In the Running

My brother has a wife, and they have a daughter.

My brother and I don’t really like each other much, but we get along these days. We’re just very different people. I like his wife a lot. They have done something very nice in having a daughter, because I adore her. Her name is Amelia, and she doesn’t know it yet, but I’m in the running for Favorite Auntie, and people, I play to win.

However, I probably won’t. I don’t buy stuff when I can make something. So her whole life Amelia will want me to buy her things like dolls and clothes and iPods, and I will make her things like dolls and clothes and iPod covers. She will learn that I am the odd one (the black sheep, my brother calls me, with no irony as he has no sense of fiber). She will either grow into an interesting girl with opinions and an open mind, in which case my handmade Waldorf-style dolls and handknit sweaters will be (eventually) welcomed, or she will grow into the Other Kind of child, in which case I will wash my hands of her and save the yarn for my own children.

I have great hopes, however.

She turns one year old tomorrow, so I feel that there is time to read to her and teach her to knit and make acorn people and have reverence and generally to mold her into a member of the rebellion. She has red hair. I think my hope is justified.

This is her birthday present:

Camila

I did not end up crocheting the sleeves–I just could not come up with anything that made me happy. So the crochet ended up being just the trim. The pattern was designed by me, and I’ll share it at the bottom of this post. You can’t tell, of course, but it is amazingly soft.

In other knitting news, TMoTH and I celebrated our Ninth Wedding Anniversary last week (there is a reason I don’t post every day. Every day has a new reason). Remember my secret project? For my darling, wonderful boy I knit this:

Happy Anniversary!  Exterminate!

Not your traditional year-9 anniversary gift (traditional being pottery or china), but it’s pretty difficult to buy a pottery Dalek. It turned out much taller than I had expected, about a foot tall, and it has a tendency to wasp-waistedness if I don’t scold it regularly (due to pull-in caused by rookie colorwork) but it has received a pleasantly positive response, so I’m happy. Our Dalek now lives on Chris’s desk at work, where it glares menacingly despite its warm wooliness. Really it does.

Oh, and I knit a hat. Another hat.

Another hat?

Come on! You’re invited to a baby naming for the baby of a Rabbi you do not know. In this case, “baby naming” does not indicate gender. Said baby lives in Seattle. What better gift than a warm, wool-and-alpaca beanie hat with bobbles? Seriously?

I must go wake the Geeklet. He insists that despite having a pretty sweater sitting ready for wrapping, he must choose a gift for “his” Baby Amelia (the child will be called Baby Amelia until she is 20 if our boy has any say). He insists that we walk over to The Lily Pad to choose a gift for her. And to play with their toys. They have a very nice selection of books and wooden toys and games and replica antique tin vehicles. Oh, yes, the present for Amelia?

It’s going to be a train. But a BIG train, because babies put little toys in their mouths. We can’t have that.

Still interested in the wee sweater? Take a look.So, the Camila sweater is designed for a 12-18 month old, and is hopefully generous enough to take her to 2 years.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton, colors Blue (1 ball), Ecru (1 ball), and Rose (3 balls, and the color is called “Rose” but it’s lavender).

Needles: Crystal Palace circulars size 5 and 5.5, and dpns size 6. Also needed size G crochet hook.

Gauge: 6 sts/inch, using size 5 circulars.

I cast on 120 stitches using the Blue yarn and size 5.5 needles, then switched to the size 5 for the whole body of the sweater. Purl the beginning row, then continue in stockinette stitch for 6 rows, with the first and last three stitches of each row in garter stitch (knit those three stitches no matter what else is going on). On the 7th row (a purl row), knit across with second color (Rose). Use stockinette stitch for 6 rows, and on the 6th row (again a purl row), knit across with the third color (Ecru). Repeat in sequence (Rose, Blue, Ecru) until there are nine stripes of color, ending with an Ecru row, each 6 rows of stockinette with the transition row a purl row on the knit side.

Divide for fronts and back. Continuing in pattern, knit 28 stitches (knit the first and last 3 always), leaving the rest of the stitches on a piece of smooth yarn or another cable needle. Continue the striping sequence until the whole piece has 14 stripes. On the 15th stripe (in my case, Ecru), when you get to the 6th row, bind off 10 stitches before continuing to the end of the row. Knit 3 more rows. Don’t bind off, but place remaining 18 stitches on a needle or other holder.

Return to remaining stitches. Continuing in pattern, knit 64 stitches (knit the first and last 3 always), leaving the rest of the stitches on the smooth yarn or other holder. Continue the striping sequence until the whole piece has 14 stripes. On the 15th stripe (in my case, Ecru), when you get to the 6th row, bind off the center 28 stitches, then knit 2 more rows on each side. Place these live stitches on holders or needles.

Return to remaining stitches. Continuing in pattern, knit the last 28 stitches (knit the first and last 3 always). Continue the striping sequence until the whole piece has 14 stripes. On the 15th stripe (in my case, Ecru), when you get to the 5th row, bind off the center 28 stitches, then knit 4 more rows on each side. Place these live stitches on holders or needles.

Do a three-needle bind-off of shoulders, 18 stitches on each front to corresponding 18 stitches on either side of the back.

Pick up and crochet a row of single crochet all around the edge, from middle of the lower back, up the front, around the neck, down the front, and around to the middle of the lower back, then continue in the following picot pattern:

*Single crochet in three single crochet spaces. In the fourth space, single crochet 1, chain 3, single crochet in the same space.* When you come to the upper chest, stop and survey the sweater. I chose to have three crocheted loops as buttonholes, alternating from one side to the other. When I reached the place where I wanted the first buttonhole (emerging from the left front even with the center of the 5th stripe down, Rose) I made as if to picot but instead of chain-3, I chained 8. Then I plain single-crocheted up to the bottom of the top stripe (Ecru) and repeated this. Single crochet all around the neck again (remember to put 4 single crochets in the corner at each side of the front-neck) and continue down the other side. Spaced evenly between the two button loops on the other side, place a button loop on the right front. Then continue in single crochet until past the point where the bottom-most button loop would cross over for its button (about the middle of the 6th stripe down) and continue with picot pattern until you meet the beginning point. Join, bind off crochet, weave in end.

Repeat the picot pattern around the sleeve edges. Then, using size 6 dpns, pick up 48 stitches underneath the picot edge and knit sleeve down. Decrease evenly until sleeve is 8″ long and 40 stitches around. Bind off, then end sleeve with a row of single crochet and a row of picot. The entire sleeve, from picot beginning to picot end, for me took almost an entire ball of Rose.

Repeat for other sleeve.

To finish, weave in ends and tighten any holes. Wash (I washed in cold water in the washing machine, but that’s only because I use cold water almost exclusively for everything in the washer). Pin out to dry. I did not obsessively pin, but I did pull out each picot with my fingers so that it stood out nicely to dry. When I attached the buttons, I sewed in two small felt circles on the inside of the sweater under the buttons as reinforcement, as the sweater is for a very small child and will undergo some rough treatment.

That’s it!

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