Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Disgruntled Lamb

The first of three May baby projects was completed on schedule (though the recipient arrived two weeks early). The other two May babies were obliging enough to come late, but I'm still not done with their knits. Teach them to be accommodating.

For Leo the Early, I knit the Sheep Yoke Baby Cardigan by Jennifer Little of Looking Glass Knits (free Ravelry download). I'm pleased Leo turned out to be a boy, even if he was two weeks early - I chose unisex colors, but the sweater is better for a boy than a girl, conventionally speaking (and please don't revoke my third-wave feminist badge for saying so).

I hate to say it, but I'm ambivalent about both the pattern and the product. I knit it in the 6 month size and in retrospect, perhaps the 9 month size would have been smarter. That was my fault. I also wish that I had opted for a darker green, but there wasn't a good option available in the Rowan Wool Cotton; I think this makes the lambs look a little washed out.

The pattern calls for duplicate stitch for the lamb heads and legs and between that and how far between lambs the white yarn has to be carried, it's nearly impossible to finish the inside satisfactorily. Sure, the lambs are cute on the outside, but it just torments me to think of their dark, twisted innards. I could have opted to do the lambs in intarsia rather than fair isle, but I wasn't confident about my ability to twist the yarn properly to avoid unsightly holes, and the pattern itself called for fair isle with duplicate stitch.

Additionally, there is no relationship between the duplicate stitch chart for the lamb heads and legs and the photos of the sweater provided in the pattern itself, so I had to disregard the chart and figure out a way to stitch the cute lamb heads. If you go to Ravelry and look at other versions of this sweater, you'll see what I mean - lots of sheep that look like they've spent a little too much time grazing in the pastures of Chernobyl. My attempts at non-mutant sheep came out pretty well, I think:

The pattern's color chart for the yoke of the sweater won't print clearly on a black and white printer, so without easy access to a color printer, the yoke of the sweater must be knit within range of the computer. Even reading from the computer screen, the image quality of the schematic was also extremely poor, making it more or less impossible to read the row numbers (and I have better than 20/20 vision - I could have been a fighter pilot if it weren't for the math thing. Or, come to think of it, the girl thing).

The pattern also calls for evenly spaced increases in the green part of the yoke sweater, but it leaves it to the knitter to do the counting necessary to ensure even distribution without also providing proper increased stitch count after each row. Without the final stitch count, it takes some math to figure out the best way to place the increases. I also think I lost my (useless black and white) copy of the pattern, so I don't have those row count numbers anymore, either.

But anyway, it's done and given and I never have to knit it again. Todd absolutely loved it, though, so I might consider knitting our baby a fall hat that incorporates the sheep motif. Or maybe I will just try to finish the baby blanket by October, since even I don't think I'll have it done by the end of July at this point.


Abbeykins said...

Thanks for the heads up about that pattern. I am thinking of making it for a nephew, but with that outlook, maybe not. Even IF I do have access to a color printer. It is sickeningly cute and tempting though!

End of July? 8 weeks about? Woah...

My friend whom we had a baby shower for her yesterday is due at the beginning of July, the 4th to be exact! BABIES EVERYWHERE!

tara said...

I really like it! I think I would have done a different color for the main part of the sweater and I agree with the pale green. I'm getting a bunch of practice with colorwork, and find that wool is better than cotton for laying correctly.