Wonderful Wednesday #3: Buttoned Slipper Socks

October, 15th, 2014

Photography by Kickstand Studio

The first couple weeks had cushy cabley goodness but this week we are moving on to a different kind of comfy! This project is just about as opposite as you can get from the fancy cablework of Eliot Hoodie.

This pattern is worked with super bulky yarn (shown in Rowan Big Wool) and so the slippers knit up super fast.  A perfect project for gift knitting, the season for which we are quickly approaching! The sizing is generous giving them both growing room and also the comfy factor.  Instead of working them with negative ease (meaning, smaller than the recipients foot, typical of most socks), you should aim to knit a size with the foot circumference that is the same or slightly larger than the child.

The toe, heel and cuff feature a textured reverse stockinette stitch pattern.  And the buttons… well, you have to choose the right buttons!  This is one of those projects that is defined by the buttons.  Mine came from a little etsy shop called AskCheese.

These slipper socks are worked in the round from toe to heel, featuring a short-row heel, then they are completed working back and forth to create the opening for the buttonband. Wrap and turn instructions are included for the short rows, so even if you have never done short row shaping before, you should be able to work this pattern.  Aside from the basics, the only other technique used here is i-cord.

Pattern Information
Size: Toddler (Child, Tween)
Finished Measurements
     Foot Circumference: 5.25 (6, 6.75)”
     Foot Length: 6 (7, 9)”
Gauge: 14 sts and 16 rows per 4″ in stockinette stitch
Yarn: 30 (45, 70) yards A, 20 (25, 40) yards B and 15 (20, 30) yards C super-bulky weight yarn
Tools: Set of size 11 (10 mm) DPNs, stitch marker, sewing needle
Notions: 4 (6, 8) extra large buttons and matching thread
Pattern Note: Slippers are sized to be roomy-cozy; foot circumference should be close to actual recipient’s.

2 more patterns await you to round out this Octoberful of WW. If you missed the previous designs, click either of the photos below to read all about them.

Eliot Hoodie

Eliot Hoodie

Luca Slouch

Luca Slouch

Grow-With-Me: a Tot Toppers class

October, 13th, 2014

If you like knitting for babies and children, you may be aware that tots have a tendency to outgrow things.  Its pretty frustrating.  You spend all that time and invest in a quality yarn and then there are only a few months of wearability.  What if there was something you could do about this?  Some way you could manage to eek some more time out?

I didn't knit this to be a belly shirt...
I didn’t knit this to be a belly shirt…

As a mom of four growers, I have been studying this concept for a few years now.  I’ve developed a course to share what I have learned. I’ve taught the class a couple of times already and I promise, the minimal math included is not scary at all. I’ve got tips you can use both while you’re knitting the garment initially and also after the fact.

Your next opportunity to take the course is in just a few weeks at Loop in Philadelphia, PA.  If you’re anywhere nearby, you can read both the meet ‘n greet and class details on the Loop Blog.  I am looking forward to meeting some new Philly knitters who are ready to make some inroads against The Growing Problem!  As a side note, Loop just released a new yarn and I adore the color palette.  I didn’t even have the self control to wait until I could see it in person and had to order a few hanks right away.


If you’re more in my neck of the woods–I’ll also be teaching Grow With Me in Nashville at Stitches South next April.  I have had a booth at many Stitches events in the past but this will be my first time teaching a class there.

If this subject matter interests you but my course locations don’t work for you (at least not yet!), my new book (coming next March) features an entire Grow-With-Me reference section.  You can even pre-order it now.   Lots more details are coming about this book over the next few months, I can’t wait.

Wonderful Wednesday #2: Eliot Hoodie

October, 8th, 2014

Photography by Kickstand Studio

It is the second Wednesday in October which means that all is Wonderful and I have a new pattern to share. Please welcome Eliot Hoodie into the Tot Toppers line.

I like all my patterns. I love almost all of them. But honestly, from the very conception of this design, I was thinking to myself that I might just have a new favorite.

All my boys have had their own namesake patterns. Jesse’s was created very early on for Tot Toppers and I still adore it; Oliver wears it now and its such a great fit for our weather here in SC, which is very mild. Charlie’s became a pretty big hit very quickly and ended up with a spinoff. Oliver’s was two pieces from the very beginning (this and this) and has also gotten a lot of actual wear in our household thanks to the short sleeve options and my die hard love of chevrons. And now here I am, after recently celebrating my sweet baby’s first birthday, posting about the last official namesake design! These boys will of course continue to inspire my designs, it’s just that I’m not going to go crazy with using their names over and over again :)

This design represents more emotion for me than I usually express. If you’ve been around for a couple of years, you may be aware that I experienced a very difficult pregnancy with Eliot which I mentioned here and detailed here. About midway through my pregnancy I was diagnosed with Placenta Accreta and after delivery, it turned out that things had gone a bit further and I actually had Placenta Increta, which is a condition where the placenta attaches to the muscle of the uterus instead of just the uterine lining. This complication necessitated a planned 34 week delivery of little Eliot, a hysterectomy during delivery, 10 units of blood transfusions for me, and about 2 weeks in the NICU for Eliot during which time he had be on CPAP for 8 days and resuscitated once. During my postpartum checkup, my doctor told me that while she was performing the hysterectomy, my uterus crumbled in her hands. I still shiver when I think about that; had I experienced any contractions before they delivered my little boy, it would likely have led to such massive blood loss and trauma that neither of us would be here today.

And here is where I will bring it back to the knitting! This design is complex. It is very different from most of my patterns which I like to describe as “simply adorable” (keyword simply) and they are aimed to work for beginner-intermediate knitters. A few things here and there (like Sweet ‘n Sour Apple Hat, Gramps Cardigan, Morning Coffee) have kicked it up a notch, but Eliot, I think, is really another level. The pattern is designed to challenge the experienced knitter. In the end, should you stay the course and work your way through it, I believe you will output a masterpiece. I was terrified throughout most of my pregnancy, and well into the first month of Eliot’s life, but he was worth all the literal blood, sweat, and tears.

I want to thank Lisa Batton for knitting a second sample of this design for Oliver to show off. He clearly had a lot of fun wearing it, and was a much more cooperative model than Eliot was on this particular day. (I forgot to give E the memo that this was HIS design and he needed to put forth all his efforts!) I can honestly say to you, Lisa, that you helped to take a lot of pressure off of the photo shoot! I am not sure what I would have done that day had I to rely solely on Eliot-the-eater-of-dirt.

You’ll knit this cardigan from the bottom-up and you do need to be comfortable working from multiple charts simultaneously throughout the entire project. The decreases are similar to Gramps in that you will need to continue your cabling pattern as you work them. I suggest crossing your cables before performing your decrease, and I offer a new (free) tutorial for this technique that I published last month. However, this is purely personal preference and as I mention in the video, the real key is consistency in your decreasing method. After you shape the yoke, the hood is worked seamlessly from the neckline up and features continued cabling. Finally, you top the whole thing off with a tassel and there you go.

For now, this design offers sizing from Newborn to age 4. I generally like to go even higher in my sizing, but the complexity of the cable charts involved here just made it obvious to me that everyone would be much better off if the next sizes up were provided in a different pattern entirely. I assure you that older boys WILL, within a few months from now, have their own Eliot Hoodie opportunity, but its not contained within these four pages.

Pattern Information
Finished Chest: 18 (19.75, 20.75, 22.5)(24, 26.25)”
Finished Length: 8 (9.5, 10.75, 12)(13, 14)”
Size: Newborn (6 months, 12 months, 18 months)(2, 4)
Gauge: 20 sts and 32 rows per 4” in stockinette on larger needles; 24-st Chart D Panel measures just under 3.5” on larger needles
Yarn: 320 (420, 500, 600)(720, 850) yards worsted weight yarn
Tools: Size 5 (3.75 mm) and size 6 (4 mm) circular needles and set of 5 DPNs in each size, stitch markers, cable needle
Notions: 4(4, 5, 5)(6, 6) 1” buttons

A couple housekeeping notes: I posted a new incentive in my Ravelry Group yesterday about project and photo sharing. Take a look here and see how you can earn yourself a freebie pattern! Also, the hat KAL is underway in the Knitting for Boys Ravelry group. There is still time to join us and get some hats underway for your crew this fall, or for upcoming holiday gifting. Prizes will be handed out as well.

I hope Wonderful Wednesday #2 suited you, if you missed the first WW release, check it out here. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the brave women I have gotten to know in the past couple of years that are Accreta Survivors or currently in the slow waiting game between diagnosis and delivery. I pray that you all will have the right care in place and the support you need.