Finished Knit: Octopus Baby Sweater

Jun 13, 2016 | Baby Knits, Finished Knits, Knitting Life | 2 comments

I know I’ll get back to my usual rotation of knit toys, knit toys, knit toys, soon but I felt compelled to knit something non-toy yet again this past month, and here it is: my Octopus Baby Sweater.

I learned from my toddler panda sweater experience, that I definitely wanted to follow a pattern and not just design this sweater from scratch. Then I spent forever trying to figure out which pattern exactly. I bookmarked a lot of ravelry patterns, and then discarded all of them on account of them either being more complicated than I felt like completing, or not including an animal motif (even for a non-toy knitting project, I need animal motifs). Finally, I picked the free, and well loved sweater pattern Flax, from Tin Can Knits as something really simple and adaptable. I would add my own motif to the front using duplicate stitch

baby sweater

This is a great pattern, and I highly recommend it. I did modify a number of things:

The colors: the pattern is all one color but, well, that’s not fun enough for me, so I used one of my favorite variegated yarns for the collar, waist and wrists (oceana colorway by Caron Simply Soft Paints), and a simple pale blue for the body (also Caron Simply Soft). Both yarns were from my stash.

The collar: I cast on the collar to knit in the round as instructed in the pattern and it looked tiny! Maybe I just have a particularly tight cast-on technique? In any case, there was no way it would fit over a big baby head. So I unravelled and cast on again, this time, without joining. I knit the collar rows flat, so that there’s a slit by the left shoulder, which adds a bunch of additional stretch. This is a quick and easy modification idea if you ever find yourself in the same predicament.

The sleeves: I hate having to shop (for the yarn, the needles etc.) before diving into a project, and even more I hate being in the middle of a project and having to stop because I don’t have some material. Well, I didn’t have the right size DPNs to complete the sleeves to the right gauge (the body is completed on a circular needle, which I had). Instead of stopping my knitting and heading to the store to pick some up, I knit the sleeves flat and seamed the undersides afterward. Easy peasy.

The Octopus: This is obviously the coolest part of the whole sweater. Every time I add duplicate stitch to a project, I fall more and more in love with this easy, artistic technique. If you guys are interested, I’ll do a duplicate stitch tutorial at some point and describe in detail how I come up with my designs, but the short explanation is I sketch out my vision freehand on knitting graph paper, and then tweak the sketch until it fits precisely into the little graph squares.

octopus knit

When I started the sweater I knew I wanted to put an animal motif on the front, but I didn’t know what. I chose to do an octopus because a) it’s a pretty unique animal for an item of baby clothing, b) my husband and I recently watched a documentary about octopi and WOW are they fascinating and clever animals, and c) the colors as I was knitting, made me feel all calm and peaceful like I was swimming in a warm sea. I’m pretty much obsessed with the way it turned out.

newborn knit sweater

It’s been mostly too warm to dress the baby in even an acrylic-yarn sweater much around here, but I do live in northern Germany, so I wasn’t worried: I knew we’d have some cool days before long. For a few weeks, this picture of him SCREAMING on his grandmother’s lap was the only picture of him wearing his sweater that I had (#newbornreality). But the other day, we had a nice cool breeze and I finally got my little model dressed and photographed: 

and a BIIIIGGG yawn!

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