Started: November 21, 2009
Finished & Gifted: December 6, 2009
Size: 0-3 months
Yarn: 4+ skeins of Knit Picks Swish Worsted (110 yards yds per 50g ball; 100% Superwash Merino Wool) in the "Clematis Heather" colorway
Gauge: 15 sts/inch (with yarn held double) on US #8 needles for the body, buttonband, and collar. #10.5 DPNs for the sleeves.
Modifications: Knit with two strands of yarn as one in order to get gauge! Other modifications included shortening the length of the body & sleeves. Details below.
I knitted this little cardigan for my friend Ellie, who I met in graduate school and worked with in my first official-librarian job. (She's a knitter, too.) I hope she and her husband like it--I know she'll appreciate that it can be thrown in the washing machine!
The pattern calls for aran-weight yarn and I had a lot of trouble getting gauge. I did a lot of swatching (yes, I know!) and could not for the life of me get 15 sts/in. I looked on Ravelry and no one else seemed to be having this trouble. Before going out to buy new yarn I tried one last swatch--this time while holding two strands of yarn as one. It worked! This is a pretty important detail and I'm surprised no one has mentioned it on their blogs or project pages. I wonder if it's just me...
People were saying that you could knit this project in a weekend but I didn't find that to be the case. I brought the project with me for a long car ride the weekend before Thanksgiving and worked on it at lunch almost every day. I finished knitting Baby Sophisticate on Friday night, washed it, and put it out to dry. I planned to sew the buttons on on Saturday, wrap it, and go to my sister-in-law's Christmas party but the knitting gods weren't having any of that. I checked on the sweater on Saturday and it was still wet. I put it in the dryer on low for a while and laid it back out to dry overnight. Ha! Sunday morning I put it in the dryer again, sewed the buttons on, put it back in the dryer, and brought it along unwrapped for the drive to NJ. I placed it under the vent in my car and ended up wrapping it in the parking garage...still a little soggy. Oh well. I liked the way it turned out and really hope it fits! (I get very nervous when gifting knits.)
Notes in case I want to knit this again:
- I wish I had noticed that the designer didn't want us to break the yarn when splitting for the body. When I got to the first armhole, I automatically cut the yarn and joined it again for the back sts. When I got to the second armhole I realized I wasn't supposed to do that and just knitted the last back stitch really tightly with the first front side stitch. On the way back, I made sure that stitch was tight and joined the other side with the back in the same way. It all seems to have worked out nicely. In the end, sewing the underarm holes was the only real finishing to do.
- I shortened the length of the sweater/sleeves and really hope it fits the intended baby. The Yarn Harlot has mentioned that baby arms never seem to fit in baby sweater sleeves and, sure enough, when I knitted her Daisy pattern for my nephew, the sleeves fit him perfectly; I tried to match that pattern's dimensions when knitting Baby Sophisticate. That means that I made the length of this top-down sweater 4.5" from underarm to bottom (instead of 6") then did the trim. I also shortened the sleeve lengths to 4.5" so the cuffs won't have to be rolled. We shall see if this was a good move--I really hope I did the right thing!
- I had to join a new ball of yarn to finish off the bottom trim, but skipped the sleeve instructions so I could just use that live stitch to pick up for the button band and collar. It worked great.
- As for yarn, buy lots extra! I only bought 3 skeins of yarn because I figured I'd have plenty based on the pattern. I didn't count on having to hold the yarn double... I used just over two balls on the body of the sweater and had to divide up the remaining ball to finish up the rest. This was very optimistic of me and, as I was making the collar, I realized how little yarn I had left and ordered 2 more skeins. Amazingly Knit Picks had 2 more balls in the same dye lot. Someone up there was looking out for me! ;)
- Don't try to dry a sweater in your chilly finished basement!
(By the way, the hat I gave to my vet was originally intended for Ellie. I was going to make a hat and mitten set but then changed my mind after I saw the little hat all knitted up.)