October 05, 2005

"Happy Green" Pattern Notes

Yeesh! This year has been tough. Between designs not yet released and gifts for people who read my blog, I haven't felt free to share my FO's with you, and that's just not fun. So it is with great joy that I bring you the pattern notes for "Happy Green," the baby sweater that I made for my friend Jen's baby to be.

HappyGreenBanner3043.JPG Happy Green in her native environment - the bench outside my temporary "cottage" home. Click here to zoom in.

Gansey Layette aka "Happy Green"
Interweave Knits, Winter 02-03, designed by Veronik Avery
Knit with almost 4 skeins (98 yards/90 meters/skein) of Karabella Aurora 8(100% Merino) in Parsley (716) on Clover Bamboo 24" circulars and DPNs in size US6 (4.0mm), in a gauge of about 5 sts per inch in Stst.

Size: smallest.

The Pattern:
This is my favorite baby sweater pattern. As a rule, I don't knit a sweater more than once unless it's my own design, but I like this one so much that I've made it three times (here it is in white on my niece Sophie, which reminds me I need to complete those pattern notes!), and considered up-sizing it for myself. This is especially impressive since I've never made it in the recommended gauge or in the same gauge any of those times. (Nor have I managed to take great notes, so that if I did do it in the same gauge I wouldn't have to do the math all over again.) It's true love, I tell you.

If I had to pick two all-time favorite designers, they would be Veronik Avery and Norah Gaughan, because they both use unique construction to stunning (yet wearable) effect. This little gansey is no exception. Veronik has you knit the sweater all in one piece to the armholes, which are made by picking up stitches and knitting down to the cuffs in the round. She uses short rows along the neckline to create a lovely scoop and then employs a sewn bind-off all around the neck and the cuffs. Between these techniques and the lovely garter rib detailing, the gansey is a veritable sampler for the intermediate knitter, and a fun ride for the experienced knitter as well. It's probably only suitable for the intrepid beginner, but if you've got a few projects under your belt and are dying to make it, you'll definitely pick up some knitting know-how along the way. Plus it makes an absolutely smashing gift.

HappyGreenButton3045.JPG Aren't the buttons lovely? Courtesy of the Great Wall of Buttons, visited on our Michael Levine trip.

The only modification that I made was the gauge. This is one of those patterns that is great "as is". It's very well-written, too.

Impressions of Karabella's Aurora 8:
This is a workhorse of a yarn. It comes in beautiful colors, knits up at a nice gauge, feels soft and lovely to the touch and displays beautiful stitch definition. I would highly recommend it for ganseys, arans, and ribbed sweaters. The solid colors are fabulous, but the slightly heathered colors, like the one I chose, are really special. My photography really doesn't adequately display the rich depth of a piece worked in such a beautiful heather. Oh yeah, here come those two wonderful words again: machine washable

Possible substitute yarns:
A cheap alternative to Aurora 8 that springs to mind is Peruvian Collection Highland Wool, a very nice yarn in its own right. Still, it's not merino. If your budget allows it, always go merino.

Tips for Making the Gansey Layette:
Do the short rowing when your mind is fresh and you have a lot of time to devote. You will need to "reverse shaping" and that can be an ugly thing to bend your mind around if you are already tired or don't have the necessary time block. If you re-gauge - write it all down for next time!

HappyGreenPacket3046.JPG Did you see this little number? My pal Dan at the Knit Cafe always adds an extra button and yarn to a gift - seems like a great idea.
Posted by Julia at October 5, 2005 08:36 AM
In happy green gansey | main | pattern notes


It's just beautiful! Nice yarn, nice color, nice pattern! What a gorgeous gift for a baby!


Posted by: Kathy at October 11, 2005 12:11 PM

That is a beautiful sweater. I love the pattern and the color you chose is wonderful.

Posted by: sedie at October 11, 2005 12:01 PM

Anne-Caroline (& others who want the IK back issue) - just follow my link to Interweave Knits Winter 02/03 at the top of the pattern notes. The original is in grey and doesn't stand out as much if you aren't looking for it, but it's adorable!

Posted by: Julia at October 7, 2005 02:06 PM

I remember that issue - wasn't it done in a neutral shade? Yours looks so cheerful! Great job!

Posted by: Mary Beth at October 7, 2005 02:01 PM

Oh cute! (Do you know how I can get back issues of IK - I would really love to make this one!???) Thanks if you have any tips.

Posted by: Anne-Caroline at October 7, 2005 12:39 PM

wow, cute cardi for the baby!! it is indeed an interesting pattern.

Posted by: blossom at October 7, 2005 11:24 AM

That is lovely. I love, love, love Aurora 8, and now Aurora 4. I'm sure your friend will adore this sweater.

Posted by: Wendy at October 6, 2005 08:03 PM

What an adorable sweater! Somehow manages to look hip and timeless. Can't blame you for repeating it. Why mess with success? Lovely non-baby color too - perfect for fall/winter.

Posted by: Nancy at October 6, 2005 06:39 PM

I absolutely heart this sweater, and the matching hat is adorable! LOVE it!!

Posted by: Nonnahs at October 6, 2005 11:25 AM

That is so adorable! I love the apple green effect!

Posted by: lauray at October 5, 2005 06:55 PM

I have a favorite baby sweater pattern as well and have made it for 3 babies and counting. However, I will have to check out this pattern because I really like your sweater. And I have some Aurora 8 in my stash. And my friends keep having babies.

Posted by: Deena at October 5, 2005 05:47 PM

I love this baby set and the color you chose! I've used Karabella Aurora 8 for baby gifts before and can't ever get over how buttery soft it is. I have to agree with you re: Veronik Avery; she's always coming up with interesting and classy designs!

Posted by: Karma at October 5, 2005 05:17 PM

Cute! I made her Polka Purl Dots, which has a similar one-piece wraparound construction, but for grownups. I agree she has quite a talent.

Posted by: Emily at October 5, 2005 04:34 PM

I love the whole combination and definately the colour too! Beautiful!

Posted by: Alison at October 5, 2005 03:51 PM

Oh ! what a wonderfull little one, I love the color and buttons !

Posted by: Sophie at October 5, 2005 03:12 PM

What a beautiful sweater. I love the design and the color. I've been looking for a pattern to learn/practice short-rows -- maybe this is the one.

Posted by: Zarah at October 5, 2005 02:58 PM

I love that little sweater. It's just beautiful. I'm going to have to dig out my copy of IK.

I love the idea of extra buttons and yarn.

Posted by: Amy Boogie at October 5, 2005 02:27 PM

Beautiful! Love the color. I just seamed with some Aurora 8 I had in my stash (just one ball to try it) and it is such a wonderful yarn. Thanks for your notes.

Posted by: Cara at October 5, 2005 02:20 PM

Truly, it is a stunning piece -- and I'm not just saying that because I'm bearing the recipient! The color is just so intense...and green!

Posted by: Jen. at October 5, 2005 02:20 PM

Well, I've seen it in person, so I can say without any hesitation that it's beautiful. I love the way it came out. The heathered Aurora is amazing and once I knit through a bit of the stash I have, I'll probably get some for myself.

Posted by: marnie at October 5, 2005 02:16 PM

I love her designs as well, including this one. It turned out beautifully, and I'm sure the new wee one will look adorable.


Posted by: Amy at October 5, 2005 02:09 PM