Baby Raiment

Littlewing live!

Winter Solstice seems like an auspicious day to publish a new pattern—for the shortest of humans on this shortest of days—and to reemerge from blog hibernation, no?


After much tinkering with the geometry, test knitting in all sizes, and a little more tinkering and a whole lot of life getting in the way, the Littlewing vest is now available for purchase! Sized for babies newborn to two years old, this vest uses 150-250 yards of DK-weight wool. I’ve used two yarns from Green Mountain Spinnery—the blue shown above is Mewesic and I did a newborn size for a friend’s baby in New Mexico Organic—and loved the results. But I also did a prototype in YOTH Big Sister


And Martha, mama to this little peach, knit one for her nephew in Brooklyn Tweed Arbor, so really, the options are wide open. If you’ve got worsted weight in your stash that you’d like to substitute, you could probably just knit the next smaller size and come out fine.

My favorite feature of Littlewing is that it’s reversible. For wee ones who can’t sit up or move around much, the front fastening is the easiest way to put it on: just lay the vest out flat, place baby on the back portion, flip the front over her head, and wrap the wings in to button or tie closed. But for inquisitive and coordinated specimens who can’t see a button without wanting to taste it, just flip the vest around and you’ll stymie them completely.


One change I made after the test knitting phase was to add an optional second set of buttons to secure the lower hem. I recommend this modification for the larger sizes. The four-button vest comes out like this:


Littlewing is available for purchase in my Ravelry store. I hope you’ll love this little wardrobe staple for the small folks in your life; I can’t wait to see some out in the wild. (And now, off to cast on two more, because the tiny cousins are landing thick and fast! The good news is that these will be my sixth and seventh iterations, and I’m not sick of knitting this pattern yet. They’re like eating potato chips.)

Chicory grande

ChicoryGrande (3 of 7)

ChicoryGrande (4 of 7)

ChicoryGrande (5 of 7)

A Chicory cardigan for my big girl! It was finished for her birthday in July, but now the weather is finally cooling enough for my hot-blooded child to consent to woolens. I made some modifications to the newborn-size pattern, obviously. Chief among them was to substitute a worsted-weight wool: Sincere Sheep’s wonderful Shepherdess in the colorway “Hester.” Sublime stuff. Highly recommended. With no change to the stitch counts, this gave me a 4/5 size — she’s four, but a stout four. I know many five-year-olds who could comfortably wear this sweater. Secondly, I knit through the first two repetitions of the stitch motif on US #8 needles, then switched to a US #7 for the remainder. For a swingier A-line, I could have continued with the larger needles through three or even four reps. Also, I didn’t block this version as aggressively, and I find I’m in love with the vintage girlish charm of the gathers at the shoulders where that sudden first decrease occurs. I actually worked this element into another pattern I’m looking forward to sharing with you later this autumn…

ChicoryGrande (1 of 7)

Finally, sleeves! Nothing to ’em, really, so I’ve updated the pattern to include simple directions. I did fiddle around and MacGyver a rather fetching split cuff with an i-cord edge for Ada’s sweater. But I decided most people would throw up their hands at this complicated ending to what’s meant to be a breezy knit, so I only added instructions for a plain garter cuff. (Plenty of knitters already can’t be bothered to puzzle through the four rows of sleeve cap finishing. I promise I did try simply working around the sleeve opening in garter for a few ridges and then binding off, but it looked like fish lips and I hated it.) Anyway, if you want a split cuff and can’t feel your way toward it based on these photos, get in touch and I’ll be glad to assist.

If you made it through all that knitterly minutia, your reward is pure four-year-old silliness, with an assist by a small brother and a patient neighborhood cat:

ChicoryGrande (6 of 7)

ChicoryGrande (7 of 7)

ChicoryGrande (2 of 7)

Writing this post before bed, I can hear geese calling as they wing their way through the dark. Fall is coming. I’m so pleased my girl has a sweater that fits.

Chicory update

Happily, I wasn’t alone in thinking Chicory would be good on a bigger girl. Several knitters on Ravelry quickly grabbed the worsted weight and cast on, too. But one of them soon posted that she couldn’t get her left front edge to look neat. The i-cord stitches just wouldn’t tighten up. I knew immediately why; I’d called for slipping the first three stitches with the yarn in front and then knitting. Because the yarn has to travel from the front of the work and then back between the needles to prepare for a knit stitch, it’s necessarily going to leave a little slack. This hadn’t bothered me in the tiny version, but I looked more carefully at my Chicory Grande.

Chickory_edge (1 of 1)

My edge was rolling up just fine; it’s maybe a tad looser than on the other side, but still serviceable. But in the bottom half of the photo you can spot what made me twitch a little: an extra blip of yarn aslant between the edge stitches and the garter next door. In the smaller scale and darker, variegated yarn I used for the first Chicory, it hid in the garter stitch. But here it’s annoying, like a mosquito somewhere in the room when you’re trying to go to sleep. So I fixed it… see how the blip disappears after the first six ridges? That’s because I changed techniques. The pattern now calls for you to slip the last three stitches of every row (with yarn held to the WS) and purl the first three on WS rows. Done and dusted. It’s a tiny detail, really, but as a designer I’m always a bit embarrassed when I find I’ve been sloppy. This is why I hire test knitters to tackle every size of my paid patterns—another knitter, carrying the yarn with a different hold or a different tension, substituting materials, surely would have noticed this trouble brewing and I’ve have made the correction before publishing. Ultimately I want the free patterns to be as perfect, so I’m deeply grateful for field notes from others.

This is all by way of saying you should download the new version of the pattern—make sure your copy is named Chicory1.2—either here on the Free Patterns page or on Ravelry so you can get clean results.

I’m almost done with the body and there’s loads of wool left; stay tuned for sleeves!