Monday, May 11, 2015


I am a softie for well photographed anything.  Blogs with good photos? I'm in.  Good food photography? I'll try the recipe.  Beautiful hand knit patterns with fetching images? No contest.  This little fair isle dress is one such example.  I bought a children's clothing knitting book two years ago with the intent to try one of the many darling patterns.  And this was the ringer for me… a little fairisle tube dress that would look darling, darling, darling on one of my girls with a long sleeved T-shirt and tights.

Sunlight and stranded knitting

The book was a MillaMia production called "Wonderland".  (You can find it here.) I hadn't seen anything from this Swedish company before, and I've not yet gotten my hands on the yarn (which looks like it comes in a wonderful palette), but I really liked several patterns in this book and thought I could make a few substitutions and try them out.

I purchased a dozen or so colors in Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport weight and starting building a new chart.  I didn't actually change any of the designs, but I did want to try out the colors I had on hand with the pattern as written.  The color palette was quite different, but I think it worked nonetheless. I picked out a few colored pencils that were sort-of-close to the colors of yarn I had on hand and then started swatching.  It took me a few tries to see what colors had the right amount of contrast to be neighbors with others… and then I was off and running.

Charted color scheme

I knit this with US 4 and 5 needles.  And followed the pattern as written for number of stitches and shaping for the 2T size.  I did make a significant change in that I knit this in the round, with a single purl stitch up the left and right sides.  This served as a good marker for me for the beginning of the rounds and pattern check spot.  It also created a pseudo seam up the sides of the garment. I really prefer to do stranded color work in the round; it's so much faster and neater.

At the beginning of both the v-neck and arm holes I cast on 8 stitches for steeking.  I'm a novice steeker  – it still makes me nervous to cut my knitting, but it worked out this time with a little bit of extra effort.  Once the knitting was finished, I crocheted a single chain up both sides of the neck and arm holes to reinforce the steek and then seamed up the shoulder seams.

What happened next was the hiccup. I actually crocheted too close to the cut edge of my steeks and as I was picking up stitches for the arms and neck band some of the steeks started to unravel.  Gulp! I resisted the urge to have a melt down and carefully tightened up the tension of the loose, cut yarn and finished the ribbed hems.  In the time it took me to knit those, I was weighing  my options for "fixing" these unraveling steeks.  I have a serious aversion to putting my knitting anywhere near the sewing machine.  (I have fairly vivid vision of the knitting getting chewed up in the bobbin box.) And I decided that I would pull out my rarely used needle felting kit and see if I couldn't selectively felt those loose bits and save the garment.

Felted steek edges

It's pretty unconventional, in fact I've never heard of anyone needle felting a garment steeks, but I think it worked really, really well.  Because it is also done by hand, I had really good control of where and what was felted.  The yarn responded really well to it, and is more sturdy than before.  And although it is a little bulky… it blocked and dried beautifully. (I actually don't think it is much bulkier than it would have been otherwise.)
Wrong Side View

And at the end of the day, this little dress will hopefully fit the littlest this fall and winter.  I can't wait. Ravelry details here.


  1. It is absolutely gorgeous! I love your solution to your steek problem - so inventive!

    1. Thanks Gail. I'm so relieved it worked… I wasn't excited about the prospect of ripping back.