Waiting for the Sun

I thought about just posting this shawl, telling you it’s Ute Nawratil’s Waiting for the Sun, and maybe saying nothing more. I like this shawl so much I can barely find the words.

First, what its made of. That’s easy to write about. I used exactly what  Nawratil used in the main pattern photo: Lang Yarns Mille Colori Baby in colorway 14 Infrared and Schachenmayr-Regia Uni 4-ply in the Athrazit colorway. The color-changing Mille Colori is 100% merino. The Schachenmayr-Regia is basically a sock yarn, in “75% wool, 25% nylon.” The sock yarn was totally solid to work with. The Mille Colori, not so much. It’s thick, thin, very thin, and a bit fuzzy. But the colors! Goodness, the colors, There were stretches of the Mille Colori that were basically black and I, as well as Nawratil, cut out those sections as I encountered them. This patterns works best when the solid color isn’t repeated in the color-changing yarn.

My Waiting for the Sun is 66 inches along the top edge and 25 inches at its deepest point. This result is after I soaked it and laid it flat, pinning only the top to ease the shawl into a semi-circle shape.

Here’s a closeup.

And yet another look.

I am in awe of people who can design stuff like this. I was fearful of knitting it. And there were a few “technical” challenges. You can read more about those here if you want a deeper dive into the pinhole caston, the directional shifts, or that long I-cord bind-off that is partly knitted on with picked up stitches and partly worked on live stitches.

I bought my yarn about two years before I cast-on. I kept looking at the yarn, and at the pattern photos, and at the projects and notes of 96 Ravelers who’d knit this before I did. I gobbled up every bit of advice I could gather–even before I actually purchased the pattern. I did what I don’t characteristically do (but should). I read the pattern before I started to knit it.

Do you remember being in say, 6th grade? Do you remember looking at your math book at the start of the year?  Stay with me now. Those first few chapters looked manageable. But the last few chapters? Didn’t they just scare the bejesus out of you? I mean, heavens to Betsy, I’ll never be able to do that. Let’s see if I can convey it with yet more archaic phrases. One of them might make sense to at least some of you.  For crying out loud, this is way too hard. For Pete’s sake, I’m toast.

When I do read a pattern beforehand I fairly regularly can’t make heads or tails of it. But once my needles are in my hands, it makes sense. This time I read the pattern first. Some made sense. A number of the sections left me scratching my head. I felt like that 6th grader taking a peek at the back of the math book.  So I put off knitting Waiting For the Sun.

Finally, I trusted the pattern. The pattern didn’t fail and didn’t let me fail. I am so very glad that I stopped waiting and knit this shawl. It’s already a favorite on these chilly fall days.

Cradle bag and itty bitty doll clothes

All together now: make your happy sound. Like you’re 5 and expected that your grandmother was going to knit your “lovies” the backpack and pillows you asked for (and received) but then she knit this too. It’s Frankie Brown’s Cradle Bag.

The pattern is free and includes the cradle, with its combo sleeping bag, and attached pillow. Here’s one of the best parts of this:

You pull up on the cradle sides, gather the cords together, and your doll is packed up and ready to go. As with all Brown’s patterns, this one’s a freebie. The pattern calls for DK weight yarn. I used Sandes Garn’s “Smart,” a washable wool. I’ve not used this yarn before. It feels great and worked up very nicely.

I had trouble finding a quality 5 inch doll. I purchased my Berenguer Itty Bitty 5 inch baby doll from this Etsy seller. I am tickled with the Cradle Bag and with the quality of Itty Bitty.

Clearly, she needed some itty bitty clothes.

This is Frankie Brown’s freebie Mini Doll Summertime, wearing the hat from the companion rompers included in the same pattern.

I knit mine in Kate Davies Milarrochy Tweed. I bought these colors of this pricey yarn for a special project that didn’t work. But I’ve had fun using small amounts of it in other projects.

This next one is from the same Mini Doll Summertime pattern. Brown calls them “rompers.” Same hat as the red one, but I added a band and a tiny knitted flower. I knit this set in Brooklyn Tweed Peerie. These tiny outfits use so little yarn that I was able to knit them in small amounts of leftovers from other projects. You need about as much yarn as you’d use in the heel of a sock!

Rather than make two straps and fasten them in the back with a small sew-on snap, as the pattern directs, I decided to criss-cross the straps in the back. Then I sewed them both to the ribbed band. Why? I didn’t have any small snaps. My hack makes it harder to dress the doll. But my granddaughter quickly figured it out. You put the feet in first, bring the dolls arms down next to her body, and then the arms go through the straps easily.

Next up Itty Bitty is modeling a heavily modified version of Angelica Dress for 5″ doll by Taffylass. The original is cute, but the size was coming out way off for me, even when I went down a number of needle sizes. The hat is Joyce Summers freebie Sun Hat for 5-inch Doll. The white and yellow are the same yarn as the Cradle Bag. And that green is a bit of Plymouth Yarn Superwash Merino DK.

Here’s the same hat knit in the Plymouth Yarn superwash.

These little bits are such quick knits that even a bilnd follower knitter like me is tempted to experiment. The diaper cover is my experiment. It worked out just fine. I cast on 24 stitches in the round. Then I knit 3 rounds of k2, p2. In the next round, I knit 4, made 1, around the round because Itty Bitty is fat, fat the water rat. I’m sorry, I meant to say that Itty Bitty is chubby. Then I knit 5 rounds. In the next round, I k2 together, k 3 all around the round to the last 4 stitches, k 4. For the top ribbing, I K1, p1 for 3 rounds. I reversed direction and bound off loosely, knit wise. To create the leg holes, I just stitched through the middle stitches at the bottom of the ribbing.

So far, the knits were easy and not really fiddly. These last two were admittedly fiddly, but I like them best of all. This one is Frankie Brown’s Mini Doll Bedtime. My granddaughter reached for these first off. She seems quite taken with these pjs. They are knit in Wobble Gobble SW Merino Fingering Weight.

Brown is really a major knitting talent. And her doll outfits are just the tip of a very big iceberg. This next set is from her Mini Doll Wintertime pattern. It’s a frilly skirt and hat in Socks that Rock leftovers and a sweater in Peppino by Rhichard Devrieze.

Here’s a look at the whole set. You’ll see me experimenting with a pair of underpants. And there’s a pair of pants too.

And, finally, one more look at Frankie Brown’s sweet cradle bag.

My dad might have said it’s “the greatest thing since sliced bread.” What’s the greatest thing before sliced bread, you might ask? The expression derives from a 1921 advertising campaign for Wonder Bread that bragged it was “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.” Somehow our collective brain thought that funny and transposed the expression from wrapping bread to pre-slicing it. This little cradle bag is an old idea. Maybe it helped a child occupy themselves when they needed to be quiet. Like in church. My granddaughter thinks it’s…the greatest thing. Period.