Finished Knit: Toddler Panda Sweater

Apr 25, 2016 | Baby Knits, Knitting Life | 3 comments

Hooray!!! I have a newly completed cute sweater for my toddler that I’m proud of and that he’s loving.

animal knit sweater

This sweater was one of those projects that included a half dozen failures and false starts before finally becoming something I love. (I talked about it on the blog already here and here). I stuffed broken, mal-fitting bits of sweater angrily back in my project bag many times between when I started the project in November, and now. But the story is one with a happy ending. I mean, just look at my cute little boy proudly pointing at the panda bear on his chest:

(and while you’re looking at him, ignore the unmade bed behind him. I’m pregnant and caring for a toddler; my house could win messiness contests.)

I’m so glad I stuck with this project through my failures. The pattern is totally different from the one I had in mind when I started, but I didn’t stray from the most important part of my vision: a sweater with a cute panda-bear face.

I’m also so glad I gave up on trying to design this sweater myself from scratch, and modified a pattern out of a book instead (I followed the pattern for “Tierisches Pulli-Vergnügen” or “Animal Sweater-Fun” from the book Wundervolle Strickideen produced by Lang Yarns). I design knit toys, not sweaters, and it felt good to lean on the expertise of someone who knows lots more about sweaters than I do. It was also a learning experience (as it always is when I follow a new pattern for a new project) to see what I liked and didn’t like about how the pattern was written and communicated. The description of forming the neckline was vague and insufficient, and it frustrated me, as well as furthered my determination to make my own patterns clear.

Because of the confusing instructions, my first neck-hole was too small for easy dressing, and I had to pull it out and modify things a bit.

My final neck looks distinctly less professional, but fits him perfectly, which is so much more important for kid’s clothes.

I created the panda face at the very end using duplicate stitch technique. To do this, I printed out knitting graph paper, sketched my panda vision, and then refined it to fit exactly in the graph paper squares. Then I just followed my own template to stitch the face on. I adore duplicate stitch; it is such a simple method to “draw” details on our knits.

Have you ever tried duplicate stitch? 

Tell me about your latest finished project. Or a project you’re in the middle of that is proving challenging. I’d love to cheer you on.


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