Pattern: Flax by tincanknits
Yarn: TFA Green Label in Comet (a one of a kind colourway).
Ravelry project page here.
A few months ago Chris and I got really excited about a new dyeing technique that he had been working on. The results were unexpected, slightly unpredictable, and quite stunning! As we continued to come up with batch after batch of beautifully speckled, watercolour yarns, it became clear that I'd need to actually knit with a few skeins of it before we made any decisions about what we were going to do with these colourways going forward. It's one thing to create beautiful hand painted skeins of yarn that function as art objects on the shelves of knitters everywhere, but my goal is always to create colourways that look as good knit up as they do in these perfect tactile skeins. The only way to make that judgement is by actually knitting something!
I chose 2 quite high contrast skeins in this ooak colourway we called Comet and cast on for a wee Flax sweater for Micah. I was quite weary of those bright pink splotches. I thought that they were for sure going to give me problems, but I was SHOCKED to learn that they are awesome! They really make the colourway pop. I alternated skeins every 2 rows and had no problems with pooling whatsoever. Success! I'm really pumped about the possibilities that this new style of colourway has to offer. I've never been a fan of the way highly variegated colourways knit up but I LOVE the way these flecked, tweedy, skeins look in this sweater.
Final verdict :: I would wear a sweater in this colourway. Not just socks, a funky shawl or a pair of mitts, an actual sweater! With a successful little sweater to show for itself, we went full steam ahead with lots more experimental colourways (all of those were featured in our first speckled update in June) and since then we've continued to narrow our focus in on what bits we like best and what applications are the most successful for both skein appeal and garment appeal. It's been so much fun!
I have a few very simple tricks that I always do when knitting top down sweaters, specifically for little ones.
1) I do a provisional cast on and then pick up those stitches and knit the collar from the bottom up so I can do a really stretchy bind off. Never again will I knit a sweater that can't be pulled over a giant baby/toddler head! My preferred stretchy cast off is k1 *k1, slip stitch just worked back to left hand needle and k2togtbl*. If you are good at doing a nice loose cast on edge, or if you want to take the time to do something a little bit more fiddly like a tubular cast on, those are good options too, but this is how I tend to do it most often for top down toddler pullovers.
2) When I pick up the stitches to knit the sleeves down, I leave the waste yarn that was holding those live stitches while I worked on the body in place. It makes it so much easier to count/measure how many rows I've knit on the sleeve and makes it a cinch to do both sleeves exactly the same. Otherwise I find that there's a bit of a grey zone around the armpit and the sleeve/yoke join where it can be weird to decipher exactly where the sleeve begins and the yoke ends.
3) I always weave the ends way up the inside of the cuff and into the "body" of the sleeve. I don't just weave them into the ribbed cuff because baby cuffs so often need to be folded over and there is nothing more annoying than a little yarn end sticking out. Weave that sucker way up to the elbow if you want to and you'll never have a stray end showing!
4) This tip is one that we've probably all learned the hard way and which I unfortunately didn't heed in this instance. Knit at least 1 size larger than you think you need! Babies grow so ding dang quickly and Micah only wore this sweater once before it was A) too warm to really justify wearing it and B) kinda tight around the body! It definitely won't fit him by fall and that leaves me with only one option... I need to make another baby so I can get my money's worth on this sweater. I just love it too much not to see it get worn! I mean just look at all that blue/rainbow speckled glory! If this is not reason enough to procreate I don't know what is. ;)