I Hope You Win

March, 19th, 2015

It’s March 19 which means that the Knits For Boys: Little Men KAL is officially underway! It’s time for me to reveal all the amazing prizes that are up for grabs.  In order to be eligible for prizes, you simply need to post photos in our Ravely knitalong thread & have your project posted on Ravelry tagged LittleMenKAL. The project needs to be from the Knits for Boys book and be linked up to the appropriate pattern. For this knitalong we are keeping it simple, everyone gets one entry as long as you follow the rules.  Also feel free to grab and use this badge for your project!

LittleMenKAL

 

I am really picky about my yarn.  I really put a lot of thought into every yarn choice and that’s why I’m so glad to be able to offer prizes that feature the yarn I used in the book! Leading up the KAL, we had blog giveaways for three projects, Jesse Half-Zip/Anzula, Caden Vest/Madelinetosh & Twisty Crew/Plucky Knitter. Here’s what’s up for grabs now: all prizes include enough yarn to knit any size in the book.

From Skacel, one winner will receive HiKoo Simplicity to make Winston Henley in the colors that I used in the book.

Also from Skacel, one winner will receive HiKoo Kenzie to make the Imagination Sweater in the colors that I used in the book.

From Spud & Chloe, one winner will receive Fine to make Stripy Socks in the colors that I used in the book, along with an adorable happy little project bag. This bag is so cute!

ThreeFineHanks

From Berroco, one winner will receive Vintage to make Comfy Shorts in the color of their choice.

From Lorna’s Laces, one winner will receive Sportmate to make a set of Long John PJs.

From Anzula, one winner will receive Cricket in the colors that I used in the book in order to make the Sunday Best Bowtie & Suspenders.

Also from Anzula, one winner will receive Squishy in the color that I used in the book in order to make Prepster Vest.

From Plucky Knitter, one winner will receive Bulky in the colors that I used in the book in order to make Jake Jacket.

Thank you so much to all of these supportive yarn companies for your generosity!  You have up to 3 weeks to get your project going and join our knitalong.  Winners will be announced on April 9.

Limitations
This contest is limited to US residents.
Each participant may win only one prize package.

Big Brother

March, 18th, 2015

Photography by Kickstand Studio

Last week I blogged about Big Sister…but actually, there was another pattern that came first!  I decide to hold out on Big Brother for a little while just because it has the same audience as my book and there has been so much going on with the upcoming knitalong, etc, and I wanted to give folks a chance to notice a knitting-for-boys pattern the was not part of the new book.  I have been so excited about releasing this pattern though and finally the day arrived!

I have two different samples to show off of this design. The original was the colorblocked version, shown in scrumptious Dream in Color Classy (in Wicked Royal, Grey Tabby, Deep Regret and Malibu Sail) and then, as I was conceptualizing the solid color version of Big Sister, I realized that I should also show Big Brother in solid.  Not only do I really like how it looks in one color, it also makes the project a lot more accessible for knitters that aren’t experienced with working intarsia. More on that later. The solid version is shown in yummy Plucky Knitter Plucky Sweater (in Corduroy).

The construction of this pattern is really fun. I think so at least!  A provisional cast on at the back neck gets things going. Both sides of the collar are worked from this cast on. Once the collar is wide enough, stitches are picked up for the body and the pattern is worked top-down from there all in one piece.  It is seamless and the only finishing required is attaching buttons across from buttonholes and weaving in loose ends.

The trickiest part is remembering to you do your buttonholes.  I was traveling when I was knitting up my first sample and I admit having to tick back a few rows, more than once, because I got distracted and didn’t notice how fast things were going!  I would recommend some kind of row-counting mechanism to help you remember to work the buttonholes. I definitely still think that the perk of not having to pick up and work the buttonband/collar after the fact far outweighs the downside of having to remember to work the buttonholes throughout the project.

Because the buttonband is worked along with the sweater, that means that the colorblocking is done intarsia style. If you’re not experienced with intarsia style knitting, don’t be afraid! I think this is a great project to give a try even for the first time.  The color changes all occur at the exact same place, so once you get going you hardly even have to think about it and you will also have a marker in place to remind you that it is time to change colors. Here is a video from knittinghelp.com on how to change colors when you are working intarsia. All you need to know is in the video.

Aside from the colorwork, the differences between Big Brother and Big Sister are the length and the front closure.  Big Sis isn’t closed at all and therefore has more of a flowy eased look to it.  Big Bro was designed with the same ease but it has a skinny double breasted button closure at the front making it appear more fitted.  Also I admit, Oliver (wearing the solid version) is almost 3 and pretty chunky and doesn’t actually wear a size 2 in anything so… I should have had him in a size 4.  It’s a little snug but still super cute, in my humble opinion.

This pattern includes 7 sizes from Ages 2-14.  The largest two sizes actually overlap with the smallest two sizes of Big Sister.  So, if you have an older-than-14 year old who needs an even larger size, you would be able to use the stitch counts for larger chest sizes in Big Sister along with the row instructions for Big Brother to upsize pretty easily.

I think the color and texture combination in this pattern is both unique and wearable which is definitely what I strive for when I design for boys. The little guy in your life (whether he is a brother or not!) will be stylin’ and profilin’ in this cardigan. Here’s a link to the pattern on Ravelry. And here’s where you can buy it in the Tot Toppers Shop!

Baby Boys Can Wear Pink, too.

March, 12th, 2015

Photography by Erica B Studio + Design

Back in 2010, when I was just starting to really get into my groove, I released a pattern with Petite Purls magazine that has become one of my most beloved designs.  My original blog post explains where Boys Can Wear Pink came from and shows off lots of adorable pictures of my then 2 year old, Jesse.  It’s hard to believe that it has been 5 years since and Jesse is not at all a baby or toddler and instead I have a couple other littles running around.  And almost 200 of these sweaters have been knit & posted on Ravelry!

I have always wanted to do more with this pattern, but when Petite Purls decided to close up shop (a very sad day), it was the push I needed to really go for it. I used Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton yarn for my original sample & because it worked so perfectly, I used it for this new version as well. The sweater obviously had to be PINK, so I went with Peony for a little contrast with BCWP v1.0. More on the tie color choices later.

Next up was adding baby sizes so that my littlest could be the model for the new sample! The original design went from ages 2-12, I added Newborn (6 month, 12 month, 18 month) sizes. Eliot is wearing the 18 months and, as you can see from the shot below, he knows he looks good.

Part of adding baby sizes meant that I needed a way to account for the variation and sometimes disproportionality in wee-one head sizes.  So for the new sizes, I included a button closure on the back of the neckline.  It would really stink to make the whole sweater and then not have it fit over Little Man’s head!  A button really does the trick because you don’t have to worry so much about the tightness of your bound off edge.

Another added option that you’ve surely noticed by now is… long sleeves!  The original pattern provided instructions for short sleeves only. Having seen a few adorable projects where knitters added their own long sleeves, I thought it would be a great option to include for folks who weren’t comfortable doing their own math and shaping.

And the final new feature wasn’t something I had even planned on.  I added stripes to the tie!  Instructions are included in the pattern for this as well.  I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to use the Island Blue (the darker choice) or the Glacier colorway so I got both.  I was still debating as I cast on for the tie and then it was clear to me; both colors needed to go in there and I had always wanted to experiment with some patterning on the embellishment so this was my big chance.  I think it’s perfect and I’m so glad I did it. At the same time, I wouldn’t change a thing about the original sample, would you?

Photo by Sara Parker Photography

 

Hurry, if you cast on soon, you’ll have time to knit one (or two…or as one very motivated instagram follower is going for, three!) of these for Easter Sunday.