We were delighted to welcome Alicia Plummer @aliciaplums to our Facebook Live session on 19th July 2020 to chat about her Campside KAL (knit along).
What is the Campside KAL all about?
Alicia designed her Campside Shawl the year her Dad passed away, it was very much linked to her grief and the eyelet represents tears of grief and raindrops in a storm. She’s added a number of designs to the Campside collection and shows us the newest shawl design in the video linked below.
This summer’s annual Campside KAL 2020 Knitalong is almost here! It kicks off August 1st, at 8 pm EST and wraps up (pun intended) September 19th at 8 pm EST.”
To help get you ready, all eligible patterns are 25% off until August 1st with the code campside2020.
Watch the interview about the Campside KAL here and after we’ve chatted to Alicia Plummer we look at some of her designs and talk yarn choices.
For Alicia, it was clear to us, that yarn and knitting is an emotional connection to an event or how life is going at the time. Campside is an interesting example of how we feel informs our yarn choice, the colours we knit with and the end design.
I’m planning to knit a Campside Cardi, however, I am also tempted by the raglan version of the Campside Pullover, I don’t really do drop sleeves as they don’t work well with my body shape. I thought I had chosen my yarn until an accidental trip to the LYS in our town’s Market Hall led to be seeing Stylecraft’s new yarn Highland Heathers. It took me a while to pick my colour but I chose Gorse, a rich heathery green/yellow mix and I LOVE IT.
It’s a DK weight yarn and to get gauge/tension I’d need to use a 5.5mm needle for the cardigan. I have, after swatching with 5mm and 5.5mm decided to go with a larger size but using the smaller needles. I much prefer the resulting fabric and I think it’ll wear better over the longer term.
I’m planning a few mods which I’ll need to work out carefully, for example, I would like to increase a few times on each front for boob coverage and also make a deeper collar so that covers the lower body a little rather than a large gap in the middle that screams BELLY at everyone I walk past.
I need to work to the stitch counts for a larger size and make sure the charts will still line up and the pattern for the lower body work the way I want it too. It’s an easy enough set of calculations to do and I’m sure it’ll be fabulous.
I phoned Pat at our LYS to ask her to put the rest of the yarn I need to one side and I’ll collect that on Friday next week, unless I need it before, lol. In which case I’ll need to drive into town and sort that out.
Emma showed me her Vera sweater months ago and I may have been pestering her to get on with finishing the pattern and starting the test knits. She launched the test knitting last night and I signed up to make the 42″ chest which will give me no ease at the bust. I may also, with permission as it’s a test knit, be adding a bit of hip shaping to accommodate my curves so the lower body will be a larger size. I’d tell you which size, but being a lady, it would be impolite to mention it 🙂
Emma made her sweater using West Yorkshire Spinners sock yarn in a pale grey and with a patterned colourway for the sleeves, I think it works really well to add interest and you could use up a bag of sock yarn leftovers for the sleeves.
Yarn choices for the Vera Sweater
I do have a vast stash of yarn, but we won’t talk about that right now … So, after a bit of stash diving, okay a lot of stash diving, I decided to use Lanas Stop Bambini in Antique Rose as my main colour.
I still need to choose a contrast colour for the sleeves and that may be either Araucania Ranco sock yarn or some Drops Fabel or Delight yarn. The Araucania may be put to one side as it’s handwish and the Lanas Stop is machine washable. I am not great at hand washing items, they lay in the basket forever waiting. Do you hand wash your knits?
In the UK we call fingering weight yarn 4ply, as typically it was a finer yarn spun from 4 plies of yarn, but many 4ply yarns are now spun from only one or two plies.
4ply yarn is great for socks, shawls, gloves and other accessories such as shawls, wraps and scarves. It is lightweight but depending on the wool content can also be lovely and warm.
It is wonderful for Fair Isle and colour work projects using 100% wool to give a lighter garment despite the almost double thickness of the resulting patterned fabric.
It produces beautiful lacy knits and often blocks well to show the resulting lacework pattern.
It can be stranded double to knit a heavier garment or to achieve ombre type effects in the garment or fabric.
Superwash sock and fingering weight yarns are fantastic for baby clothing as busy Mum’s will appreciate a machine washable garment which is both easy care and hard wearing. Sock yarns often contain up to 25% nylon to add strength, think heels and toes that get a lot of wear going in and out of your shoes, to the yarn.
My amazing team of test knitters are knitting a cute dress design I’ve been working on. The dress is worked bottom up, in the round for the skirt which features a pretty lacy pattern. We changed colour (optional) for the upper bodice of the dress which features a garter waist band and a pretty dot stitch bib, patterned front and back. Front and back are worked separately and flat, no seaming though as the shoulders have 3 little button on each side. You’ll have a few ends to weave in, but not many.
Who is the Mary Eleanor Dress pattern named after?
Mary Eleanor was my great Aunt, called Ciss by most people, she was my Granddad’s older sister. I have many happy childhood memories of visiting Great Gran and Ciss, who spoiled us rotten, made our favourite foods and gave the best cuddles.
Ciss never married, but was the best Mum ever to her many nephews and their families. She was much-loved and is still much-missed.
I used an affordable 100% cotton yarn to knit the Mary Eleanor Dress. I chose Patons 100% Cotton DK in two colours, Kiwi and Almond. They yarn is hard on the hand while knitting but softens on washing and has a subtle sheen to it. I’ll be making another for my cousin’s little girl, Isla, probably using some Stylecraft Special DK. Isla likes pink, purple and blue and looks fabulous in cool colours. The Stylecraft Special DK will be easy to wash for her busy Mum and wear well.
What colours would you use?
Would you like to test knit this pattern?
I still have room for a couple of testers to knit the age 4-5yr and 6-7yr sizes. If interested, sign up here
Loraine is working on the sample in this episode of our vlog.
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Baby yarns, suitable for clothing, accessories and baby blankets
A busy Mum will really appreciate hand knits and crochet items you make for their new baby, but do think about your yarn type and colour choice.
Baby yarns are usually, but not always, machine washable. If it’s not machine washable, whilst it may be loved, it might be too much effort for a Mum of a newborn. You may need to wash that item for them.
We have a range of baby yarns including Lanas Stop Bambini which is listed as 4ply but knits to the same gauge/tension as Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino but at a much more affordable price. It washes really well too and is lovely for adult garments, I’m knitting myself a sweater with the Antique Pink right now.
Lanas Stop Peke comes in a range of pretty pastel colours suited for boys or girls, but if you’re not sure go for white or cream and you can’t go far wrong.
James Brett Flutterby Chunky is a beautiful soft chenille type baby yarn, beautiful colours and knits or crochets quickly for fast results.
Lion Brand Babysoft is a lovely yarn, sport weight (between dk and 4ply) and machine wash. We have a pretty yellow and Pompador Pink in stock.
Lion Brand Baby Wool is at the top end of wool yarns, it’s superwash merino in Aran weight (heavy worsted) and knits up quickly. The colours are really pretty and suitable for boys and girls.
If you have any worries about allergies or live in a warmer climate do consider Schoeller Pantino or Limone cotton yarns. Pantino is an Aran weight cotton and Limone is a 4ply/fingering weight mercerised cotton which has a slight sheen to it. Both wash beautifully and wear really well.
Introducing the Ballet Wrap Cardigan pattern, sized from preemie to 12 mths.
I’ve spent part of the lock down working on a new pattern collection for babies. Emma Sadler and working together on this to create a collection which will be released in the Autumn. I’ve knitted a few items so far, but the first pattern ready for testing is this one, the Ballet Wrap Baby Cardigan in five sizes.
The smallest size will fit a preemie baby up to around 5lb in weight, the largest size is to fit a 12-18 mth old baby.
I used Stylecraft Special Double Knit yarn for the sample shown here, in the colours 1064 Mocha and 1080 Pale Rose, with Mocha as the main colour.
Ballet Wrap Cardigan Pattern Essential Design Elements
I was trying to minimize the number of seams in the design of the cardigan, partly for the ease of the knitting but also to make it much more comfortable for a tiny (or large) baby.
The Ballet Wrap Cardigan pattern uses a slip stitch or mosaic design, it’s a very easy way to get into colourwork as you only knit with one colour every two rows with the non working colour being slipped. I chose a slip stitch pattern to provide a really warm and soft fabric for baby.
It was a very quick knit. The body is worked bottom up to the armholes, then fronts and back and worked separately. They are joined later with a three needle bind off/cast off at the shoulders.
The sleeves are picked up from the armholes and worked in pattern down and in-the-round to the simple garter cuffs. The border for the fronts and back is picked up after the rest of the knitting is completed and works up in no time. Buttons, or snaps, fasten the fronts on both sides, with one side folded over the other to make the ‘wrap’.
I don’t recommend ribbon fastenings for babies, but snap fasteners or buttons are perfect.
Size 30-6 mths
Size 46-12 mths
Size 512-18 mths
To fit Chest
Chest Size – (All around at underarm when finished)
13 ½ in
17 ¼ in
21 ¼ in
Length from back neck – (below neckband)
6 ½ in
7 ½ in
8 ¾ in
9 ½ in
Sleeve Seam Length
4 ¾ in
6 ½ in
Stylecraft Special DK MC
Stylecraft Special DK CC
It is important to ensure you work to the stated tension/gauge of 20sts and 60 rows per 4in/10cm to create a fabric which is warm enough for a low birth weight baby. If you have less sts per inch try a smaller needles size, if you have more sts per inch try a larger needle size.
The slip stitch pattern creates a warm fabric that’s also very light for baby to wear, it is super cozy and you can have a lot of fun with the colour. I went with a soft, muted Mocha brown and used a rosy, pink contrast but you could go high contrast in brights, neutrals or monochrome if you prefer.
If you’re interesting in testing the pattern, there will be a notice in the Woolly Madly Deeply group on Ravelry where you can sign up.
Test knitters will be required to set up a Ravelry project page with details of the yarn used, quantities and at least one photo of the finished item, deadline 12th August 2020 for all sizes.
The Roll over the Top test knit has been great fun and been a very enjoyable knit. I signed up because I’d seen Jutta’s original sample garment in a beautiful, rich green that glowed like jewels.
I’ve knitted her Simply Perfect Summer Top and her Summerline Top and wear those a lot. All three patterns are top down, working the back down to the armholes, then working left and right fronts down to the armholes. The lower body on each pattern has details to keep the knitter interested and they are all very quick knits.
Roll over the Top
Roll over the Top features garter borders with a 1 st icord edge on the arms and neckline. The centre front has the same garter panel with a slip st pattern which is repeated at the side panels under the arms and down to the hem of the body. The top is a V neck and all the bands, edgings are knit as you go. Once the knitting is done, you just have a few ends to weave in.
I’ve knitted Summerline using some Drops Belle and Jutta recommended a yarn with a linen blend for good drape for this project. I chose the Moss Green colourway, it’s a soft, muted and warm green. As I usually find with Drops Belle, I need to go up a needle size to get the stitch gauge/tension needed for the pattern.
I started knitting size large, which would give me a little negative ease at the bust, then once the body was joined to work down and in the round, I added some increases to make it slightly more Aline and working towards the stitch counts for the XL lower body.
By the time I had worked just over 13 inches into the lower body from the under arm I had used only 4 balls of yarn.
Once the increases are completed and the top is the desired length for you (allowing extra because linen loses some length after washing), the fronts and back are worked separately with a notched side.
Jutta includes a slight Aline shaping and also an option for wider hips like mine, so I did more increases that you might need.
The optional bust darts add length and shaping to the front and worked really well with my curves.
Have you knitted a summer top for yourself yet? What colour would you make and why?