FO Friday Braided Swirl Tam

Go to Tami's Amis to see what other FOs were blogged about today.
The four FOs I have for today are exciting and were so much fun to make.

Top Down Baby Bunting, by Amanda Lilley

Top Down Baby Bunting, Amanda Lilley

Faux button closure, snaps beneath. Buttons from Windsor Button.

I added the ribbon for stability wear, plus a punch of color.
 The first is Amanda Lilley's Top Down Baby Bunting. I used big needles (9) and chunky yarn, and it knit up quickly. The yarn is Lion Brand Baby's First, a washable cotton/acrylic blend that I chose for its durability and weight.  I got it from A. C. Moore's on sale for $3.00 a skein.

The pattern has enough variation of stitches to keep it interesting, and I am proud to say, this project forced me to master Kitchener stitch. (Which really isn't all that tricky once you get the sequence of stitches memorized, thank you KnitPicks for the tutorial, and optional dog tag!) If you note the details in my photos, you'll see I went with decorative buttons and snap fasteners. I confess, I was so into the knitting that I failed to see the buttonhole stitches in my directions.... bad character flaw!

If you know of an expectant mom, consider this pattern, it is a bit different from the traditional baby sweater and a great item for sleeping in cooler temps, or for going out in the stroller or carseat.

Braided Swirl Tam, by Lijuan Jing

Braided Swirl Tam

Top view, wedges are more noticeable here.
The second FO is my Braided Swirl Tam by Lijuan Jing. I found this pattern at Stitch House and have been urging it on any knitter I meet. I have never knit anything that compares to this pattern. Perhaps it is the yarn which is a variegated colorway. The long stretches of color contribute to the mystery of how the hat is constructed. This pattern comes with directions for three different weight Jojoland yarns; the only criticism I have is there is no gauge noted, so swapping to a different yarn will require some experimenting.

This pattern (slightly) challenged my knitterati knowledge too. I learned another skill this week, as this pattern calls for a provisional cast on. I never bothered to try it before, and in my haste to start a project, I would cast on normally and later sew the stitches when I got to the end. Now that I realize how simple provisional cast on is, I won't avoid it in the future.

I want to share the construction of this hat, if you will tolerate my lengthy discourse, here are some of the steps to demystifying the Braided Swirl Tam. Basically, you cast on 35 stitches, and as you go, you are cabling the central stiches and decreasing on one side and increasing on the other to create a triangle. Once you've knit 24 rows, you are left with 23 stitches, then you pick up 12 stitches on the side and begin again. There are five wedges to do, then you Kitchener stitch the provisional cast on edge to create the circular top. Once that is done, you pick up 90 crown edge stitches and knit in stockinette for about 3" to create the brim.

Wedge one, before picking up 12 side stitches.

Wedges one and two, before picking up 12 side stitches.

Because I am a nut, and a perfectionist, and I plan to wear this hat a lot.... I frogged, started with the other end of the yarn for a different color blend on the crown, and used stitch markers where the cables are placed to avoid any little mistakes.... Call me crazy, I know, I know.... But can you see how different it looks colorwise?

Second try, on size 10 needles and starting with peacock end of the Jojoland skein..

The third FO is my long-on-the-needles Baltic Tea Leaves. I treated myself to the extravagance that is Madelinetosh during last year's Red Line Yarn Crawl. It was my birthday and I felt ready to dive into the pool of "good" yarn. It took me a bit to choose a pattern, but once I cast on, it went well.
Tea Leaves in Madelinetosh Baltic

Problems arose at the sleeves. The first time I made them separately, and they were two different widths. I ripped out and decided to do them at one time on a Magic Loop. That way my decreases would be uniform. The challenge in doing this was the alternating of skeins every other row. (It is recommended that you switch between two balls of yarn as you knit to accommodate the fluctuations in the hand dyed yarn). The switching of skeins created a wonky seam and I had to rip out again. The sweater was in time out for a long stretch, but I picked it up again after the holidays. The sleeves look great but my nemesis of picking up button band stitches had me frogging until I could get both sides to be the same length. Why is it so hard to pick up stitches in a uniform manner so that the two sides are the same length, IDK....

Coronet,  byAlexandra Virgiel

If you read the project page, you'll get the lowdown. This was a stash buster and meant to go with my much loved Puma Skimmers. Easy pattern, not such a great match to the yarn, but it works.

And lastly, a few snaps of the printer's tray that hangs about my project table. Some of my favorite  collections.

Matreska Nesting dolls

Collection of rings and antique buttons


Inky077 said…
OOOOOOOh! This is such a good post! I am just balled over by the exquisite nature of that baby bunting. And who would ever think of using that eye-pop of color on the grosgrain ribbon facing? You would! I am very intrigued by the tam - must find a similar yarn here on the rock to flesh that pattern out with. Please show us more of your "inner life" lol, like the printer's tray, etc. It's inspiring.
AndiSocial said…
That braided swirl tam is amazing! Excellent work!
erin said…
you've been busy! I especially love the sweater =)
laknitter said…
Your knitting is professional!! The baby bunting is is very interesting and the ribbon behind the perfect buttons makes it a finished look.
Of course, you know how much I love that hat...will share mine with you tonight!
annissa said…
Hi Erin- Just found my way to your blog! Thanks for all the shot-outs! one problem - my website is

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