After finishing a bunch of big crochet projects, my knitting needles have been calling to me. I had a great time making Julsey’s capelet, and it made me wonder about knitting garments side-to-side.

I read a few patterns, and then, like I do when I’m in the kitchen, I put the books a way, and just followed my instincts. I wanted instant gratification, and also a finished product that someone could use, and I decided the yarn had to come from my stash. I remembered that I had bought a closeout of Classic Elite’s Weekend Cotton on Elann last summer–just three small balls. The yarn is huge. I knit it on size 17 needles and it went very fast–I would never use this yarn for an adult garment, it would just be too heavy, but I liked the result for a baby sweater. I didn’t have enough yarn to make a sweater that would fit Jay, but I think this should fit my nephew who’s only nine months old.

UPDATE: I squeeeezed it onto Jay when he woke up from his nap just to see what it looked like on a real live human.

I really love garter stitch when worked sideways–it has great sort of reverse rib (the bumps stick out and the smooth bits are recessed). It’s stretchy, and of course pretty mindless.

Knitting side-to side isn’t quite as customizable as knitting from the top: you can’t change the sizing as you go, but it’s easy. If you create a schematic before you start, you simply knit to your dimensions. Not a lot of counting. I did the pullover all in one piece. One-piece construction appeals to me, not because I don’t like sewing, but because I like seeing something take shape as I go. I used another sweater I had as a guide, and built my schematic from that.

I made a gauge swatch, measured the arms at the cuff, and cast on the circumference at the cuff. I increased to the widest point (which, with this yarn, was only 2 stitches!) Then I cast on stitches for the front and the back over the next 2 rows. For the shoulder section, I worked the front and the back together, then bound off 3 stitches for the neck hole, put the back on a stitch holder, and worked the front. I did a tiny bit of neck shaping (one stitch on each side) and then put the front on holders and worked the back up to the opposite shoulder. Cast on those 3 neck whole stitches again, join front and back. Work second shoulder. Bind off front, work shoulder, bind off back. Rejoin yarn, work the rest of the sleeves, and that’s it! All you have to sew are the side seams.

I wanted a big neck hole because babies don’t like stretching things over their heads. This cotton is not very stretchy, and doesn’t bounce back, so I added a draw-string at the neck to adjust after the baby’s got it on. The sweater took just over 2 balls of the super-bulky yarn, I may have enough left to make a matching hat.

Speaking of matching hats, one of my middle-school students finished her modular sweater this week. She did a beautiful job. She even designed her own matching hat to go with it. Bravo, Rachel! One of my other middle-schoolers, Lizzie, designed a tie for her science teacher–she just followed the dimensions of one of her dad’s ties, and did it in tight single crochet. It looks amazing. I’ll try and post a picture.

Ever since I started the blog, getting the postal mail has been much more fun. Here’s a “sweet” surprise I got today… It’s a ball of mohair boucle from Be Sweet. I’m going to swatch and hopefully design a cute crocheted top for them. Oh, and I just noticed the scarf I did for them is now available on their web site.