Babies first, then snakes!

Pattern: Baby Sweater on Two Needles (February), from Elizabeth Zimmermann‘s Knitter’s Almanac

Yarn used: 2 skeins Nashua Cilantro in Geranium, snagged for $5 a skein from the bargain bin at Uncommon Threads

Needles used: US size 9/5.5 mm

Started: December 5, 2007

Finished: Knitting finished December 8, 2007; ends woven in and snaps attached December 12, 2007

Size: All measurements taken pre-blocking: 8.5″ long from neck to hem, 22″ chest, armholes approx. 7.5″ around, garter yoke approximately 3″ long, yoke worked to length of 5″ before separating sleeves from body

Mods: I ran out of yarn, so I knit the body first, noticed I was running short, and knit only 3 garter ridges before binding off (the pattern calls for 1″ of garter stitch at the border). I bound off the sleeves immediately, rather than knitting sleeves, due to the extreme yarn shortage, so it has cap sleeves rather than long ones–I toyed with the idea of getting another skein of Cilantro mail-order, but decided that this wasn’t going to be worn for warmth anyway, so the short sleeves would be OK.

I also used 4 pearl snaps in the yoke rather than buttons, for fear that the recipient would tear off sewn buttons and eat them. Hopefully the snaps will stay put. They had to be applied with a hammer! I have never hammered a knitted object before, and it was kind of fun.

(When I was going through my button box to find the snaps, I found these sushi buttons I bought from Reprodepot and realized they would have been adorable on this sweater! If only they made sushi snaps.)

Notes: This sweater is so adorable I can’t stand it. I want to make a giant baby sweater (as unappealing as that name sounds) for myself sometime.

Edited because in my hurry to get out of the house to see The Golden Compass (it was OK, but how could they have left out that vital last scene from the book?), I forgot to add my notes about the pattern and the yarn.

The pattern, though pithy, shouldn’t cause anyone any great distress if they understand the basic concept of a top-down sweater. The only puzzling thing was the “pick up 4×7 stitches” instruction. Apparently, this just means to pick up 7 stitches 4 times–14 stitches under each arm.

Stitch markers can be easily employed with the gull stitch pattern, and I recommend it. After knitting across the entire body of the sweater only to find my stitch count was off at the very end of the row, I put in a marker at every repeat and found the going much easier. The only problem was that I used rubber bands, and they have a maddening tendency to get stuck to the needle or cable and slide under the stitches. I clearly need to invest in some more “real” stitch markers.

The yarn, a matte cotton-acrylic blend, was a dream to work with–thick, round, bouncy,  with great stitch definition, and stretchy beyond the point of Rowan Calmer and into bungee cord territory. You can see that the stretchiness exacerbated some tension issues in my garter stitch, but I don’t care–I’d definitely work with it again.

The light these days is not so great, so the red didn’t come out very true in my photos. It’s a bright cheerful red. The last picture is probably the best.

Here is the sweater, fetchingly modeled on my balcony by a bottle of laundry detergent.

My cousin is adopting a one-year-old baby girl from China in the next month or so, so I’m sending the sweater along with the rest of the Christmas presents for the family. Hopefully it will fit the recipient at least as well as it fits the laundry detergent. I don’t know much about babies, but the CYC seems to think it should fit a size 2 baby, whatever that means. She’s small for her age, so I’m hoping she is size 2 or smaller.

Anyway–I have another Kureopatora’s Snake completed! This one will go to my dad for Christmas. I’ll do another photoshoot with the snake scarf modeled before I send it off–just wanted to put up a few pictures in the meantime. As I predicted, fewer colors work best in this pattern. Last time, I used Plymouth Boku in mixed reds and there were just too many colors in it–this time, I used Patons SWS in Natural Slate, and couldn’t be happier with the results. Look at how gorgeous and elegant this is! I totally love it.

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