Looking through the library shelves of my local library, I was in 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.
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
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!