April 1962: For an Easter Baby

IMG_3225My April project was the cardigan jacket, a.k.a. “matinee coat” from Stitchcraft’s April 1962 layette set “for an Easter baby.” The set included a dress, the jacket, bootees, a bonnet and a blanket to use as a pram cover, plus a  sewn “pin-tidy” made out of a tiny baby doll with flannel and satin “skirts” to hold the safety pins for baby’s cloth nappies. The pin-tidy is a bit “uncanny valley” for my taste, but the knitted items are all lovely.

My knitting group has a gift exchange game every December and my prize this last year was 100 grams of Opal “Beautiful World” 4-ply sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% polyamide, multicoloured. I don’t like multicoloured yarns, but hey, a gift is a gift and I knew I would find a use for it! Sock yarn works well for baby things, being washable and non-felting, and 100 grams was the perfect amount for the jacket. IMG_3169The colour is unusually dark for a baby garment, but I don’t this the friend whose baby-to-be I knit it for will mind — they wear a lot of black themselves. (Side note: I did make an all-black baby cardigan for a black-clothed metal fan father-to-be friend once, and he was thrilled, because he knew he would never find one in a store. Take note, baby clothing designers — there is a market out there!)

The construction is a simple dolman, made in pieces from the bottom up with cast-on sleeves. The button band is made with a slip-stitch hem and the stitch pattern in the lower part is an easy broken welt:

  • Row 1: (RS) knit
  • Row 2: *k2, p 6* to last 2 sts, k2
  • Rows 3 and 4: knit

I even found seven buttons — one extra! — in my stash that fit the buttonholes and the style really well (my local stores are still closed).

My only worry is that the neck is too tight. It looks awfully small. Of course, they can just leave the top button open if they have to.

The baby will arrive in June and I will “see” my friend next week (i.e. non-contact delivery of present, perhaps we will literally see each other through a window or something). I hope everything works out for them as well as this project did for me!

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March 1960: Spring Magic

Version 2First project for March: this charming jacket from the jacket-and-skirt set titled “Spring Magic in Judy’s trim Outfit”. What a great title! And what a great photo in the booklet. I’m glad today’s girls don’t generally get their hair tortured into curls like litte Judy’s in the picture, but she certainly looks happy enough holding hands with her gigantic teddy bear.

The pattern calls for Patons Double Knitting at a gauge of 18 stitches to 4 inches over the stitch pattern. The child I knit this for can’t wear wool, though, so I made it in wonderful, easy-care, electric red and blue acrylic Bravo Originals from Schachenmayr. It did turn out to be a bit bulkier than Patons DK, so I adapted the stitch counts to reflect a gauge of 15 stitches to 4 inches.IMG_1566 (1)

The stitch pattern looks complicated but is actually very easy — fundamentally just k1, p1 on the right side and k on the wrong side, but the k stitches on the right side are made through the purl bump of the row below, giving a sort of check pattern without stranding or slip stitches. It has stockinette-stitch hems on the cuffs and bottom edge and a row of double crochet (British terminology, i.e. single crochet for Americans) around the front and collar edges.

It knit up so fast, and the colours were so bright, and the yarn so space-age, that I bought a whole lot more of it in order to make a 1960s-style, short-sleeved, A-line minidress for myself. I can’t wait!

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