(Sometimes I could kick myself -- it's not like there isn't plenty of advance notice with these things).
After work I swung by the house to grab a pile of baby pattern books and headed to the yarn store. I needed to choose something that would be quick i.e. simple, with a thicker yarn and larger needles. And something that would work for either a little boy or girl as the parents have decided to wait and see. It was the boat-neck sweater in Debbie Bliss' Baby Knits for Beginners that jumped out at me -- the pattern calls for an aran weight yarn so it is sure to be a quick knit, and suitable for either a boy or a girl.
I circled the store searching for the yarn I'd use and couldn't help being drawn to Kollage yarns' Corntastic. Although it is more of a sport weight, it comes in such lovely colours. And I've used it for a couple of other baby projects that have been well received. I decided to go for it again.
To add a little visual interest I opted to add stripes to the sweater and selected a couple of colours to put out to group vote -- the pearl, amethyst and sunstone combo won out. I think these colours are a little whimsical. And gender-neutral.
A couple of basic calculations later I started the pattern using the sportweight yarn and smaller needles. Even in the skinnier yarn this one is a pretty quick knit. To add a finishing touch I created a duplicate stitch heart in the bottom right hand corner of the front of the sweater. I like small details that set something apart, and this is a super simple technique.
Since I had yarn left, and some time before the weekend was over, I thought it would be nice to add a coordinating hat. This time with polka dots instead of stripes to play up the fun factor. I used the Simple Hat pattern (from the same DB book) as my guide, and adapted as follows:
- Knit 5 rows for the roll brim
- Divide the stitches on the needle into 4 equal sections
- Sketch out a polka dot pattern that can be centered in each of these 4 sections (I decided to create 2 different size of polka dot)
- Work 1 row, adding the large polka dot in sections 1 and 3
- On the 2nd row, start adding the smaller polka dot to sections 2 and 4
- Continue following the polka dot sketches until the 1st round of polka dots is complete
- Knit 7 rows
- Add a second round of polka dots (this time the larger dots go in section 2 and 4, and the smaller in 1 and 3)
- Finish hat per instructions in the pattern
You'd laugh if you saw the inside of this hat -- I use my very own special brand of fair-arsia, or inter-isle, to add them in as I knitted along. (The polka dots are interarsia, but the white carries behind them like fairisle!)
Despite my less than perfect approach to adding the dots, I think the outcome is pretty cute. The recipient was over the moon too!