Wonderful Wallaby – Pattern Review

Image 4I taught the Wonderful Wallaby pattern by Carol A. Anderson as part of the classes that I offered at the Yarn Nook in Lafayette, LA earlier this month. This pattern is so great that I want to make one for myself (and so did the owners of the Yarn Nook … another uniform piece?)

The pattern reads a bit like a story and has cute illustrations. I had a bit of difficulty finding the place in the pattern booklet where they told me what I needed to get gauge and others did, too. But it is there. You may have to “hunt” a little. Once you’ve gotten your gauge swatch knitted and are set to begin, the pattern is clearly written and well written. I have had no difficulty following most of it. I did do and re-do the part where you pick up stitches at the bottom of the “pouch”/pocket. If I had actually READ the pattern, however, it would have been done properly the first time!

I decided to add a bit of a different yarn to my sweater (I knitted the smallest size, a 2T) and make the pocket/”pouch” a different color and I also started the sleeve ribbing in the coordinating yarn. Once done with the body of the sweater, I also decided to use the coordinating yarn for the collar ribbing and on the 5 stitches that border the hood. I wish I had added the coordinating yarn at the first row of the neck stitches in the yoke. (For the children’s sweater, this direction is on page nine at the bottom.) I’d have begun the coordinating color yarn at the place where you purl the ten center stitches between the markers on the front of the sweater.

Students who took this class made good progress and each sweater was very unique. One student was making a green sweater with a pink pouch. Another was making a baby blue sweater with blue and pink stripes on the pouch. They were all cute! One poster on my Facebook pages said that this was her favorite children’s sweater pattern ever. I might be willing to agree with her after knitting this pattern.

The yarns that I used were Berroco Comfort Solid in a beige color (3 skeins for my size) and Classic Elite’s Liberty Wool in a beige/lavender/grey/green colorway. I love knitting with both yarns on this sweater. The Berroco yarn is not too heavy and is washable. It’s worsted weight and not too “splitty” (my pet peeve for yarn!) I think for a child’s sweater, it has to be washable … what mom wants to wash their child’s sweaters by hand? As with all knitted items, I’d suggest drying it flat. Liberty Wool is a soft wool yarn and I love the colorways. I wanted to take home a couple of balls of each just to play with. This yarn is a looser wrap and can split so be careful knitting with it but you’ll love the way it feels. And the way it looks, too!

I am totally pleased with my Wonderful Wallaby and will be sending it on to a very special little girl in our family … she’s going to have a bunch of hand-knit sweaters from her auntie when she is a little bit bigger! Her collection keeps growing … because I keep finding sweet little patterns to knit for her! I have another project all lined up for when I finish one or two!

You can purchase the pattern at your LYS (local yarn shop) or online at Amazon.com or Cottage Creations. You can also call Cottage Creations at 641-324-1280. The pattern is around $7.00 … a great deal considering you get from size (child) 2-T through an adult XXL or “super size”! Trust me, you’re going to want to knit one of these for every member of your family! And don’t forget to check out the different styles and colors that have already been knitted on Ravelry!

Gone Knitting!

 

Big Brother’s Slippers

When I was in Louisiana visiting my brother and sister-in-law (I really would rather call her my sister but then that would be confusing), I was asked to help with a knitting project. Kathy had tried to knit a pair of slip-on felted slippers for my brother and kept having a problem. With the cooler weather coming soon (all of us in the south can’t wait for cooler weather in the fall and we’re typically the last to get it!) she didn’t feel like she had the energy or inclination to attempt to learn it and so I picked up her yarn and needles and attacked the project.

Slippers in Process

I have to say, it was a very odd construction method but the finished slippers looked fantastic! The pattern is one that I’ve seen a million times but had never knitted before. It’s Fiber Trends Felt Clogs (designed by Bev Galeskas). It was knitted in a worsted weight wool (I can’t remember what brand it was) doubled throughout the pattern. Kathy had chosen black for the sole and a charcoal gray for the top of the clog. *If you’re a new knitter, this pattern is do-able BUT do not use black! It’s so hard to see the stitches! I’d suggest using two very contrast-y colors! At least the first time!

If you are careful to follow the pattern instructions as they are written, you’ll have a really lovely and warm pair of slippers after felting!

Felting tips –

Put the slippers into a zippered pillow case so that little bits of wool don’t gum up your washing machine. I say this from experience, folks! I’ve paid the repair man to come to fix my machine TWICE!

Washer setting should be hot water cycle. You can add extra hot water by boiling it on your stovetop and adding to the washer. The hotter the water, the quicker the felting will happen. That said, WATCH your slippers carefully … check every ten minutes! It would be very sad if you felted the slippers too much and they’re now too small! You can always felt slippers a bit more to make them smaller but you can’t make them bigger.

Put 3 or 4 pairs of old blue jeans into the washer with your slippers to help them felt better (more evenly and more quickly).

You can use rubber gloves to fish for the slippers in the hot water when you’re checking.

I would also suggest that you wring the slippers instead of letting them go through a spin cycle because sometimes felted garments keep their creases caused by spinning! I like to roll my wet wool items in a towel and step on them to get out the extra water. Then shape with my hands and sit on another towel to dry. If you’re lucky to live in a cool, dry, sunny place, put your wet slippers outside in the sun!

I did knit the double sole for my big brother’s slippers and Kathy is going to add a leather sole, too so that Rick can go outside with his slippers. They turned out really well and I am so happy that I could help my family stay warm this winter!

Finished!

I am looking forward to knitting these again! I have so much great yarn in my stash that will felt well … maybe Christmas gifts?

Gone knitting!

 

My Maine LYS

In Maine, the yarn scene is so much richer than in Central Florida. There are all sorts of fiber farms, most of which spin their own fibers. Many of whom sell at local yarn shops. My LYS when I’m here is the Yardgoods Center in Waterville.

The Yardgoods Center has been in business for more than sixty years. Before Joyce and her brother owned it, their father was the proprietor. Half of the store is wall-to-wall fabrics, a sewer’s paradise. The other half (and where I spend my time) is yarn (and a little bit of stamping.)

Yardgoods Center offers classes almost every day that it’s open … and more than one class on some days. They are open six days a week – Sunday is their day of rest. They have a huge selection of yarns and should be able to please just about anybody. From the relatively inexpensive yarns to the very expensive … beads, notions, needles. It’s pretty amazing! They have a big wall of sock yarns, novelty yarns, and always several bins of sale yarns that are at least twenty percent off. If you take a class, you enjoy a ten percent discount on anything that you buy (a good time to plan your next project!)

I’ve attended a class on Wednesday nights for several years. I have also attended once on Tuesday night (when I thought it was Wednesday – no wonder I didn’t know a soul!) and just took a class on Friday afternoon. The teachers and students are friendly and you can get help with any project … or the teacher will suggest one for you.

The only “weakness” that I can find is that their technology is not always up to date. Blog is currently stalled since February. When you click on the classes link, no classes are listed. Facebook is seldom updated … at least from the yarn side. Maybe they can hire me to do that for them!?

If you’re ever in Waterville, I highly recommend the Yardgoods Center.

Yardgoods Center, Downtown Concourse, Waterville, Maine

Monday through Saturday 9:30am to 6:00pm

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