Just a few days ago my stockpile of baby sweaters was down to zero!  Horrors!  The fastest and most fun way I know to whip up a cute baby sweater is a striped, top-down, cardigan.  I save money and time by using stash yarns and even raid my grandmother's button box for the buttons. This baby cardi can be knit with fingering weight, dk, or worsted weight, using leftover bits and pieces.  The cardi with the red buttons is my favorite and was a total accident: I ran out of yarn on the sleeves and had to dig down deep into the stash drawer.  The result was the unplanned red stripes right before the cuffs and became the inspiration to use the red buttons.  I fell in love with it as I was knitting and cannot wait to see a tiny toddler toddle around wearing it.  It's intended for my pastor and his wife who are expecting their first baby next month.  We don't know if it will be a boy or girl,  but I can see this for either sex.  A pair of blue-jeans or perhaps a white eyelet skirt?  Either will be adorable.

When I'm done with a knitting project and even if I have only a few yards left, I label it and save it, and if it's superwash it goes into a smallish drawer in my sewing room that is dedicated for baby sweaters. Machine washable is the key, as babies are messy--plus busy moms tend to throw everything in the washing machine and you'll want to make sure your treasure will survive and hopefully be passed on.

When I want to knit a baby sweater, I dive into the stash drawer and choose two, three or more coordinating colors that are the same weight.  I use one of the free patterns below and almost always knit the one-year old size.  I've been making scrappy baby sweaters for years.  I love how fun they are to knit and how different they always come out.  My original post, totally free/totally adorable baby cardigan is almost two years old and still gets at least 200 plus views a day so I know you must like free/adorable/easy/scrappy/stripey sweaters as much as I do!

I have a few knitting tips:  

1. Between the ribbing and stripes, work one row stockinette in the rib color before beginning the rib (when knitting the cuffs) or finishing the rib (when knitting the collar).   This extra row of stockinette in the rib color will make a neater looking transition.  You do not need to do this row of stockinette for the button band.

2. When picking up stitches for the button band, pick up 3 stitches for every four.  It will lay nice and flat. 

3.  Use the KFB increase for the raglan increases.

4.  For gentle sleeve shaping that narrows to the cuff, decrease 1 stitch at each end 4 times evenly spaced (8 sts. decreased total)

5. Make your button band first, then place your buttons where you want them, mark their placement, then knit the buttonhole band.  

6. Remember to use machine washable wool or cotton for baby items. My yarn stash is mostly wool and some cottons.  I don't bother with matching fiber content in these sweaters and happily mix wools with cottons.  As long as it's the same weight and machine washable, I have great success. 

7. As for weaving in the ends, I tend to do that as I go along.  After weaving the end in, I leave about 1/2" of yarn on the inside.  If I've cut the yarn too close to the fabric, the yarn end tends to poke out on the front side after washing.  Leaving it longer tends to insure it will stay on the inside.

8. When a baby sweater is completed, I turn it inside out and machine wash in cool water and tumble dry on low.  I want to make sure that it passes the "washer-dryer test", and luckily they always do.  When gifting, I always tie a little care-tag to the top button.  The care is simple, and even the busiest mom can manage:  Button up the cardigan, turn inside out, machine wash on gentle in cool water, tumble dry on low. 

Even though I've shared these free pattern links many times, I always pick up a few new readers so I will add the pattern links again.  All are free downloads and most are sized 3 mos. to 2 years.  Print out all these patterns and gather up your machine washable oddballs and put them in a zip lock bag with the patterns.  You're all set for some great travel projects, and of course, a most welcome gift.

I sew them in pretty much as I go. After weaving, I leave about 1/2" of thread on the inside. If I've cut the yarn too close to the fabric, the yarn end tends to poke out on the front side after washing. Leaving it longer, it will stay on the inside. - See more at:
I sew them in pretty much as I go. After weaving, I leave about 1/2" of thread on the inside. If I've cut the yarn too close to the fabric, the yarn end tends to poke out on the front side after washing. Leaving it longer, it will stay on the inside. - See more at:
I sew them in pretty much as I go. After weaving, I leave about 1/2" of thread on the inside. If I've cut the yarn too close to the fabric, the yarn end tends to poke out on the front side after washing. Leaving it longer, it will stay on the inside. - See more at:
I'd like to give a big thank you to the kind ladies who have published these cute baby patterns!

The yarns used in the sweaters above were dk wieght.
I used 4 different whites, two were Rowan, plus a Sublime and a Cascade.
The others were bits of
 Rowan Wool-Cotton DK
 Sublime 100% Organic Cotton DK
Dragonfly Fibers Traveller
Miss Babs Kaweah DK
Tess Designer Yarns Superwash DK
Rowan Super-Fine Merino DK
Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK

I LOVED them all!


Virescent Collection: two winners!

Two winners have been chosen for the Virescent Collection giveway; one from Facebook and one from my blog comments. Congratulations to IrisLeVirus and joyclark61. Expect to hear from Katy Carroll soon! 

Dear readers, the entire Virescent Collection is 25% off until 
Wednesday, October 28 with the code: "knitionary".

Things are pretty quiet around here after a hectic month.  I've settled in and back in the groove of knitting and posting.  I've got some excellent posts planned:  plenty of knitting posts of course, some pictures of Ally Pally and my trip to England and Germany, a "recipe" for making a group baby quilt, and who knows, maybe even a party or two!  Also, I've started my Christmas knitting in earnest--have you? This year I've set up a loose timetable/schedule for my Christmas projects, just to keep me on my toes.  I'm taking a long train ride soon where I can look forward to hours of uninterrupted knitting!  Train ride + knitting = bliss!


Amy Herzog's Options Sweater KAL

Amy Herzog's Options Sweater KAL started on Monday, and it's not too late to join in, not at all!   Let me tell you why I've decided to take part. I've always admired Amy's approach to sweaters, for her it's all about a proper fit, and you know, that's what I'm all about too!   Amy has designed a modern classic sweater that we will be able to personalize with our choice of pullover or cardigan, sleeve length, stripes, stockinette or textured body, and crew or v-neck. I'll be making a fitted v-neck pullover in Marl, a pretty pale green, and knitting it throughout in stockinette--I'm easily seduced by the elegant simplicity of the stockinette stitch knit in a gorgeous yarn.  Throughout the KAL, Amy will take us through her design process. We will start with her inspirations, then continue to obtaining the gauge for the correct fabric, plus body and sleeve shaping, and finally moving on to finishing.  Amy will guide us through knitting the sweater through December 14 by publishing bi-weekly videos and weekly blog posts/tips.  Her tips will include what makes good sweater fabric, how to achieve a well-fitting sweater, plus tips on waist shaping and edge shaping and more.  Towards the end of November there will be a question and answer time, then we'll wrap up mid-December with a great looking, great fitting sweater!  FYI, this is a different type of KAL.  You will download the entire pattern and there is no "set schedule".  I see this knitalong as a learning-as-you-go tool for knitters.  I'm excited to learn some new techniques from Amy and hope you'll join me so we can go on this journey together.  I'll be posting my progress here every week or two and hope you'll share your progress with me in the comments section.  If you have any questions, I'll try to help, but Amy seems very approachable and I'm confident there will be a lot of support.

Let's begin!

First, download the free pattern from Rowan and choose your option choices.
I hope your LYS carries PWSWDK, but if not, it's easy to find online.
Follow Amy's blog where she will post the KAL updates.
 There's a KAL page on Amy's Ravelry group that you should follow.
The Rowan Yarns group on Rav has a KAL page too.
Amy Herzog is the author of Knit To Flatter and Knit, Wear, Love
and the creator of Custom Fit.

On FB, Instagram or Twitter, we're finding each other with the hashtag, #optionskal

There now!  You're all set!
Let's knit!

Hey!  Have you entered my Katy Carroll Virescent Pattern Collection giveaway?
It's open until Monday, October 26.  Go here to enter and good luck.




virescent giveaway!

1. Becoming green
2. Somewhat green; greenish

The beautiful accessory collection, Virescent, has just come to my attention and the designer, Katy Carroll, has kindly offered Knitionary two pattern collections to giveaway, plus a discount to my readers!

From Katy:  The idea for The Virescent Collection originated with the dramatic central cable motif. Its plush, organic look reminded me of huge leaves in far-off rainforests, or even of hostas in my much-less-exotic state. I wanted to explore how that cable could look in a variety of pieces and different yarn weights. And of course, that leafy imagery inevitably led me to the color GREEN.

A few of the patterns below are knit with single skeins and would be a great way to use those one-of-a-kind treasures we knitters seem to collect!  Katy's patterns are known to be very well-written, with clear instructions and helpful knitting tips along the way.  All patterns have both charted and written instructions.

Leandra Scarf

Leticia Cowl

Linnea Cowl

Lisanne Mitts, I'll be knitting these first.  Gorgeous.

Shelby Hat

Danica Cowl

There will be a total of nine patterns in the collection and the winners will receive the remaining three as they are added.  Below is a sneak peek of the Kacia Shawl, the next one to be published--knit with one skein of sock yarn!

Kacia Shawl

From today through Wednesday, October 28th, 
Katy is offering my readers a 25% discount off the set and individual patterns 
with the promo code “knitionary".   

Purchase the collection or individual patterns here:
Don't forget to use the code "knitionary" for the discount.

10/26/15, Edited to add:  This giveaway has expired.
Katy has offered two collections as a giveway to two lucky readers.
To enter, leave a comment below and tell me what you would knit first!
For a second chance to win, go the the Knitionary FB page, 
find the post with the Virescent collage, and leave a comment.

On Monday, I'll choose two winners, 
one from the blog and one from Facebook.

Don't forget to leave your contact info, either Rav ID or your email!

Katy's website, Katinka Designs
Katy's designer page on Rav



shoulder cozy

The Shoulder Cozy by Churchmouse Yarns is probably the most versatile accessory I own.  I made it last year and have used it in all four seasons.  My darling neighbor modeled it showing how you can wear it in all it's variations.

When I'm leaving the house and if I think there is a possibility that I /shudder/ might get a teensy bit chilly, I put this in my purse.  My husband likes to say that there's no bigger complainer than a cold Kristen.  Even if it's 90 degrees outside he's learned to ask, "Did you remember to bring something warm to wear in case you get cold?"

The suggested yarns, use a strand of each held together,


Summer Tweed has recently been discontinued, 
but as long as you get gauge (with an open weave)
I think the yarn possibilities are endless.

Get the pattern here.

All the details on my Ravelry project page.

If you are ever in Seattle, a visit to Churchmouse Yarns would be so worth your while.
Bainbridge Island is a half hour ferry ride from Seattle.
The little island is so beautiful and walker friendly, you won't want to leave.


Christmas jumpers you'll actually wear

The ugly Christmas sweaters have come, and mercifully, gone!  Below are some beautiful Christmas jumpers that you will actually love to wear and be proud to give.  The first four sweaters are from the new Rowan Christmas Online Collection.  

The Deer Dress below is designed by Signe Stromgard in sizes baby to 8 years.
 I'd love to see it in gray, red, and white.

These next two prove that fairisle doesn't have to be complicated to be beautiful.  In fact, these simple designs are my favorite.  Below is the handsome Baby Snowflake sweater by OGE.   The Snowflake Onesie by Unnur Eva Arnarsdottir can only be described as completely adorable. 

Below is Homestead from Martin Storey.  The book, Homestead Classics is out of print, but I had to show it to you; so gorgeous in pale gray and charcoal.  You might be able to find the book used online or in your local library.  I've sent a message to Rowan and asked them to offer it as a pattern download.  I'll let you know.

And don't forget how awesome and Christmasy any old sweater looks when it's knit in red and white stripes.
Striped Shirt is free from Purl Soho.

If you don't have time to knit a sweater, how about my Candy Cane Scarf?

Or maybe some Candypants?  They are as cute as their name!



I've been waiting for months to post this and so happy I can share it today.  About a year ago I heard a whisper of a hint that Rowan Yarns might be talking to Swarovski about a possible collaboration.  My heart almost skipped a beat when I imagined how fantastic it would be for hand knitters to knit fine jewels into fine yarn.  In spring I went to the needlearts trade show, bee-lined to the Rowan booth and glimpsed what was in our future!  I'm writing this post remotely and in September, and using my schedule option, so at this time of writing I don't have the links yet from Ravelry and Rowan.  However, today is the release day and all the patterns and shine products are up on the knitrowan site and Ravelry.  The  Rowan front page will have all the Shine info for you, and I'll bet Rav has been updated today too.  Fiberwild has done an awesome job gathering the Swarovski/Rowan Shine products in one spot.

 Here's what you need to look out for...

The pattern books

Swarovski Evening

There are several free patterns too.

The designers

Jennie Atkinson
Martin Storey
Lisa Richardson
Marie Wallin
Sarah Hatton
Lois Daykin 
Theresa Venning

Fiberwild has done an awesome job gathering the
Swarovski/Rowan Shine products in one spot.

 You can view the collection overview here.
Only the finest yarns will do!

View all the yarns here.

Swarovski Crystals Bead Sets

Fiberwild has done an awesome job gathering the
Swarovski/Rowan Shine products in one spot.

 You can view the collection overview here.

You'll see in all of the designs below, ways that you can embellish your favorite patterns with crystals.  The sky is the limit, and a little goes a long way.  Just a bit of sparkle around the neckline, or a tiny bit on a cuff could speak volumes.  My lys, Uncommon Threads is going to carry much of it.  I hope your local Rowan Stockist does too, but if not, this is worth a road trip to a store that does.  I'm sure you'll be able to find many online stores that will carry it too, and Fiberwild is leading the pack!

Betty has two versions, both using Rowan Finest and incorporating faux pearls and teardrop crystals.
Marie Wallin, Daytime.  The flowers are very similar to what Chanel has shown in her recent collections.

With Chanel and other designers loving embellished flowers, this is right on trend.
Crocheted Delicate Scarf from the Daytime Collection by Martin Storey
using Kid Classic with crystal beads and faux pearls.

Frilly Collar from Evening by Jennie Atkinson uses Fine Lace and black diamond crystals.

I saw this at the show and blurted out loud, "knitting this!"
Ribbed Cardigan from Daytime is by Jennie Atkinson
and uses Rowan Finest and small topaz crystal beads.

A classic fitted peplum jacket from Jennie Atkinson uses Rowan Finest and
small black crystal beads.  From the Evening collection.

 Above and below, an elegant evening sweater from Jennie Atkinson.
Rowan Finest and Kidsilk Haze are used in this gorgeous sweater,
along with over 1,000 tiny crystals.  Swoon.

Waterfall Cardigan by Jennie Atkinson from Evening uses Kid Classic
 and three different crystals: clear classic, black diamond, and topaz.

Jennie Atkinson uses lustrous Truesilk in her Diamond Vest from the Daytime Collection.

 Sarah Hatton designed this flattering pullover for Daytime using Rowan Finest
and two colors of faux pearls, cream and rose gold, plus small crystals.

Two pretty bags by Lisa Richardson using Kid Classic and pretty pearls and crystals.  Daytime.

And then there is a wedding dress!  I saw this in person, it's breathtaking!
Kidsilk Haze and crystals galore.  Fiberwild put together a wedding dress kit.

I love this beaded bag so much.
Gorgeous ruffled collar.

A poncho made of Kid Classic!  Swoon!

There are several brooches too.

There are several lovely Rowan yarns the pattern books are using to showcase the crystals, but the most obvious choice was Kidsilk Haze, a blend of kid mohair and silk. Shine above and below,  is created by plying three strands of Kidsilk Haze and one strand of fine cotton, and to top it all off, Swarovski crystal beads are added about every four inches. Add a touch of Swarovski crystal elegance to your next knitting or crocheting project!

You can purchase the crystals in different colors and sizes.  They come packaged in sets as above 
and come in a dozen colors, shapes and sizes.  Here's just a tiny peek of some of what they offer: