Monday, December 12, 2011

Guest Post by Sarah: Tips and Advice for Knitting Wool Longies

Before I started cloth diapering, the only knitting projects that I completed were scarves or wash cloths, but this all changed during my third trimester.  I would go onto Etsy and saw the prices of hand knit soakers and longies.  They were so cute, but my heart would sink at what I saw.  I read of the benefits of using wool, especially at night, but I was not prepared to pay the money that was asked.  Thankfully, I found a website that has numerous soaker and longie patterns on it-Ravelry-and many of them are free!!  You can stop reading and sign up.  Go on. Signing up is free and easy, but come back and finish reading the post.

The skills required for most woolies are:

  • Knitting: in-the-round [though there are a few patterns that are knit flat and then you seam them together], an eyelet row, an icord, short rows
  • Casting on/casting off
  • Kitchener stitch

I had MOST of the skills needed for knitting my daughter her wool soakers and longies, but not all of them.  I decided to dive head first.  Over time, my skills have slowly gotten better.  I now look at patterns and decide what I like and what I dislike and make the necessary changes.

Before starting out, you'll need to choose yarn that is 100% wool.  I prefer Worsted or Aran weight, but you can choose a lighter weight for the summer or heavier weight for the winter.  My favorite yarn is Peace FleeceCascade 220, or Donegal Tweed, but I've used Patons Classic WoolStitch Nation's Alpaca Love, and Stitch Nation's Full o' Sheep.  You may find you prefer other yarns to use.  Try out different yarns.  You can get Patons and Stitch Nation yarns at Joann fabrics, Michaels, and A.C. Moore, often these stores send out coupons for 40% or 50% off, so you can save money by using the coupons as well.

Now that you have your yarn, you should knit a gauge swatch, especially if you have not knit with the yarn you are using before.  Note: To be honest, I have never knit one before and have not had a problem, but I still want to let you know what should be done.  Next measure your baby's or toddler's rise, waste, hips, thighs, and inseam.  By doing this, you'll know what size to knit your child and what adjustments you need to make.

Once you have done these things, you can start knitting.  If you are unsure where to start, I'll list a few of my favorite woolie patterns.

Some soaker patterns I've had success with are:
  • WHW Plain Wrap: This soaker is knit flat, and there's no seaming involved.  you apply either aplix or buttons and wrap it around your baby.  This is a good pattern to start out with, especially if you have never knit in a round.
  • Curly Purly Soaker: This pattern is WONDERFUL.  It's my favorite, and that's why I only have two soaker patterns that I've knit.  I decided to knit a soaker using this pattern because I dislike knitting an i-cord.  It has a lot of ribbing and a high rise, and the soakers I've made from this pattern fit Charis well.
By the time, I started knitting longies [I've only knit two longies]; I did not follow a single pattern exactly, but I'll list a few patterns that have helped me and a few I plan on knitting next.  
  • Hootie Pants: I love owls.  The last pair of longies I used the owls on my longies, but changed the waistband to have an eyelet row.
  • Braided Longies: I borrowed the eyelet row from this pattern.  The next pair of longies I'll knit will probably be this pattern.  I love cables and braids and it has the option for knitting both.
  • Bulky Weight Longies: My daughter grows SO FAST.  She's already 27 lbs. at 15 mos.  I want something that is a quick knit.
There are plenty of videos on You Tube and Knitting Help that can help you increase your knitting skills.  As I previously mentioned, I had only knit simple, easy patterns-most of them were just garter stitch.  But, I have enjoyed increasing my knitting skills.