|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.