Wednesday, February 6, 2008
crocheted toddler sweater
i ignored this blog for a good chunk of last year due to our ceaseless travel (eva now has more frequent flier miles than i had when i was about 20 years older than her two-and-a-half years). given that, i'm catching up on some of the travel-friendly crafts that kept me busy over those months in 2007.
this little item was my first attempt at crocheted clothing of any kind. i made it during our month visiting my parents in alaska over the summer, with most of it done while sitting in a camping chair next to some river or another. maybe that's why i like the result so much; it has that energy put into it? or, equally plausible, is simply that it's a great yarn -- wool bam boo, a 50% wool 50% bamboo yarn from classic elite yarns. it's really soft and drapes well (as the label goes ahead and tells you it will), and was easy to work with as a beginner. i like that it was something other than cotton that she can actually wear for more than two months out of the year in our texas climate. the open/lacy design combined with just a bit of wool means it can keep the chill off when needed, but not make her too hot the rest of the time.
back then, before i knew if i was going to like crochet enough to invest in some books, i sought out a free pattern -- it didn't take me long to discover that a great many yarn manufacturers have free patterns on their websites. they're not always the most unique or inspired (especially from some of the more mainstream companies, ahem), but a good starting point for a beginning crocheter. i used this pattern from lion brand yarn. i know more places to look for patterns now, but i'm sort of glad i didn't at the time or i wouldn't have stumbled upon and made this sweater, which eva and i both love.
halfway through i began to fear that she would grow out of it too quickly (turns out she doesn't grow very fast... hurray?). since it's a wrap style, i really only had to worry about the length, so i added an extra row (or two?) of the edging pattern right above the bottom scallops (there's a note showing exactly where if you click on the above photo). i think the extra bit of length helped, and how could it hurt? it blends right in, only apparent should someone compare it to the original pattern. (and should someone do that and actually care, i'd be a bit more concerned about their mental state than i would about the sweater.) so when in doubt, i say, go ahead and size up a bit when you're talking about children's clothing, even if that means adjusting as you go.
it was all pretty straightforward, though i had some trouble with the sleeves. looking at the sample photo with the original pattern, clearly my sleeves came out too short? i found the instructions for that section ambiguous (though now i can't remember why), and redid the sleeve a couple times, as i reinterpreted the pattern (i attribute the confusion to my beginner status). actually, the sleeve ended up too short in both directions, requiring me to ease in a bit too much around the shoulder, probably because my starting chain for the sleeve was too tight (which i now know to be a common beginner mistake -- going up a hook size just for the chain can remedy that if you have the same problem). the lesson for me here is that garment construction still follows largely the same rules, be it in yarn or fabric. had i trusted my instinct (and knowledge from sewing) that the sleeve wasn't fitting, i could have easily fixed it, but "that's what the pattern said" (as best i could tell), so i left it alone. as a result the sleeves are a bit off, but no matter. now i know.
eva was kind enough to model her sweater for us on a recent spring-like day. (it's early february! see why we can't wear so much wool around here? by march wool-wearing is long in the past, and we start swimming. which, as a former northerner, i know sounds great -- until it's july and you already don't know how you'll ever make it until the reprieve of october. so, it's a trade off. not that i'm missing the snow right now.) we had fun taking photos -- though she never stopped moving for even two seconds -- and then she decided it was time to hike back to the playground. when it comes to toddler photography, shots like the one below are how you know you are done. "come on mama. are you coming? stop taking pictures and come with me!"