Saturday, December 10, 2011

Welcome to the Wallaby Diary

Knitting has begun on the replacement Wonderful Wallaby.

First of all, a yarn picture:


The yarn—Plymouth Encore in its Colorspun version—in the Hot Pink Specs colorway.  Encore is my go to yarn for Wallabies.  I think the acrylic content offers the parents the benefit of easy sweater care which is so important for young children.  The 25% wool content makes a lighter weight sweater than pure acrylic and makes it easier to weave in ends more invisibly and make more invisibe joins. Encore is also a “feel good” yarn to knit with.  I am not sure exactly why this yarn feels better going through my fingers than other yarns with the 75/25% fiber content mix, but it does.  I find the difference worth having to buy online and wait for an order and also having to spend a little more money per skein than from the other “identical” yarns.  FYI, this yarn was purchased online from WEBS. 

Some knitters suffer from second sock syndrome—for me, the disease is sleeve syndrome, first and second.  For some reason I hate knitting sleeves.  No matter how much I try to convince myself that a sleeve is just a sock without a heel and no matter that I know that actual clock time says sleeves go very fast, I just hate having a sweater almost done except for the sleeves.  (Remember that blue sweater I’ve been knitting for myself?  It’s just sitting right there by my chair waiting for sleeve completion!)  This time, I’m knitting sleeves first.  They will be all ready to attach when I reach that part of the body, and then I can just pop right on to the yoke and hood.  The first sleeve is just about 1/2 done:


Looks like a hat, doesn’t it?  Two notes:

  • The hat shape is due to the fact that I am using the recommended increase method for small children and putting all the increases at the beginning of the sleeve.  As the pattern writer points out, very young children tend to have arms that are fairly uniform in size all the way up, so this gives a more comfortable fit.  I think it also fits better over long-sleeved garments if this particular sweater is being worn as a jacket.  A fussy child does not enjoy trying to get arms into tightly fitting sleeves, particularly with two fabrics exhibiting the “velcro effect.”  The pattern also gives directions for tapered sleeves.
  • It’s rather hard to see in the photograph, but I think this is some of the prettiest ribbing that I’ve ever knitted.  I almost always prefer 1 x 1 ribbing, and this is knitted using the combination knitting method that I learned in an online class from Annie Modesitt.  I hope the other sleeve and the bottom of the body turn out equally well.

If you are not familiar with this pattern, you should check it out on Ravelry.  It makes a very comfortable, easily-sized play sweater.  It can be very attractive, but it is also extremely practical and cozy.  The kangaroo pocket is a favorite with children and the technique is interesting.

Entertainment while knitting:  On Netflix, The McLeods; on MP3, The Serpent in the Crown, by Elizabeth Peters. 


Suzanne said...

I found your blog through Ravelry and am hoping you have a couple of minutes to answer a quick question about starting the pouch. When I’m picking up the stitches with the crochet needle, am I picking them up off the length of yarn that’s running behind the sweater (between the two stitches I’ve drawn the yarn through) or from the tail that’s running out of the right marked stitch? Does that question make sense? Thank you --this is just my third project, and I’m eternally grateful for the advice.

Panhandle Jane said...

You pick them up from the yarn behind. Go in through the front of the sweater stitch and hook that yarn running across and pull it through to the front. Be careful that you get any "extra" yarn you need from the ball end rather than accidentally pulling your tail through. I don't personally use the crochet hook because I use a circular needle for this as well as for the rest of the sweater. I have one of those Knit Picks sets. I start on the end nearest the tail and go across that way so that any extra yarn is available to me as I need it. I just stick the needle in the hole and pull it through. Then, if necessary, I can slide the stitches to the other end of the circular to knit across when I start the pocket itself. If this doesn't make sense, e-mail me back and we'll try again.

Suzanne said...

It makes perfect sense. The pouch came together beautifully. Thank you so much for helping out a beginner. I've loved reading your blog and seeing how the whole thing comes together.

Anonymous said...

I have a problem with the pouch as well. But at the left side after pulling the stitches through. It says to pull the last stitch through the same stitch that you initially put the yarn through but that is just making the yarn come out of that stitch.