Friday, August 24, 2012

The Zippy Sweater

This is Zippy.

She is the University of Akron's mascot.

She likes to have a good time.

My husband works at the university, so what sweater could possibly be more appropriate to make for our son than this?

Kangaroo Vest, by Hannah Fettig, is an obviously adorable children's sweater featuring a kangaroo image in intarsia. The pattern calls for dk weight yarn, but knit at a sport weight gauge.

Initially, I cast on (the 12 month size) using some stash Knit One Crochet Two Creme Brulee in a taupe brown (more like milk chocolate) and had intended to use some stash Knit Picks Swish DK in Sky (a bright light blue). However, after knitting a couple of inches, I decided that the yarn was too wooly for a baby. Rip-it....

A baby has very sensitive skin (especially my sweet baby), so I chose to go with Debbie Bliss' Baby Cashmerino and Sublime's Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK (both stash yarns). Overall, I'm pleased with my choices. However, if I were to knit this or any item with intarsia again, I'd recommend using a primarily wool-based yarn. Baby Cashmerino is 55% wool, so that fits the bill. Suggly Baby Bamboo is only 20% wool, and therein lies the problem. Snuggly Baby Bamboo is a lovely yarn that has a beautiful sheen and stunning drape, but it is not ideal for intarsia. Intarsia (and fair isle alike) really look best with a woolier yarn because the stickiness, fuzziness and/or loft of the yarn help blend the images together and also hide any small flaws made along the way.

Speaking of flaws...

After completing the back and knitting up to the kangaroo's tail on the front, I realized my intarsia looked a little sloppy. I had knit the roo's legs in a fair isle method, which was the wrong thing to do. Quite sloppy. Rip-it, rip-it...

The pattern is written clearly until the last step. Now I am definitely a fan of Hannah Fettig's patterns (looking through my Ravelry projects page I can count 6 of her patterns), so I won't hold what I am about to write against her because no doubt I will knit more of her patterns in the future. That being said, it seemed like she gave up at the end of this pattern. Her instructions on picking of the collar and armhole stitches were to "pick up an even number of stitches". Sorry. That is not specific enough for me. I don't mind when a designer recommends picking up x# of stitches out y# of rows, but to give minimal direction is quite disappointing.

So, foolishly,  I picked up 2 stitches out of every 3, which came to approximately 60ish stitches around the armholes and 80ish around the collar. There. Done. Or so I thought.

Finally, after knitting, ripping, re-knitting, ripping and re-knitting some more, I finished the sweater. Blocked it and took pictures like these.


Then I tried it on Tommy... and it didn't fit. How could a 12 month sweater not fit a 5 1/2 month old baby? The collar was too small. I could not for the life of me get it over his head. Does this sound familiar? It should. I made the same mistake with Emma's pullover in the fall. Rip-it, rip-it, rip-it...

So, off went the collar. this time I picked up every stitch, which I think was 98. And now?

It fits.

Well, it is a little big (as it should be! I don't breed giants, ya know).

And yes, that is the tail of yarn flopping around in the pictures. I was not about to weave in ends and then find out it still didn't fit over his head.

Can you tell we are working on sitting up... and falling over? He's got the falling over part done packed.

Sweater # 7 of 12, done.

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