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Baby Cardi

Sweater Front Close Up

Looking through the library shelves of my local  library, I was Baby in Baby Cardi Sweaterin search of a special knitting pattern to make for my nephew, a recent addition to our family. A yellow book jumped out to me, Wee Garter Stitch: Must-Have Knits for Modern Babies & Toddlers by Vicki Howell. The book featured a cheerful little girl on the front and it seemed that most the patterns would work up quickly, as they were all in garter stitch! I added it to my pile of books to check out and headed home. After reading through the patterns offered in the book, I narrowed my choice down and decided that the Baby Cable Cardi would be perfect!

Sometimes I think knitters are so passionate about finding the perfect fiber for a project, they forget about who is using the end result. In this case, I was knitting something for my 7 month old nephew. His mom is a busy lady, as she’s chasing after three small humans under the age of 5. I wanted to choose a yarn that would be easy for her to care for and soft enough for the baby to cuddle up with and would keep him warm. I chose an acrylic yarn from my stash- Red Heart Supersaver Fleck in Buff. While not super luxurious, it would stand the abuse of a washing machine so my nephew could get many uses from the sweater, keep him warm and his mom didn’t need to treat the sweater differently from the other laundry she was already working on.

The pattern is condensed onto two pages of pattern instructions and an extra page of photography. This yarn was perfect for a durable baby sweater!

Once all the decisions were made, I got out my knitting needles and started the gague swatch. Not sure how it happened, but my little swatch was much taller than what the pattern called for, but the width was perfect. What to do… I decided to risk it and cast on for the sweater.

This particular pattern is worked top down. The ribbing along the collar it worked first then transitions to the body of the sweater. Stitch markers are placed and the shoulders, chest and back are shaped using yarn over increases in relation to markers. This adds an eyelet detail to the raglan shaping which has a nice touch in the beginning, however this detail is not carried through the entire sleeve shaping and ends abruptly. Next time I make this sweater, I will be using M1 increases instead of yarn overs. Given the weight of the yarn, the eyelit detail created using the yarn over method are large enough for small fingers to pop through when the baby is being dressed. This is also the same method used to create button holes on the ribbing during the finishing stage of the project. Once the project was complete, I had wished I used a different technique.

The cable detail runs along the button band and button hole bands and is on a garter stitch

This cable detail reads more like a texture and less like a cable. If you look closely, you can see one of my mistakes in this shot!

background. The cable running along the front panels of the cardigan seemed to be a fun detail, but felt more like a nice texture. I probably wouldn’t change how the cable is handled when creating the next one, but next time I’ll be sure to have the same number of stitches between the cable detail and the button/button hole bands! (Whoops!!) How I didn’t realize that mistake until the sweater was half way done is beyond me!

One thing that drove me crazy with this pattern was how future rows were handled. The pattern specifies the beginning of and tells you to continue for 8 rows more. This was confusing. I literally had to write out the cable pattern and how many stitches there would be after the row was complete and noted where the increases fell to ensure I was following the pattern correctly. It also drives me banannas when a pattern states to work a sleeve (or other piece that needs to be exactly symmetrical to something else) to a given dimension. Assuming your gauge is accurate, this theoretically shouldn’t be an issue, however I like certainty. So I counted how many works I worked the sleeves to ensure they were exactly the same. This is literally just a pet peeve of mine personally, Vicki didn’t do anything wrong.

The pattern overall was a bit fiddly. There was a huge mental component to counting rows, checking repeats and trying to decipher the pattern every time a new section began. I’d recommend this pattern for more seasoned knitters, if you’re a beginner, steer clear of this pattern and try some of the others in the book.

Regardless of the difficulties, my sister in law opened the box and thought that the sweater was purchased. Maybe it was the squirmmy seven month old in her lap, maybe it was all the excitement from the day, but I consider that a success!

If you’d like to pick up a copy of Wee Garter Stitch: Must-Have Knits for Modern Babies & Toddlers check out Amazon or your local library!

Seasonal Knitting

Organized Yarn

I never really understood seasonally knitting and crocheting, that is until this past summer… Many knitters and crocheters trade their crochet hooks and knitting needles for gardening or other warm weather activities. This was always a mystery to me, until I accidentally did the same this past summer! For some it’s a conscious choice, for others, like me it just happens. This summer flew by and was nice and hot as far as Chicago summers go. I knitted until the end of May and then got caught up in all kinds of other activities. Nights were spent out with friends and weekends were spent running in preparation for a race. Now that the summer is winding down, it’s time to get back on track!

Here are some great ways to get back into the knitting groove!

Make a list

If you’re like me, you have a mental list of all the people you’d like to make Christmas presents for or projects that you’d like to make. That list will be much easier to conquer if you write it down, check it twice and start figuring out what you’re making for whom. Once the list becomes tangible, it’s easy to evaluate if you’ve bit off more than you can chew and help prioritize and set timeline benchmarks for all your projects! I especially love making my list in Google Sheets or Excel because I can make columns for the yarn I’m using, assign due dates of when I need each project completed by, note the project and pattern I’m using, the possibilities are really endless! If you’re not into Excel and don’t want to create your own sheet, then use Ravelry’s favorites option or add the projects to your Revelry queue.

Get Organized

Organized Yarn Stash

Grouping like yarn weights and colors together helps to locate yarn quickly!

Notice how sometimes knitting needles and yarn seem to find their way into odd pockets of the house? Or how an impulse purchase never quite made it to your Revelry stash list? Now is the time! It’s so easy to get inspired by your yarn collection and think up amazing projects for each skein in your collection (AKA stash.) Winding down the summer I’ve been reorganizing my yarn stash and getting everything uploaded to Revelry. With the exception of odd bits that I picked up at a thrift store, it’s making pattern searching and shopping so much easier already. I’ve been dreaming up wonderful projects, trying to creatively mix and match various yarns in my collection and also determining what needs to get purged so I can make more room for beautiful fibers. If you have knitting needles strewn about, it’s time to get them organized as well, figure out if you have all the tools for the projects on your list and get your knitting books and magazines organized and in one place.


Cascade 220

Part of the fun of knitting is visiting the local yarn store!

Now that your list is made and you’re fully organized, the next step in getting back into the knitting groove is to go shopping to fill in any gaps. While it’s good practice to pair as much yarn from your stash with your project list, sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. This time you’re shopping with a purpose and if you plan strategically, you can support your local yarn store when they have specials going on, take advantage of clearance options and coupons at chain or online stores. I also like to take advantage of any local yarn store offerings when traveling. It’s so much fun to pick up a locally made yarn and tell the story to the recipient of the gift.

Bernat Pipsqueak Yarn Review

Bernat Pipsqueak 2
The promise of huge yarn sales led me to the yarn aisle at my favorite craft store. Browsing for something special, and suitable for a baby boy, I paced the aisles several times. The feel test was well underway and I was wishing for knitted or crocheted swatches of a couple of my favs. Pipsqueak was soft and mushy and it was clear that it would remain cloud like even after the blanket was made. So after checking out the free patten on the yarn band, I tossed three huge skeins of the yarn into my basket and headed for the checkout counter. So how did Pipsqueak perform?

The drape on Pipsqueak is amazing! This baby blanket is worked up in double crochet rows.

The drape on Pipsqueak is amazing! This baby blanket is worked up in double crochet rows.

The yarn has an amazingly soft texture. The yarn is fuzzy and also has a great drape once a piece of fabric is worked up. Pipsqueak is easy to hold and the fibers don’t dry out your skin like other yarns do when working with them.

While working with bulky weight yarn typically means that the project will go fast, in this case, extra care is needed to find the stitches during a crochet project. My eyes had to stay on my project as opposed to watching TV and feeling my way through with just a few glances down. Using my fingers, it was necessary to find the next stitch, often stretching the fabric slightly to locate where to insert the crochet hook. Here’s a video demonstrating what crocheting with Pipsqueak is like!

So is Bernat Pipsqueak easier to knit with? Yes! Very much so! Knitting with Pipsqueak was much less laborious than crocheting. The stitches are easier to locate when working on knitting needles, the only thing that I had to watch out for was accidentally grabbing the stitch in the row below, but if/when that happened, the mistake was easy to catch and correct before moving forward. Want to see what I mean?

Stitch definition is low with Bernat’s Pipsqeak. The fabric turns into a soft cloud where all the stitches disappear. I especially liked how I was able to use a double crochet stitch with a larger than recommended hook size to achieve a soft and flowy blanket in a fraction of the time it would take with another bulky weight yarn.

Skeins are available in 150gm or 200 gm for endless color and pattern mixing.

Skeins are available in 100gm or 200 gm for endless color and pattern mixing.

Overall Pipsqueak was fun to work with and a great value. Bernat offers skeins in two different sizes, 100g and 250g, so mixing and matching the various colors within a project is easy and economical. My only disappointment was that I was looking for a light grey color to match a baby nursery and that color isn’t available despite how popular it is in today’s modern home decor. That aside, this yarn is great and I’d highly recommend it!

This yarn is good for:

  • Blankets
  • Scarves
  • Small Toys
  • Accents/ Embellishments

Avoid using this yarn for:

  • Tight gauge projects

Technical Details:

Weight: Bulky

Recommended Knitting Needle: 5.5 mm, US size 9

Recommended Crochet Hook: 5.5 mm, US I/9

Care Instructions: Machine Washable and Dryable

Favorite Knitting Bags

Favorite Knitting Bag

There are many variations of knitting bags out in the marketplace. Who know there were so many different ways to store and transport our yarn and materials?! Before I became a knitter, my WIPs (work in progress) used to get tossed around my home carelessly. Stitches sometimes came undone, but it was no big deal to add a couple double crochets to finish up a row that had partially become unraveled. Then I entered the world of knitting. It was scary to think that a stitch or even series of stitches could fall off my needle and cause lots of lost time or even ruin a beautiful sweater that’s in progress. Clearly I needed a safe harbor. Tossing a knitting WIP to the side just wasn’t going to cut it.

I began researching (does that make me a knitting nerd?!) what kinds of options were out there. The first thing I realized was how important needle tip protectors are. So a bought a package of those, but this still didn’t solve all my issues. I needed a place where my WIP, yarn and tools would be safe and sound (and not attacked by my dog or cats. What did I land on? I found two perfect bags that fit the bill.

The Art Bin project bag is perfect for heavy duty project protecting!

The Art Bin Drum project bag is perfect for heavy duty project protecting!

My almost all time favorite project bag is this spiffy find! The Art Bin Drum is big enough to hold several skeins/hanks/cakes of yarn, set of knitting needles, Knit-Chek, knitting point protectors, yarn needle, crochet hook (for emergency fixes) and even comes with a small pouch for items that easily get lost in the shuffle.

I can usually get a couple of projects in this bag at one time

and love the adjustable shoulder strap and how you can feed your yarn through the top of the bag when working. The handle on the top is also sturdy and makes picking up the bag and hauling it up and down stairs a breeze. This bag is best for work at home projects, and not the best for travel, especially air travel.

This lightweight bag is perfect for travel and keeping knitting safe!

This lightweight bag is perfect for travel and keeping knitting safe!

When I was in Italy, I bought a beautiful leather purse. Later I realized that these purses were also available in the US, but I digress. Inside my new purse was a small envelope of nylon that held a folded up bag that expanded to a medium-sized bag. This has become my favorite knitting bag of all time. There are absolutely no frills on this thin bag. You can see the lumps and bumps of my projects contorting the bag into weird shapes, but it’s the perfect solution for travel, keeping a project safe and for working on a WIP around the house. This bag, thin as it is, also kept a knitting project safe from a dog attack! (Of course not my dog, another dog wanted to get his knitting fix in, but was unsuccessful.) Although I had to buy a leather purse in Italy to get my cheap nylon bag, you don’t! Here is a similar bag on Amazon that will fit the bill.

Crochet Piglet Booties

Piglet Booties

Looking for the perfect baby gift for a friend, I looked to Pinterest for inspiration. Having pinned loads of knitting and crochet goodies in the past, I went through my past pins for inspiration. There it was, the cutest little pink piglet baby booties! Enthusiastically gathering my supplies and starting to crocheting away, I realized that the pattern on my board was rubbish. Back to the drawing board.

With a little searching, I found a sweet little baby boot pattern on Red Heart’s web site. The boots weren’t exactly what I was looking for, but with a little modification, it could be just the right fit! I also swapped the yarn I was planning to use for Red Heart Super Saver that was in my stash. Red Heart yarn is great for baby and children’s projects because it’s so easy to care for. In the washing machine it goes!

Realizing that I’d need to make serious modifications, I thought about slippers I’ve made over the years and other baby booties that I’ve created and got to work.

Thankfully, the Warm Baby Boots pattern was the perfect base for my Piglet Booties. Following the instructions through round 6 gave me the perfect base to add ears, snout and eyes.

If you’re interested in the original pattern, you can check it out here. It’s really great and offers more coverage than the Piglet Booties below.

To make the Piglet Booties, grab your supplies and get crocheting!


Piglet Booties Too

Worsted Weight Yarn (Red Heart Super Saver shown)

6-9mm Safety eyes or buttons

Size H Crochet Hook


Red Heart Warm Baby Boots Pattern, make through Round 6:

Bootie (make 2)

Ch 9

Round 1: Work 2 dc in 3rd ch from hook, dc in next 5 ch, 6 dc in last ch, turn to work along opposite side of beginning ch, dc in next 5 ch, 3 dc in last ch, slip st in top of beginning ch to join. – 22sts

Round 2: Ch 2, hdc in same st as slip st, 2 hdc in each of next 2 dc, hdc in next 5 dc, 2 hdc in each of next 6 dc, hdc in next 5 dc, 2 hdc in each of next 3 dc, slip st in top of beginning ch to join. – 34sts.

Round 3: Ch 2, hdc through back loop in each st around, slip st to top of beginning ch to join. – 34sts

Round 4: Ch 2, hdc in next 8 sts, [dc2tog] 8 times, hdc in next 9 sts, slip st to top of beginning ch to join. – 26sts

Round 5: Ch 2, hdc in next 8 sts, [dc2tog] 4 times, hdc in next 9 sts, slip st to top of beginning ch to join. – 22sts

Round 6: Ch 2, hdc in next 8 sts, [dc2tog] 2 times, hdc in next 9 sts, slip st to top of beginning ch to join. – 20sts

Begin boot modifications:

Round 7: slip stitch along the top of the bootie

Snout: (make 2)

Set-up: Using the magic loop method, single crochet 6 stitches into the loop and pull tight. Join with a slip stitch, chain 1.

Round 1: 2 dc in each stitch, slip stitch

Ears: (make 4)

Ch 2.

In second chain from hook: sc, hdc, dc, ch 2, dc, hdc, sc

Fasten off


Sew the snout onto the middle front of the bootie.

Place safety eyes or sew in buttons.

Sew ears in place.