I promised to make a mini version of husby's cardi and I always keep my promises (well mostly...). When the opportunity arose to test knit a pattern for Celia which was a pretty close match, I thought well why not! And even better, it is top down and seamless!
Pattern: Alex Jacket by Celia Ng - this is a great kids pattern - not only top down and seamless but has a range of options for you to mix and match - I did the collared version with ribbing at the sides and on the cuffs and bands, but you can do no collar, or a hood, or cables (where the raglan "seams" are), or garter edging or moss stitch edging. And it comes in sizes from 12mo to 8yo. I will be sure to knit this one again, probably every year until it no longer fits Connor!
I really like the raglan increases - the pattern has you do a yo increase and then purl it through the back loop on the way back, to close the hole. I wasn't sure it would work, but it did! I'm really glad I trusted the pattern, because I learnt something! Yay for testing knitting and GAAK!
And, even better, if you buy this pattern before the end of January, Celia is donating half of the price to the Queensland Premier's Flood Appeal - nice! (you can buy the pattern separately or with the companion pattern Lee which is for a jumper with the same sorts of options). A good deal I think!
Yarn: The leftover Cascade220 from husby's cardi - 1.5 skeins of the Olive Heathers (9448) and just under 50g of the Cordovan (brown). I only just scraped it in with the green - I literally ran out of yarn just as I finished the last row of the second sleeve!
Sticks: 4mm KnitPicks Harmony options for the cuffs and bands, 4.5mm KP Harmony options for the body of the cardigan.
Time: 20 December 2010 - 7 January 2011 (my first FO for 2011, weeeeee!). Thanks to a couple of long drives and general sitting around time over Christmas, I managed to finish this quite quickly.
Modifications: I made the collar a bit shorter than the pattern suggests, and I ensured the ribbing down the sides flowed neatly into the ribbing along the bottom edge (which just meant starting my ribbing with a p1 instead of a k1). And I did the buttonbands all the way up along the collar, as I wasn't convinced it would look ok if I stopped at the bottom of the collar - although once I saw the other test knits I realised it would have been fine! But I'm happy with it the way it is (as long as it fits Connor when winter arrives - which I'm sure it will!)
What I learnt: The pattern suggests a stretchy bind off for the bottom band and sleeve cuffs. I decided I'd try Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. Yes, it is very stretchy! I'm not sure I love how it looks though, it's kind of lumpy-ish. I think it'd be fine on a sock, but if I was doing this again, I'd probably do a tubular bind off on this garment - I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me in the first place, since I used a 1x1 rib! Next time!
I also learnt that when changing colours between a ribbed band and the main part of the body, it's a good idea to do the first plain row after (or before, whichever is the case) of the ribbing in the same colour as the ribbing - I did this on the collar but forgot on the bottom band - and it means that the first row of the bottom band ribbing is actually in the green. It's not hugely noticeable, but I think it's much neater - a nice finishing touch.
Now, the big question is - what buttons?? As you will have noticed, there are none. These are the options:
I like the brown patterned ones, but as they are coconut shell, I think I'll go for the green ones - not a perfect match, but more practical and I think a nice pop on the brown button bands - the green has a yellowish undertone, as does the green C220. What do you think?