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Wee Envelope (x2, sort of)

I’m nearing 40 weeks of pregnancy, but baby girl doesn’t seem to be in a particular rush.  In the meantime, I’m cranking out a ton of knitting projects!  I’m going to try to post at least some of them while I have the time and motivation!

Pattern:  This is the adorable Wee Envelope by Ysolda.  It is one of the most brilliantly-constructed and clearly-written patterns I’ve ever knit.  I think everyone should knit one (or more!).  I knit the sweater for a co-worker who’s expecting her first child (sex unknown) at the end of November, and it is the smallest (0-3 months) size.  The only mod I made was to reduce the number of rows in the buttonholes, so that I could use smaller buttons.  As a side note, this sweater reminded me a bit of the Petite Facile Pullover I knit a few years ago.

Yarn:  For this particular recipient, it was important to make the sweater very low maintenance.  I chose to knit it using Tatamy Tweed DK, which is safe to machine wash and tumble dry (45% cotton, 55% acrylic, oatmeal tweed, only 1 skein!).  The yarn has such a nice drapey hand, and a rustic look true to the original design.

Needles, gauge, and finished dimensions:  I used US 5 needles, which gave me a gauge of 6 spi and 7.5 rpi before washing.  After machine-washing and drying, the fabric morphed a bit to a final gauge of 5.75 spi and 8 rpi (so, it stretched width-wise, and shrunk height-wise).  The sweater is approximately 16″ around the chest, 6.75″ from armpit to cuff, and 9.5″ from shoulder to hem.

The other Wee Envelope

So, the truth of the matter is that this is my second attempt at knitting a Wee Envelope.  The first one I knit didn’t work out nearly as well…

I know it looks innocent and cute, but the fabric is, in fact, felted :(.  In my rush to start the sweater, I grabbed some Green Mountain Spinnery Cotton Comfort, mainly because I remember this yarn being the one and only yarn used in the book Natural Knits for Babies and Moms. Well, the yarn says to hand wash, but (1) it is 20% cotton, (2) it’s recommended in a book for baby knits, and (3) it was important for this sweater to be easy-care, so I decided to test my luck and throw the sweater in the washing machine. Twice. Why not?!?  Of course the yarn felted slightly and the sweater shrank, and I have a feeling that it will continue to shrink with every wash if it’s not hand washed.  I decided to keep this sweater for my own baby, and re-knit the pattern using a different yarn for my co-worker.  I also decided against buttons for this sweater because the fabric is pretty stiff and cushy, and I don’t think the neck hole needs additional help to stay closed.


The weirdest yarn I’ve ever seen

This is Be Sweet Bambino Taffy in the Spearmint Gum colorway, a worsted weight blend of 70% organic cotton and 30% bamboo which is now discontinued.  And it is the weirdest yarn I’ve ever seen.

I bought several skeins of this yarn many years ago, mainly because it’s wool-free and gradient-colored!  You don’t often come across those two properties together.

Recently, I got the idea to pull it out of my stash.  I came across the Sand Dollar Wrap in the book New Vintage Lace.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

The original pattern uses Crystal Palace Mini Mochi, which is a fingering weight wool blend.  I remembered that I had Bambino Taffy in the stash, and thought with a little tweaking, I could knit something like the Sand Dollar Wrap in a heavier weight, and that, depending on its final size, it could work as a throw or blanket.

To modify the pattern, I whipped out my old copy of Norah Gaughan’s Knitting Nature. It’s an oldie, but goodie (I even wrote a preview/review a million years ago!).  This book has a whole section on hexagons, so I knew I’d find some inspiration in there to modify the Sand Dollar Wrap for a heavier weight yarn.  And I did!

I used the Basalt Tank as a starting point, and then tweaked the pattern to make much smaller hexagons.

So, with my modified pattern and Bambino Taffy in hand, I cast on.  As I neared the end of the first color, I eagerly awaited the transition to the second.  Except the next color was tied with a knot to the first.  Huh, that’s strange, I thought.  I’ve occasionally encountered that in Noro yarns, so I undid the knot, and moved on.  And then, when I reached the end of the second color, the third was tied with a knot to the second.  I pulled apart the skein, and then two more brand new skeins, just to make sure I wasn’t going totally crazy, and discovered that this gradient yarn is nothing more than (equal) lengths of five separate colors tied together with knots.

Have you ever seen such a thing?!?  If I wanted to combine colors in this way, I could do so myself with any number of yarns, including Be Sweet Bambino from which this “gradient” yarn is clearly made!

I suppose I could just ignore the blunt splices and knit through the knots, but that’s not my nature.  I don’t think I’ve ever left a knot in my knitting (except, on occasion, when I encounter a knot in a single ply of a multi-ply yarn).

So, since discovering this interesting feature of the yarn, and needing to cut up each skein anyway, I’ve decided to make each hexagon out of one color.  They are lovely colors, and they do go together very nicely, even if each hexagon now has at least one join in it.  It wasn’t going to have a gradient look anyway, just blunt transitions, so might as well deconstruct and reconstruct the whole thing.  GRUMBLE!

Forgotten Entrechat

The other day someone was asking about a nice red colorway of Malabrigo, and I opened up my blog to look up that lovely little shrug I knit a few months ago using a gorgeous shade of red Malabrigo, so I could recommend the name of the colorway.

Except the shrug wasn’t on the blog.

Huh.  I knit it during a very tumultuous time – I was newly pregnant and very sick, we were dealing with health issues in my family, and there were many stressful things at work – and I nearly questioned myself whether I knit it at all.  Then I found the pictures, they had even been edited!  And then the printout of the pattern, with notes on it and everything.  I guess I didn’t imagine it, after all, I only forgot to blog about it!

Pattern:  Entrechat by Lisa Chemery, 12-18 months size.  In my notes I marked the shrug as being 10″ from the top of the shoulder to the bottom of the peplum, about 10.5″ across when measured at the armpits, and 9.5″ across when measured at the shrug’s most narrow point (a few inches below the armpits).  As far as I remember, I made no changes to the pattern.

Yarn:  Malabrigo Worsted in Geranio, about 150 yards.  That’s less than 1 skein!  What a delightful and quick way to whip up something so cute!

Needles:  US 7.

I do remember really enjoying knitting this pattern.  It’s quick, simple to execute, and the result is darling.  I especially loved the gathered peplum in the back:

I knit this shrug for a little girl whose mom was very helpful to me and my family during our tumultuous spring.  I paired it with a simple white cotton dress when giving as a gift.  I thought the little white button I picked up at my local Joann’s went very well with it.

It’s not typically my style to blog about things I knit five months ago, but I will follow the motto, “better late than never”!