Wednesday, 17 March 2010

childhood remade

If only it were that simple!

The Vital Statistics
Childhood Remake Sweater by Anna and Heidi Pickles, available free!
The free pattern is only for the one-year size but three- and four-year sizes are avaialble in their shop, but umm, buyer beware as I will detail below.
The pattern is written for a dk-weight yarn held double and a dk-weight handspun yarn held double. I used a worsted weight - Pingouin Fleur de Laine, colourway 6 - which gave me the desired gauge (17sts per 10cm) and some recycled yarn from a J Crew aran-style knit.
Needles: 4.5mm for the ribbing and cuffs, 5mm for the body and sleeves.
Start to finish:
3 March to 15 March 2010, a quick knit.
Stash/recycle content: 100 per cent - hooray! I received the Fleur de Laine at a stash swap and the recycled J Crew was purchased at Ballard Goodwill and already in the cupboard.
This pattern is available for free and I feel a bit uncertain about criticising something that has been made freely available. Nevertheless, there are some problems with the pattern that someone considering making it may like to be aware of in advance before they invest their time and yarn. I have also taken the time to let the company know about my concerns, so this is not just idle griping!

So, the pattern is not very well written and the construction of the garment is poorly thought out. The sweater is a T-shape with no fashioning and the sleeves and body are knit all in one. It is similar in this sense to a number of baby kimono patterns which are knit in one piece (such as this Lion Brand one). The pattern here calls for the body to be knit in the round and to then divide for the front and back, then kitchener stitch together 50 stitches for each arm (eek!). I didn't do this: I knit it flat (just because I felt like it) and did a three-needle bind off on the top of the sleeves - it's absolutely invisible. I also chose a provisional cast on for the sleeves and so did a three-needle bind off there too. But, why not just knit it flat, all in one piece and seam only the sides and sleeves? A lot less work than grafting two sleeves.

My other issue was with the front placket which is knit in the solid main colour, contrasting with the yoke and sleeves. The pattern calls for this to be knit using the intarsia method, which I did, which I shouldn't have. This was the first time I had ever done intarsia colour work, so pushing my boundaries a bit here. But I didn't even need to - I think that it would make far more sense to leave eight stitches live at the centre front and to simply knit the placket and then seam it to the yoke. The method in the pattern is also very difficult to work in combination with garter stitch stripes, I ended up working with three threads at one point, two of which were the same colour ... Didn't go too badly for a first attempt but was of course much better by the end.

There are also a couple of omissions in the pattern, namely what to do with the 10 stitches that you cast on for where the placket overlaps (not sure why 10 anyway). I actually just picked up eight sts from the back of the placket and knitted on those.

Verdict: This is indeed a very cute pattern but I'm not sure that I like the balance of the stocking stitch body and garter stitch yoke/sleeves in the finished product. I'm not sure what the pattern for the larger sizes is like but I would not have been happy if I had paid for this one (and I didn't so that's fine) - I don't think that the construction is very well thought out and is needlessly more complex than it should be. There may be some Norwegian knitting tradition significance to knitting it in the round but my recommendations would certainly be to knit it flat in one piece and knit the placket separately. I do like my finished product though and am looking forward to seeing my little boy in it next winter.


Soxblues said...

I love this pullover, was looking through your blog to find it. I love your blog.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say thank you Amelia for giving an alternative method to make this pullover, I also find the original method unnecessarily complicated and instructions, with this and other patterns from Pickles, rather confusing and difficult to understand, and accordingly to other knitter's comments we are not the only ones. I am not an experienced knitter so clear instructions are essential to build my confidence I find your method much more logical and much easier to work with, Best regards and keep up the good work, Francesca from London