patterns are easy, I found that the Sunnyside took me way too long to knit up. Yes, I did do a larger size for the Sunnyside (6-12 months) but I didn't think the knitting time would be that different. In hindsight I think it's because Maile is knit bottom up and Sunnyside is top down, and to me bottom up feels so much faster. That, and the picot hems are a little on the time-consuming side.
I had only run into 3 problems whilst knitting this sweet sweater up. My problems had absolutely nothing to do with the pattern, which I thought was well written, but had to do with knitter errror. I had cast on for the project at one of the knit nights and was knitting extremely tight. By the time I got home that night I decided that I didn't like the fabric I was getting so I ripped and re-started. Luckily I was only on the neckband, so no major time was lost. My second error was my knitting over enthusiasm. I had knit at least an inch past the stitch count needed to start separating the sleeves from the body and had to tink back. My third problem was a weird one. I don't know if I was really tired or what but my stitch count wasn't the same as stated in the pattern, and it drove me crazy trying to figure out where I went wrong. But then after knitting for a bit my count matched up again. So weird. I didn't see anyone else mention a typo or anything in their notes, so maybe it was just me not being able to count? Probably. I wouldn't be surprised.
My row gauge was quite off too. I didn't do a gauge swatch for this project...or for any of the baby projects, since I figured that all babies are different and the sweater will fit at least one of them. Right? And when I do actually knit a swatch I don't really pay attention to row gauge, unless it's absolutely vital. I guess this pattern is one of them. I had knit the first sleeve and had 2 more decreases to do when I realized that I was already way past the five inch mark. I had to rip back, do the math, and sort out my decreases.
This was my first time doing a picot hem. I think it's absolutely beautiful and really makes the sweater look a touch more girly. When I first started the picot hem I was pretty nervous about the sewing part. If you don't know me by now, you should know that I avoid hand sewing in my hand knits as much as possible. This type of hand sewing is no exception. I freaked out when I was finished too because I thought I had stretched out all the hems too much while sewing cause they all had this weird flippy action happening and in some parts started to ruffle (and it shouldn't ruffle). After a good block and some time to sit, the hems all relaxed a bit and now they look "normal". I think in the end I did a good job and I'm pretty pleased overall with the hems. And would you just look at those buttons?? They make me squee with glee! Too cute to boot!!
I definitely recommend this pattern and love the fact that Tanis has given two options to make the sweater look either more girly or more masculine (garter stitch hems and beautiful cables rather than lace). I totally want to make the boy-ish version and suspect that the knitting would go by much faster than its feminine counterpart due to the simple (and no sew!) garter stitch hems. I just have to wait for someone to announce that they're having a baby!