Baby Sweater

Posted in FO, handspun, knitting, made with handspun by tchemgrrl on September 20, 2012

I mentioned last week that a Baby Sweater Emergency jumped on me recently. A coworker is going to be a first-time grandmother soon, and I had some yarn I spun up a while ago that I thought would be just perfect for this particular little dude.


The pattern is Paxton (Rav link) in the newborn size. I’ve actually knit this pattern before, when the Toddler was in utero: this seems to be the Year Of Knitting From the Same Pattern More than Once for me. As I did with Hitchhiker, though, I made some changes the second time through. I put cables along the raglan decreases, and then from the underarm to the hem. Not only is it decorative, but I felt like the added density of cables at places where hems usually are would add some stability to the garment.

The yarn is a handspun, chain-plied merino-tencel blend that I apparently never blogged about, being spun in the very early days of the Toddler’s life (mostly in the brief moments he happily laid on his diaper changing table, amazed by his mobile oh my GOD how was he ever that small.)

baby sweater yarn

One interesting thing about the yarn was that I specifically spun it for a baby sweater. I knew from my experience with the other Paxton that a newborn size sweater would use about 4 ounces of DK weight handspun, and that the sleeves would take up a little less than a third of the total fiber. I also knew that the sleeves would be about 1/4 the width of the body. Because I wanted the stripes to be of roughly equal width, I spun the singles for the body from the full width of the dyed top, but split the top destined for the sleeves into 4 equal-sized pieces. The length of each color for the sleeve yarn, therefore, was about 1/4 the width of the length of each color for the body, making the sleeve stripes approximately equal.

This was a fun experiment, and a successful one. (It’s also the one that I thought about when I started working on the rainbow cardigan, and one of the reasons I was thinking about this yarn at the moment I realized that this soon-to-arrive baby was Dangerously Undersweatered.) One thing I didn’t fully account for was that I should have adjusted the length of my chains as I plied to minimize color mixing–you’ll notice that there aren’t as many distinct light areas in the sleeves compared to the body, and that’s because they were so short that they ended up getting mixed with the colors to either side. I’d certainly consider doing this again, and would try to remember to adjust chain length accordingly next time for better matching between sleeves and body.

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  1. […] Here’s another example. I’ll be talking yet more about fiber splitting later and bring this sweater up again, but for now, suffice it to say that my goal was to spin a yarn where the stripes on the sleeves were about the width of the stripes on the body. I wasn’t quite ready to go whole-hog of splitting each smaller piece into equal pieces and getting them to ply together correctly (if memory serves, I started this project while at a fiber festival and wanted to just spin, without a ton of access to scales and laying things out into little baggies and such.) I split the sleeve fiber into narrower pieces because the knitting itself was narrower, I needed less yardage per stripe. And then I just spun and chain plied so that I didn’t need to concern myself with getting a bunch of singles to come out perfectly. […]

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