Friday, July 23, 2010

toddler t-shirt vest

Oh yes, I'm knitting more vests. And yes, Milo will probably own more vests than any other boy out there.  What can I say?  It's an addiction.

I started out wanting to add a toddler size to my baby t-shirt vest pattern, but instead I found myself drawn to 2x2 ribbing, so I made a few design changes while also removing the button closure. Toddlers are too interested in buttons anyway and it makes the pattern quicker as a bonus. Milo can still wear his baby t-shirt vests even at 13 months, so I think this size will fit most toddlers up until their 2nd birthday. Wool is nice and stretchy, and a form fitting vest is over-the-top cute in my opinion.

What you will need:
Aran weight wool (I used Dream in Color Classy, Grey Tabby colourway)
5.5mm needles (16” circ and DPNs)
9 stitch markers (1 marker for beginning of round, 8 markers for raglan increases)
2 lengths of scrap yarn (for holding stitches)

Gauge 18.5 stitches over 26 rows = 4” square
Size is roughly 12-24 months, finished dimensions are: 10″ wide, 12.5” long (or longer – the body is up to you!) Luckily toddlers don’t grow as fast as babies, so this vest should fit for a whole season.

CO 64, join in the round (if you place a marker to mark the beginning of the row, use a different colour than your next markers).
R1-6: [K2, P2] ribbing.
R7: K6, pm, K1, pm, K18, pm, K1, pm, K12, pm, K1, pm, K18, pm, K1, pm, K6
R8: (increase row) *K to 1 stitch before marker, KFB into this stitch, slip marker, K1, slip marker, KFB into next stitch* repeat until last raglan marker, slip marker, KFB into next stitch, K to end.
R9: K all stitches.
Repeat R8 and R9 until you have 112 stitches on your needle.

K43 then turn work and P30. Turn again and continue in st st for 5 more rows (ending on the right side). Break yarn. Place the next 26 stitches on scrap yarn. Start with vest yarn again and K30, turn work and continue in st st for 6 more rows. DO NOT break yarn, but place the remaining 26 stitches on scrap yarn. With your vest yarn (that you have not broken!) CO16 stitches and continue knitting across the next 30, CO 16, and knit across the next 30. You have now joined the body with a total of 92 stitches. I would suggest removing all your stitch markers except for the one that marks the beginning of the round. Now simply keep knitting in the round until you have the length of the body you want. For Milo, I knit about 6.5” of st st before I started the bottom band.

[K2, P2] ribbing for 1.5-2” and bind off loosely. I really like the look of a deep band on this vest – it gives the garment a nice balance.

LEFT AND RIGHT ARMHOLE (both are the same, and knit in the round)
Place all 26 stitches from scrap yarn onto 2 DPNs. Determine the bottom center of the armhole and start picking up 13 stitches from this point until you reach the first DPN. Knit across all 26 stitches and then pick up another 13 until you meet up with where you started. PM. [K2, P2] ribbing for 6 rows and bind off loosely.

Weave in your loose ends and place on the nearest toddler you can find!

(Pattern is for personal use only. Please do not use for commercial purposes.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

tasty and blue

Thank goodness for the therapeutic nature of baking. Over the past week we have been a house of poor health: Milo got measles and an ear infection while also getting an allergy test (he is allergic to avocados and bananas), Jay has strep throat and I started the week with two gallstone attacks. Sadie has been spared any sickness - knock on wood - but that is thanks to her grandfather, who whisked her away for a weekend of swimming. Luckily, yesterday was the start of a new week, which we celebrated with a fresh, delicious, heaping mound of Ontario blueberries. Food of the good health gods.

I have been avoiding baking lately for two reasons: it's way too hot and because most baking is loaded with fat. Not that I'm usually concerned, but until I figure out what to do with my gallbladder I am sticking to a pretty low-fat diet. Thankfully my Joy of Cooking has a Reduced Fat Muffin recipe and boy, is it yummy. I added 1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries and not only did they smell fantastic in the oven but even Jay devoured them (generally he believes in the rule of all-baking-must-have-chocolate). I even channeled my inner 50's housewife by freezing 6 unbaked muffins for later enjoyment. And by later, I probably mean tomorrow.

Thank you blueberries. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

knit bits

Honestly, I would be happy making a baby gift every week. Quick, small, adorable - and the perfect sense of accomplishment when nothing else is getting done. This little hat is for the expected baby girl of my cousin, and should fit her in time for the colder weather. I used Sublime Organic Merino Wool so it is very soft and squeezable, but as much as I love plain ivory, the hat really called out for a bit of embellishment. I couldn't decide between buttons or applique, so in the end I did both.

In other knitting news, I have finished a toddler version of my Baby T-shirt Vest, but with the steamy weather we're having I am hesitant to force Milo into a photo shoot (or maybe I'm just procrastinating since my quick moving toddler seems like a photography challenge). But I'm really happy with this version - it has a few design tweaks and I loved the wool choice - so I'll have to figure out the photo thing soon. Sweaty, energetic toddler and all.

Monday, July 12, 2010

favourite things part 1

As my making pace slows down, I'm spending a bit more time noticing the things in my home that inspire me. And so begins a tiny little series where I write about these things. It's like Show and Tell for adults, with a heavy focus on handmade goodness.

So for Part 1, two handmade vases by Heydey Design. My inner country self loves old mason jars (I mean, what can't you store in a mason jar?  Could buttons look any better than inside vintage glass?) These vases were cast from old Canadian mason jars in the most perfect, most ivory porcelain. Most of the finish is matte, but the inside and the outer threading has been glazed, giving a wonderful change in surface. I would have fallen in love with these vases at first sight, but what makes them even more special is that they were handcrafted by a childhood friend. Oh, and I don't even consider them vases - they really are sculpture, and they sit proudly on our shelf, not a flower stem in sight. Claire Madill, the artist behind Heydey Design, studied ceramics at Emily Carr in Vancouver and now creates sculpture and jewelry inspired by vintage housewares. It's an ingenious pairing, and I'm still trying to figure out the perfect knit garment to showcase one of her buttons.

The fact that Claire and I share a bunch of embarrassing highschool stories together is simply a bonus. Her work is awesome, and for anyone in Toronto, Heydey is part of Bent Out of Shape: Canadian Design from 1945 to Present at the Design Exchange right now.

Friday, July 02, 2010

secret knitting

When your Mom is the most regular reader of your blog, you really can't post about what you are making her until the gift giving is completely over. Finally the day has come for this shawl.

I loved knitting my own Mara shawl and my Mom liked the pattern so much she tried her hand at knitting it too. But I think I sabotaged her project telepathically so I could have the chance to knit her one. On a cold day in January I took my trusty yarn assistant (Sadie) to Romni and she picked a shimmery silver Debbie Bliss Cathay for Gramma's shawl. It was an excellent pick - easy to knit and the silk content makes the shawl drape just so. Again I loved knitting the shawl and the only modification was knitting stockinette in the main body instead of garter stitch. I used every single inch of the 5 balls I had, making a size that seems suited to summer nights. 

Happy birthday Mom!