Monday, February 23, 2009

Baby boat-neck and matching hat

A colleague is due to have a baby and I wanted to make a little something for her soon-to-arrive bundle of joy. Imagine my surprise last Friday when I learned that her last day in the office was today, Monday. That I only had the weekend to whip something together.
(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!


Judy said...

An absolutley adorable set.

tiennie said...

These are so cute! And you whipped it out in a weekend? Yowzers!

Anonymous said...

I love adorable! What a wonderful gift! You are amazing at whipping out gifts! :)

Stacey said...

Wow Sam! I was sitting next to you when you picked out the yarn...and now it is done! Speedy knitter are totally my knitting hero. Some day I hope to have the same kind of focus that you do. :)

btw: that hanger is adorable!

hyeknitter said...

That sweater is adorable - love those stripes.

Bea said...

This is adorable. One of my favorite color combinations too.

sue said...

I love the set. Beautiful, and the colors are great together too.

moo said...

Mondo cute! Stacey said to stop on was worth the trip!

WandaWoman said...

Wow, Sam, you whipped that little set out in no time. The striped sweater is just deliciously cute and the hat is so adorable! I love the polka dots with stripes combo. Too sweet!

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! You have done a very fast and gorgeous baby set!! I LOVE IT!!! And I love the hanger too!!!

I think the green heart is a very special detail that makes the difference. It is a great idea!
BRAVA!! (clap clap)

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! You have done a very fast and gorgeous baby set!! I LOVE IT!!! And I love the hanger too!!!

I think the green heart is a very special detail that makes the difference. It is a great idea!
BRAVA!! (clap clap)

StarSpry said...

I knew you could do it, Sam! What a cute set; I love the heart detail on the sweater :)

Terri Lynn said...

Cute, cute, so very cute! Nice the way you assemble your gifts!

Oiyi said...

That set is amazing! Great job.

Anonymous said...

This is just an adorable gift! I love the gender-neutral colours, and the hear is too cute!

amanda said...

This is so cute! I love the green heart and I bet the mummy will love it too!

Crying laughing at Fair-arsia though! :D