Fall Forecast

Like everyone else in the Midwest, I am sick and tired of our oppressive ‘heat bubble’.  Last month was the hottest ever on record.  I’m longing for cowl weather and hot tea, so to cheer myself up – I’m scouting fall knitting trends to start working on when the weather cools off.   One of the best things about being a knitter is getting to drool over spendy sweaters then scheme how to knit them up for yourself. Here’s are some of my inspirations for fall and how I plan to make them.

I’ve been eying mohair pullovers for a few seasons now and I think I may just be crazy enough to knit one myself.  I’m certainly not crazy enough to pay $168 for this one from Anthropologie.  I know – an oversized sweater in mohair would take forever to knit, but I really do think it could be a wardrobe staple that could be worn a variety of ways. Now the hard part, finding the right pattern.  You’d think there would be a million mohair crewneck sweater patterns out there – but you’d be wrong.  There are plenty of lacy or complicated versions out there, but what I like about this one is the simple silhouette. After much searching I found this pattern by Drops Design. This Drops Pullover is designed for a mohair/wool blend but I’d opt for a kidsilk mohair because I think it looks a little more polished.  I’d also go for a lighter color to show off the sheer quality of the yarn.  It looks like this is a pretty slim fitting pattern so I’d knit the next size up and lengthen it a few inches and add some width at the bottom to achieve the tunic look of the Anthropologie version.

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As the proud owner and operator of an italian style scooter, I can truly appreciate the irony of a sweater with all the edge of a leather biker jacket and the softness of a favorite afghan.  I’m crazy about the asymmetrical silhouette and the buttoned cowl neckline.  This sweater makes me want to hop on my ride and feel the wind, or at least the breeze, in my hair.

This pattern’s a bit of a splurge at $7, but hey – it’s better than paying $168 for it at Garnet Hill. For this copy-cat I think the Twenty Ten Cardigan by Rain Knitwear Designs on Ravelry is just perfect.  I like the texture even better that the original. Get on Ravelry and check her out – I love so many of her designs it’s almost hard to choose.  I’d knit this one in gray and simply make the sleeves full length and add a longer rib at the bottom of the body and sleeves. I like the look of the big full cowl neck folded over so I’d probably double the length of the collar while I was at it.

 

 

There’s something very flattering about the shape of this cardigan.  It’s basically a structured shrug with full length sleeves but with a very clever twist.  If you look closely you’ll see that each side of the sweater is knit with a different pattern.  A pretty lace pattern on the left (her right) and a basic  moss stitch on the right.  I’m kind of intrigued by the design and I’m already thinking of other ways to use it.

 

 

In trying to mimic this look,  I had to find a pattern that’s knit with two separate pieces for the front and back to incorporate the different stitch patterns.  Luckily, I found yet another great free pattern from Drops. This Drops Bolero is a perfect fit for this split personality sweater.  I’d knit the moss stitch side first to get the hang of the gauge and the decreases then calculate how to incorporate a diamond lace pattern into the other side.  That may be easier said than done, but I’m always up for a challenge.  Now all I’ve got to do is track down one of those awesome wood buttons!

So here’s hoping that Fall and inspiration find you soon.  Stay cool everyone.

Pom Pom Phenom Nursery

What do you get when you arm two crafty sisters with a pom pom maker and some felt?  The happiest nursery on the block.  There’s nothing more playful than a hand made pom pom, so what better way to welcome a future knitter into the world?  Here are a few of my favorite touches from my new niece’s nursery.

I don’t think anything but sweet dreams are possible sleeping under this mobile. The pink elephants were cut from craft store felt and assembled with a blanket stitch of embroidery thread.  Next, I threaded the elephants along with a combination of hand felted balls and mini pom poms onto a mobile frame and Voila!  A fiber lover’s dream.

Sure, fabric pennants are all over Etsy and in every baby photographer’s prop closet; but I think pom poms are the new pennant.  We strung pom poms garlands on the crib for color and in the windows.  The window poms are already a big hit with baby Allison.

We even made some giant pom poms to use as toys/decoration.  (Keep your eyes peeled for some really cute newborn photos featuring them!) These will be great for playing catch if Allison inherits her hand/eye coordination skills from her aunt.

You’ll see this baby has some talented crocheters in her life as well. I really love the little pink elephants, almost enough to learn to crochet.

 

 

This baby comes from a long line of crafty ladies. Everything else in this nursery was made especially for her too.  Her grandma sewed the curtains and bed linens, her auntie made the footstool and the paintings and her mama hand cut the paper garland around the top of the room. Even her daddy helped hang the custom wood trim around the room to match her furniture.  This nursery was a family affair for a much loved addition to the nest.

A very lucky girl indeed.

 

Coming Home

There.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  To say I’ve been doing some baby knitting lately would be an understatement.  When my beloved sister who taught me how to knit told me she was expecting a baby girl – we set into motion a plan to outfit this baby in all things adorable and knitted.  She’s been collecting baby pattern books for years, but when she decided to bring a rambunctious yarn-eating puppy into her life, I was appointed Head Baby Knitter.  I’ve been stockpiling said baby knits in order to showcase them in the best possible way – on an adorable baby.  Thus begins the first of many blog posts centered on my beautiful niece,  Allison May.  She was all of 48 hours old for her first photo shoot.

Coming home from the hospital is like starting your first day of Junior High, it is ALL about the outfit.

The coming home dress should of course be precious, but let’s face it: she’s going to wear it once.  There’s always the possibility it will be handed down to future relatives, but it seems silly to spend a fortune on fancy yarns and overly delicate patterns.  And because Allison was due to be born during one of the worst heat waves the Midwest has ever seen, cotton seemed the most reasonable yarn choice. This whole ensemble was made with just one skein of Lion Brand Cotton Ease.

Here are the patterns:

Hat: the aptly named Quick and Easy Baby Hat by Emma Walker.  I cheated and knit it on straight needles because I so dislike double points.  It’s designed with eyelet holes for a ribbon to be threaded around the brim, but the ribbon kept the brim from stretching so it was promptly discarded. Also, I added one extra row of garter stitch ribbing.  Not on purpose, just because my brain stopped working and I forgot how to translate a knit-in-the round pattern to straight needles.

The dress: a custom variation of the Baby Ribbon Dress by Tami Olsen made to match the Quick and Easy hat. I made it quite a bit shorter due to the heat wave, and used the border from the hat as the detail for the bottom hem and bodice of the dress.  This was a nice easy pattern to adapt and it happened to fit perfectly.

The booties: Quite possibly the most brilliant bootie pattern ever written.  The Chaussons Mignons, which translates “cute slippers”.  These are absurdly easy to make and quick enough that you won’t even care if they don’t fit (which these didn’t).  My sister and I are both petite but apparently this little lady inherited her feet from her 6’2″ father.  Thankfully she was kind enough to let us snap a few pictures of them before she kicked them off.  Garter stitch, simple shape and clever construction, what’s not to love?  I’m planning to make a big stockpile of these slippers using all my leftover yarn scraps to have for last minute baby gifts.

The nurse who escorted her out of the hospital was overheard commenting “That is the cutest going home outfit we’ve ever seen here“.

Mission accomplished.