Knitted Flax jumper

Finally! After what seems like an age, I’ve cast this little jumper off my WIP list and into being – just in time to get some wear in this final month of winter.

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Mr Mini Wardrobe doing a spot of modelling. He’s styled it with his favourite ‘dogs on the bus T-shirt’ and pull-on denim joggers. I sometimes wish I could have his wardrobe.

[Note: I’ve made the decision not to share identifiable pictures of my son online, so although his face would definitely enhance these pictures, I’ve deliberately cropped it out here.]

It’s a petrol blue colour, which I love, and which my littlest man seems to like too. I wanted to steer clear of the colours you see all over the shops like navy, scarlet and charcoal grey and knit something I couldn’t have bought. The yarn is Rico essentials soft merino aran superwash in colour 025, which is soft, not itchy, just about machine washable and suitably snuggly.

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I like the garter stitch panel detailing that runs across the shoulders and down the sleeves, although he says he prefers the stocking stitch pattern on the body!

The pattern is the (free) Flax sweater from Tin Can Knits in age 4-6, since Mr Mini Wardrobe is a very tall 3 1/2. This is a pattern that gets a LOT of love on Ravelry. Ah Ravelry, how I love perusing the endless possibilities you offer. But how easily I forget that virtually every other member is a more experienced knitter than me… Which is probably why it took me so long to finish this jumper. I chose the pattern because it’s graded ‘easy’, and suggested as an ideal first sweater project, and also because I wanted to have a go at knitting on circular needles. I just neglected to practise anything other than a swatch on circular needles or double-pointed needles (DPNs) first…

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It’s knitted top-down, in the round, and those increases that form a raglan sleeve shape at the shoulders were the fun bit.

Circulars I found OK once I got going, but it took two surgeries with my Mum (who lives 160 miles away!) before I worked out how to use DPNs successfully. And after I’d frogged the first sleeve eight times I couldn’t face doing it for a ninth, so it’s a bit wonky in places. I’m calling it characterful. By the time I got to the second sleeve, something had clicked, so that’s come out much neater and more even. If you’re a fellow beginner, this pattern also includes ssk decreases, kfb increases, 1×1 rib, pick up and knit, a backwards loop cast on, and some fiddling around with stitch markers to keep track of the garter panel.

I blocked it before I took these pictures and the fit is not bad, as you can see. Like his Dad, he has narrow shoulders, so the almost-boat-neck design means it’s a little too wide in that area. I added an inch to the body length to make sure it wouldn’t be too short, and (given how long it took me to knit), I think this was a good idea.

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Now I’ve got the hang of it, I’m tempted to cast on another one straight away for my son in the next size up, and also the version in 4-ply yarn (Flax Light) for me. But realistically, I should probably try a different sweater pattern where the width of the neckline/shoulders wouldn’t be so critical to the fit.

I’ll have a rummage around on Ravelry, of course, but can you recommend any simple sweater knitting patterns I could try next – for children or for adults? And should I ditch DPNs and learn the magic loop method instead?

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Knitted Flax jumper

  1. Looks really lovely (and hand knitting is supposed to have character). I have a plan to make the same jumper for my 3 year old. I like the look of Wallaby and Gathering Stripes for little boys – my Ravelry queue mainly has stuff for my daughter – she is 7 so I can consult with her, whereas the 3 year old boy is more fickle and I don’t fancy knitting to have it rejected .

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    1. Thank you – I’ll take a look at those two patterns. And I know what you mean about fickle – I’ve been worrying the whole time I was knitting this that he would refuse to wear it once I was finished. And I’d love to see your version of Flax if you go ahead with it –preschooler preferences permitting 🙂

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  2. I was hoping you also had a picture of the dogs on the bus t-shirt! I don’t have very many childrens patterns lined up since I don’t have any children or nieces or nephews… or reasonably closely related people who have children! But it must be really nice to knit for children since the garments are slightly smaller… you can theoretically explore more techniques in less time!

    I would look for a cabled sweater pattern next!

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    1. The dogs on the bus T-shirt is awesome, (the bus is even going to Barking!), but sadly I didn’t make it myself. And yes, I am absolutely using my son as a way to try out knitting smaller garments before I invest in a huge amount of time and money in something for me 😀 I’m a bit nervous about cables – do you have any tips for me on what kind to try first?

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      1. The very first cable project I did was an “infinity” scarf in very bulky wool. I think I cast on 3 x 16 stitches and did a braid cable. It was very intuitive because I’m used to braiding hair. Once my second cable project was the wishbone sweater http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/wishbone-2
        I just printed out the charts and put a little arrow next to the row I was currently working, moving it as I progresses, and took it step by step. The cabling turned out fine, the sizing of the sweater did not (it was too small!).
        I guess my biggest tip would be to go for a pattern that has a center cable feature, not an all-over cable pattern so that you can really focus on one thing. And don’t be afraid! My favorite part about knitting is that if it doesn’t turn out right you can always unravel the project and start again!

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      2. Thank you Clemence, this is so helpful. I definitely want to take it easy with cables to begin with – I have visions of tying myself in knots with anything tricky so I’ll take your advice and start with something simple.

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