Started: April 2007
Finished: May 2007 (So really there is time still!)


Using several favorite patterns together can make a very special gift that matches.  This sweater, booties and beret set were all knitted from KnitPicks Bare Lace Weight Yarn and navajo-plied so it was thick enough to knit with. (What was I thinking?  Buying yarn thread-thin?  I must have been crazy!)  Before plying I dyed the yarn using Grape Kool Aid for a nice subtle purpley-gray. Alternately, you could just start with a yarn that is the proper size/color to begin with (or, hand spun yarn is always good).

I used Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Sweater on Two Needles, from Knitter's Almanac.  Elizabeth's pattern can be used with almost any weight yarn, so fingering to worsted would be just about right.


For the booties, I was inspired by a pattern in Vogue on the Go, Baby Knits 2, so I set the leg section up to match the 7 stitch repeat used in the sweater.  I think most bootie patterns could be easily altered in this manner to match a sweater such as this one, or even another, for a layette that is unique and beautiful.  Of course any small repeat could easily be used for a whole new pattern!


Finally I also made a matching beret, using the same 7 stitch repeat, and my top down hat method .

For more precise instructions using this method, Susan Pierce Lawrence in an excellent pattern that can be purchased for only $3 US here ...

This was a great project, and everyone loves baby patterns, hopefully you will know a baby you can knit this beautiful set for.


Another way to make a handmade gift fast is to pair it with a purchased sweater or  garment.  When pressed for time, we knitters can feel bad about giving a purchased gift.  Why not personalize the gift with a matching hand knit hat?  

This hat was knit in Bunny Hop by Crystal Palace Yarns.  It is 50% Micro acrylic, 42% micronylon, and 8% angora, and it is the "perfect" baby yarn.  Soft, soft and softer!  The label recommended a size 7 - 8 US needle, but I preferred a tighter gauge, and used a size 4, and I think I might have done even better to use a size 3.  

The great thing about top down hats, is it doesn't matter what weight yarn you have!  Just find a yarn that matches your purchased item that you like, and match the needle size to that yarn for a nice stitch size that is pleasing to you.  


I began by casting on 6 stitches, and knitting i-cord until I could tie it in a knot.  Then I places three stitches on a circular needle, and three on a second circular needle, although double points or magic looping also works just fine.

I then increased 6 stitches every other row until the top of the hat is the circumference I need (which should be just a little less than the head it is destined for).  Now you can just start knitting K2, P2 ribbing until the hat is long enough to fold over a generous brim.  Now just cast off in k2/p2 pattern and weave in the ends.  

Another way I like to use the top down method is when the yarn is very expensive.  This method lets me allow the yarn to lead the way to the design.  I like how easy it is, and how it opens up the knitter to all sorts of new ideas and inspiration.

Started: 17 Sept
Finished: 19 Sept
Yarn: Zitron Turmalin, 2 skeins, colorways: [300 3475] & [340 3669]
Pattern: No Swatch Method of Hatmaking, knit top down


 - Increase 8 stitches, every other row

-  When the circle is big enough, work 2 rows of garter (K1 row, P1 row) then pick up each stitch two rows back on the inside/back side, and continued knitting (this makes a gater welt on the external side of hat)
- Decrease using SKPSSO (slip 1 knit-wise, knit one, pass the slipped stitch over the knit stitch.) I wanted a wedge shape, so I decreased 10% (K8, skpsso) about every other row until the diameter fit my head.

A side note: I  tried lots of different decreases, looking for the most subtle to use, and placed the decreases randomly. However, with a bulky yarn, it is pretty hard to hide a decrease. The only thing I would change is to decrease consistently rather than randomly (K8, skpsso at each decrease row ).


 Note! Since I made this hat, I saw Cat Bordi's video on You Tube about how to neaten decreases -- looks like I could have made them look neater by knitting SSK in the decrease row, then knitting in the back of the stitch in the next round above the decrease. See Cat's video tutorial here 

The edge is about 4 rows of garter (in the round: K1 row, P1 row), then bind-off with EZ's sewn bind off .


- I finished the hat a touch snug (you can try on as you go) - because I knew that blocking the hat would relax it some.

Inspired by Brooklyn Tweed's 2-color scarf using two beautiful yarns which also graces this issue here .
Designed on-the-fly from the top down, using the technique of alternating every row with yarn 1, then yarn 2.

I purchased the yarn while on holiday (you always do that, don't you? Buy yarn and needles on holiday?) It is a slightly-felted pencil roving. I wanted a firm fabric, so I knit it on size 10 (US) needles rather than the recommended 15 (US).


Note on the needles - I bought Bryson flexible needles and I'm enjoying knitting with them, and I am a dyed-in-the-wool lover of Addi Turbos!

The two important design elements to make the hat work in the wedge shape: firm fabric, and decreases from the top of the hat to the brim.

A final note, this is expensive (!!) yarn, running at $22 USD per skein. I didn't want to waste one bit, so I knit a dickie to go with the hat and ended up with about 2 yards of yarn left!

Both hat and dickie are knit in the round, using two circular needles instead of dpns.

With Charisa's Ravelry habit, 2 cats and a house full of yarn, she's pretty busy, but she always has time to pass the time, if it involves fiber, yarn or knitting.  Charisa knits and spins, and you can see her other beautiful patterns and marvelous ideas on her blog .You can also see her hanging about on Ravelry, username "Charisa".