Saturday, July 21, 2007

Answers from the email and comments....

Just checking in while I'm madly trying to get these blankets finished...which might be easier if I could get Caron to ship their new White to the stores NOW! GRRRRRRRR...I did email the company, and they sent back a response stating that the new yarn would be in the stores come August...hmmmm.....remember being a kid and sitting at the table thinking you were really cute pounding your silverware on the table shouting...FOOD! FOOD! FOOD! you think that would work if we all started yelling ...YARN YARN YARN?

Probably not...

Either way. I've been asked by several people which sweater I prefer for little boys. Now, I have done many of the Baby Jiffy Knit Baby Sweaters for boys, too in the past. However, at the moment, it's been the Baby Surprise Jackets with striping to match sports teams. The first one I did, you can see the progress from the March postings. The final outcome was so cute (at least to me) that I had a hard time letting go.

I'm finding myself snapping pictures of college and professional hockey teams' jerseys with my cell phone as I shop to have on hand. They make it soooooooooooo easy to use this little pattern for both boys and girls..and to really personalize it as you pick..just by adding or changing around the stripes . Oh, and don't forget to add a collar or not...or cuffs (I've not done that yet), or, or, Yvette says..they're addicting! And just like potato chips, you can't eat just one! ERRRRRR..knit just one!

See the changes, use a print yarn, use stripes....change the stripes. If you google BSJ or Baby Surprise Jacket, you'll see sooooooooo many different ways to make this sweater! I dare you to keep your fingers off the needles..rather than running FAST to cast one on and while you're making that first one...see how many ideas you come up with for making your next..ohhhhhh 2039483409586098 sweaters with this pattern. Elizabeth Zimmermann...I bow.

Another question was asked about which size of the Baby Jiffy Knit pattern to make for a newborn. That's a really good question Rae! And it's also the reason I didn't put 'age sizes' on them. I just listed the finished sizes that I got using particular sizes of needles.

I went hunting through my books to see which sizes were recommended for baby sweaters. Mostly I found the smallest sizes in books to be a finished size of 17-18" size across the chest, and are then labeled for 6-12 month sized babies. Keep in mind, just like sweaters that you and I wear...we're not wearing sizes that are the same chest size we have. In an adult sweater you want a minimum of 4" of ease. Try it. Measure your own chest size, then go grab a sweater you really like to wear. See the difference in the chest measurement? That's the ease. And the baggier the sweater, the greater the ease.

Now, back to the issue at hand. With this baby sweater, I wouldn't go smaller than the sweater I made with the (US) 5 (3.75mm) or actually (US) 6(4.0mm) needles. That gives you finished chest measurements of 15.5" (39.3 cm)and 16.5"(41.8 cm) if you get the same gauge as I did. Remember your knitting might be tighter, or looser than mine, and your yarn might be different than mine way. However, if most of the books list an 18" chest size as a 6 month size, I'd shoot from there.

Another suggestion, which I've not gotten around to doing yet, would be to visit a store that has baby sweaters for sale. Find one that is marked (really you should shoot for 3 or more to compare) newborn size, and measure what they say. Patterns over the past 30+ years have changed to a degree as the industry differs in how clothes are now worn. If you look at older patterns from the 50's and 60's, baby sweaters, and adults as well, were worn tighter to the body than we do today, but not as loose as the over sized sweaters from the 80's and 90's.

Basically, it's up to you to pick which size you want. The last question to ask yourself, is how big do you think that little one is going to be? My babies were 7# 13.5 oz, 7# 15oz, 8# 10oz, and 7# 15oz. When my middle daughter was born at 8# 10 oz, a friend of mine had a full term baby at 5#! Let me tell you how different those babies were to hold at the same age!

So, I guess I'd have to say that the smallest size sweater that I made with a finished chest of 13.5" (34.2 cm) I would consider to be a preemie size. Not a small preemie, but smaller than what the clothing manufacturers would consider to be newborn.

Clear as mud? Sorry, you're on your own here to pick sizes. I know, I know. You wanted an easy answer. I had big babies. And I know they're not the biggest around. And some are much smaller. Good luck with your sizes! Now you understand why I picked so many different sizes to make. I wanted to have a good selection all the way across the board. Oh, and keep in mind something else, too. Those little bitty sizes? They'll only last a few weeks. Think potato chips...have a few...

Lastly, I was asked about the Hearts Blanket that I'm working on. Now, going back to when I first started knitting for NMCRS, they wanted the blankets all square sizes. If you read patterns in the books, they're generally rectangular. And on tiny needles. Well, since I have a thing about cranking out baby blankets without spending a lifetime on them. I started playing with the worsted weight yarn I was given and larger needles.


This is a picture of the one I did in 2006. The one I did previously in a different yarn, only had 6 pattern repeats while this one has 7. I'm not sure how many I'll do this time. I'll figure that out as I get towards the end.

It's the Hearts Blanket from Leisure Arts book #3208, Knit Layettes for Little Darlings, page 18 and 19. You can find it in most 'box craft' stores. Today, I'm using Hobby Lobby Sweet Delight Baby yarn in pink-a-boo, double stranded. Contrary to it's label gauge listed, I consider it to be more like a DK/Sport weight yarn. Boy oh Boy is it SOFT! (love me a good soft yarn for baby stuff!)

The changes I've made to this original pattern, I'm double stranding the yarn (two strands at once), using a (US) 10 (6.oomm) needles and a cast on amount of 137 stitches. In the past I've also slipped the first stitch of each row as if to knit, but this time I'm doing a straight seed stitch and knitting the first stitch. Just to keep it interesting. I'm getting a gauge of 13.5 sts/22 rows in seed stitch on this one.

How many ways can YOU find to change around a pattern to make it unique to you? I'm heading back to the blankets.