Cardigan for a big girl

Somewhere between here and there, I knit this sweet cardigan for the daughter of a dear friend.

Pattern: primarily, it’s a sized-up version of the Baby Sweater on Two Needles (aka, February Baby Sweater) from Knitter’s Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann. For sizing, stitch counts, etc., I used the Hyphen sweater by Lisa Chemery for guidance.

Yarn: Spud & Chloe Sweater in lilac (7523), a total of about 3.5 skeins, 550 yards. This was my first time using the wool-cotton blend, and it’s quite lovely! I hope it holds up well in this lace pattern and doesn’t stretch too much. It felt like it could block out quite well if I pulled it, which is not necessarily the best for a sweater. On the other hand, the yarn is machine-washable and -dryable, so hopefully that keeps the shape in check.

Needles and finished dimensions: I used US 8 needles for the majority of the sweater, and US 6 needles for the garter stitch at the collar and cuffs (but not hem). I knit the cuffs in the round using a wrap & turn method:

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The finished sweater is: 31″ chest circumference, 12″ sleeve length to underarm, and 19.25″ shoulder to hem. This is about a 9-10Y size, which is a bit of a shame because I was aiming for something closer to 6-7Y size, oops! I even wrote a little note of apology on the sweater label:

My favorite part of the sweater has to be the buttons! They are rounded cubes with glitter in the middle. A little chunky, a little showy, but I just love them!

Lastly, I wanted to mention that this sweater is the “upgrade” to the teeny-tiny Inky Dinky sweater I knit 5 years ago. Emily’s mom recently texted me a pic of Emily still squeezing herself into the Inky Dinky, even though she’s 5 years old and the sweater is for a 3-month old. Nothing warms my heart more than a grateful recipient, so I quickly made it my mission to knit her an upgrade! I think this big girl upgrade will do!

 

Another pair of shorts!

After zipping through my first (intro) serger project, I quickly jumped into something a bit more fancy… even if it’s still a pair of shorts for my daughter.

PatternLittle Honeybuns shorts from the Pattern Emporium, size 2. With the elastic, the waist of these is about 19″, which is the same as the circumference of Sonya’s belly.

LOVED this pattern. Clearly written, with specific instructions about using the overlock! Remember, I got into shorts in the first place to learn how to use my new serger, the Brother 1034D! I think this goal was accomplished; I even courageously overlocked some seams without straight-stitching first.

 
(That little clothing tag is a must to tell apart the front and back)

 

I also loved the professional-level details for assembly and finishing, including top-stitching, optional pockets, pocket flaps, belt loops & sash, side leg tabs, ET CETERA FOR DAYS. It definitely takes “shorts” to a new level, compared to a simple pattern like I used last time.

 

 

In terms of mods, I did lengthen the legs by 1”, I think that was a good move. I also put the elastic all the way around, not just in the back; this was no problem. I also applied the “pot belly” adjustment, but I think I’d skip that in the future because the inseam seems just a bit too short (especially since the pattern doesn’t have a diaper allowance).

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Overall, this was a great project facilitated by a great pattern, and I think I learned a lot about using my serger. Success!

I got a serger and made some shorts!

On Black Friday, I finally took the plunge and bought myself a Brother 1034D serger. Many of my friends have this exact serger, and it is well known as a great intro-level machine which doesn’t break the bank. Although I paid a little bit less on Black Friday than the currently-listed price, the machine is still well under $200, which is just fantastic.

That picture is from my Instagram story the night that I opened my serger and used it for the first time! I hope you can follow me there – I post little bits of crafting progress fairly often.

I did have some issues with the knob controlling the stitch width, and after Brother customer support confirmed the issue, I exchanged my machine through Amazon. Good thing I was within the allowed Christmas-time exchange window! But a note to you – should you decide to buy this machine or any other, please do test it out before your exchange/return window closes!

Anyway, with the replacement serger set up, it was time to try my first project. I thought a simple pair of girl’s shorts for my daughter would be easy enough.

Pattern: Kid Shorts by Made Everyday with Dana. Nice, straightforward pattern with accompanying tutorials online to make lots of mods like pockets, trims, etc. I had to do a little bit of my own interpretation about where to use the serger versus regular straight stitch, but I think that’s common for many patterns.

I made the 3Y size, which is the smallest graphed size for kids without a diaper. This size is a little bit big for Sonya, but there’s always next summer.

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Fabric: something from the stash; looks like a medium-weight 2-way stretch cotton. It was pre-washed, a happy color, and I had the right yardage, so it was an easy choice.

Using the serger: It was very easy! My friend Christina mentioned that a neutral thread like gray, light pink, etc. is a great option for most fabrics, so I used light gray and it worked out just fine. It took a little bit of futzing to figure out how a drafted 3/8″ seam allowance translates into the correct seam in the serger. I ended up marking the fabric with a pencil 3/8″ from the edge, and experimenting with where to feed the fabric so the line would be at the seam.

Here you can see some of those overlocked seams, as well as a #love clothing tag to mark the back of the shorts.

Next, I want to try a pair of shorts for Sonya with pockets. Sonya loves to collect pine cones and rocks and little things she finds outside, and pockets are key! I also really want a pattern that walks me through where to use an overlock versus a regular machine. I think I found the perfect pattern right here – Little Honeybuns shorts from the Pattern Emporium – and I can’t wait to try it!