baby cardigan from Little French Knits

I'll let you in on a little secret: I think my husband has a crush on his doctor, and I kinda do too! We both adore her and whenever we go for an office appointment, she'll give us both a hug, then I settle down to some knitting while he has his appointment. When we heard she was expecting her first baby, and that it would be a girl, he didn't have to ask me twice to knit her a baby sweater.  In fact, I was already on top of it! I had wanted to knit something from Little French Knits and decided on this little cardigan in pink with a pearl button. The top-down yoke grows with eyelet increases on either side of faux cables created with slipped stitches. I chose this pattern for it's simple and timeless elegance, so perfect for baby garments. It's a great pattern and was super fun to make.

Florence Merlin of Little French Knits has kindly offered my readers 50% of her entire pattern collection, including this little cardigan, using the code KNITIONARY.  This offer is good through the end of August. Upon checkout, use the code KNITIONARY and a 50% discount will be automatically applied.

See the entire Little French Knits collection here.

For this sweater...

I used this pattern: Cardigan for Baby by Florence Merlin of Little French Knits

and I used this yarn: Breathless by Shalimar Yarns.

Breathless by Shalimar is an elegant yarn and easy to knit.  It showed a bit of fuzz as I was knitting but I should not have been surprised because it is not tightly spun.  A tighter spun would have eliminated the fuzz but changed the yarn.  I really did like it the way it was and think anyone would think this yarn was superb.  Besides being mostly merino, it does have silk and cashmere and so feels divine. It does say machine wash so it is fine for a baby garment, but do feel it would benefit from being carefully hand washed as it does seem a bit delicate.  Still, this is a gift and I am comfortable knowing that most likely it will be in the washing machine. I don't know if I would use this again for baby, but would love it for me as a pullover or shawl.  The color, Velvet Slippers, is the palest antique pink. It's gorgeous.

I love that the faux cables look so much like tiny cables.  They do not, however, use a cable needle, and instead use very easy slipped stitches that are then passed over.

Florence has kindly offered my readers 50% off her entire pattern collection on Ravelry--all sweaters, vests, rompers, booties, and hats are 50% off. This offer is good through the end of August. Upon checkout, use the code KNITIONARY and the discount will be applied.

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designer spotlight: Little French Knits

I'm excited to introduce you to Florence Merlin, the woman behind Little French Knits, knitting patterns for baby.  While looking through Florence's portfolio, the first thing that caught my eye was her homage to the classic French baby clothes I have long admired.  Little French Knits is all about subtle details and and timeless, petite style.

Florence lives with her teenage children near Lyon, France, in the charming Beaujolais region of Pierres DorĂ©es. Her grandmother taught her to knit at seven years of age and thus began a lifelong love of knitting. As a little girl she spent her free time creating with pearls, wool, and fabric, and even cut her bed sheets to sew clothes! 

When her first child was born, she began knitting in earnest, desiring to create a timeless layette made with love. Creating her own designs was a natural progression, and soon this passionate hobby turned into a ready-to-wear knitwear business.  In a short time, the waiting list for her knitted sweaters and rompers grew so long, it would have taken her years to fulfill! Lucky for us, she instead decided to publish her original patterns and sell them online so now all can make her beautiful designs. Her patterns are available in French and English, and most patterns are available in sizes newborn to 2 years.

Florence believes that if you want to create a beautiful knit, it must start with a great yarn, and the correct yarn selection is vital. She exclusively uses fingering weight yarn in the finest wools, cottons and cashmeres--this is a woman after my own heart! Florence recommends a lovely French yarn, Anny Blatt Baby Blatt for her patterns. As an alternative yarn, I highly recommend my own favorite for baby knits, Rowan Super Fine Merino 4-Ply. A fine cotton alternative would be Rowan Summerlite 4Ply. The recommended yarns are 100% super soft wool (Summerlite is 100% Egyptian Cotton) and all three are machine washable. 

Why not make your next baby sweater a treasured heirloom?  Florence has kindly offered my readers 50% off her entire pattern collection on Ravelry--all sweaters, vests, rompers, booties, and hats are 50% off. This offer is good through the end of August. Upon checkout, use the code KNITIONARY and the discount will be applied.

In an upcoming post I'll show you my own Little French Knit baby sweaters. View the entire collection here, and don't forget to use the code, KNITIONARY. In the meantime, enjoy some of my favorites below.  Aren't they simply beautiful?

Why not make your next baby sweater a treasured heirloom?  Florence has kindly offered my readers 50% off her entire pattern collection on Ravelry--all sweaters, vests, rompers, booties, and hats are 50% off. This offer is good through the end of August. Upon checkout, use the code KNITIONARY and the discount will be applied.

To make a comment, please click here.


fall/winter 2017/18 yarn review

I had the pleasure to review three new yarns from Rowan this past month. They are a much welcomed addition to the Rowan Yarns core collection; two tweeds and an upscale, everyday dk weight yarn. First up are much beloved by Rowan and its devotees, the tweeds, Valley Tweed and Cashmere Tweed. I was happy to see these two much needed yarns to help fill out their tweed landscape.

Valley Tweed (pictured above and below) is a 100% UK wool spun in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, the home of Rowan. Valley Tweed is a sport weight yarn and knits at 24 st per 4 in on a size US3 (3.23mm) needle.  The fabric is very lightweight and feels more like a fingering weight, but once you wash it, the beautiful bloom of the yarn fills the fabric and it indeed has a sport weight gauge.  The tweed fabric is very fine and well blended and gives a light-handed tweedy look. It doesn't smack you in the face with an overpowering tweediness--its tweedy features are quiet and subtle. And beautiful. So beautiful. The yarn is springy and very easy to knit.  The fabric once knitted, is very soft, much softer than you think it would be when you feel it in the skein and while you are knitting. It is next-to-the-skin soft, yet very strong; the yarn is difficult to break. The put up is 226 yd in 50 gr and is very well priced. The color selection is limited with 10 shades, but I imagine that will grow as this yarn gains in popularity. While I love this at gauge, I think Valley Tweed would be great in one of those shawl patterns that uses bigger needles to create an airy fabric. The natural bloom would make it shine. Also, I imagine any pattern that uses Rowan Felted Tweed DK would be interchangeable with VT, but the garment will be MUCH softer in VT. Vally Tweed is hand-washable and gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from this knitter. It's gorgeous and if I had to choose my favorite of the three I'm reviewing today, this would be it.  I adore subtle tweeds and this is a winner.  

The next tweed is Cashmere Tweed, (pictured above) a luxurious blend of extra fine merino and cashmere.  The put up is 96 yd to 25 gr and knits to 22 st per 4 in with a size US 6 (4mm) needle. I knit this on a size 6 needles and got 20 st per 4 in and liked the look of it very much.  I changed my needles to a 5 and was able to get gauge at 22 per 4 in.  I could see this yarn working well for either gauge and would be a matter of preference. It is also a very strong yarn--you'll have to give it quite a good tug to break it. It knits easily with good spring and bounce. The fabric is classic tweed--a bit oatmealy in texture, with the slightly uneven stitches that we love in tweeds. It is extremely soft and has a lofty, aerated feel to me.  It's lovely and would make a beautiful lightweight garment that would be snug and cozy. Because it is so lightweight, it would be great in garter stitch or cables or any stitch that you think might weigh down an ordinary yarn. Cashmere Tweed has a limited selection of 8 colors, all pretty, and like Valley Tweed above, I assume the color choices will grow as the yarn becomes more popular.  It is also hand wash, and I give it another enthusiastic thumbs up.

Next is Alpaca Soft DK, (pictured above) a much needed addition to Rowan's core collection. Alpaca Soft is an elegant and well-balanced uber-soft blend of 70% wool and 30% alpaca.  It has a wonderful feel in the hand, bouncy and well-behaved, and creates a fine fabric with even stitches.  The fabric, with the addition of alpaca, is very pliable, but the merino majority gives it much needed structure and stability which makes this yarn a stand-out.  Softness and stability-it's a team that's hard to beat. It really is a very well-balanced blend, I just don't know how to describe it any better.  This would work well for any garment that calls for a dk weight, but it is hand-wash so probably not best for children's wear. The stockinette fabric is pretty enough on it's own, but I imagine cables would positively glow in this yarn. The put-up is 137 yd in 50 gr and is available in an adequate selection of 16 very pretty colors--a good mix of neutrals and brights. It's lovely, and you guessed it, Alpaca Soft DK gets another thumbs up from this knitter!

Information links:

Alpaca Soft DK

All three yarns should be available at your favorite Rowan stockist and all three have supporting pattern books available as well. However, as they are sport and dk weight yarns, there are literally hundreds/thousands of patterns out there that would work for these lovely yarns.  I can't wait to see what knitters come up with.  As for me, you know I like my sweaters plain and simple and want the fabric and the fit to take center stage, so my first project will likely be this pretty v-neck in Valley Tweed. I just don't know what could be prettier!

Dearne by Lisa Richardson.
Although I do like this one too!  Wold, also by Lisa Richardson.

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orange is the new white

I have to share this pretty table with you! My girlfriend Norma designed this table setting for a dinner party for 12 to celebrate her husband's birthday--and also to celebrate her brother and sister-in-law visiting from Australia. It was a feast for the eyes with leopard print placemats, orange chargers, pink and yellow napkins, and tiny teal bud vases.  It was also a feast for the tummy.  During the cocktail hour we nibbled on tiny crab cakes, then sat at the table for a first course of caprese salad. The entree was citrus chicken and summer squash.  All the vegetables were from their own vegetable garden. Dessert was strawberries and cream.  I love it when the table is every bit as delicious as the food served on it!

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