Spring arrived and so did a little baby. A good internet friend had a baby boy and in the grand tradition of knitters everywhere, I made a little something for the baby. I knew these things before I started knitting: 1) the little family lives near the sea, so I wanted a nautical flavour to the project; 2) it was going to be a boy; 3) plenty of people would be knitting for the baby, so I would be wise to knit something slightly bigger than a new-born size; 4) the mother expressed a love for modern Scandinavian-style childrenswear; and 5) the mother is a knitter so she'd appreciate whatever I made.
With all these things in mind, I narrowed down my pattern choices quite quickly. The Latte Baby Sweater was a big contender but I had problems sourcing a 4-ply yarn with a suitable colour range here in the UK. Denme was released just as I was pottering around on Ravelry, but the style was very much geared towards newborns as was the sizing, although the sizing issue would not have stopped me. Beach Baby ticked so many of my boxes but I was unsure about how much knitting time I would have on my hands and how much I would have the alter the yoke shaping (the notes on Ravelry were very helpful).
So I ended up choose Elizabeth Smith's Little Coffee Bean Cardigan and I am so very glad that I did. It was a very easy knit - it is a top-down raglan cardigan which is as easy as it gets - but it was made even easier by how much attention the designer had lavished on the tiny details that are easy to overlook.
An example: when you move from ribbing into stocking stitch, you have a row of fabric that is ever so slightly distorted. Elizabeth Smith knows this and works around this in her pattern, so your stripe sequence is not distorted. It is a tiny detail - just one row - but I really appreciate the designer caring about this one row. If she cares this much about a free pattern, I'm looking forward to seeing what she does with her commercial patterns.
Back to the Coffee & Bagl cardigan. So, I chose my pattern and as it was written for worsted-weight yarn, I quickly decided to use Cascade 220 which is available in a gazillion colours from Get Knitted (among other places). It is a good workhorse yarn and for baby items that is exactly what I want.
Going back to the nautical theme, I decided against the obvious navy/white colour scheme and plunged for a softer, more vintage-looking combination of beige and muted teal-blue. I really like the combination - it is subtle and looks classy.
As for the buttons, I opted for some coconut buttons I once scored in a really good eBay deal. I have used them before and I still have a few left. I really do like how they pick up the brown tone of the beige yarn.
As you can tell, I really liked this project and I was very happy with the end result. It came out exactly how I pictured it. How often can you can that? I took my time getting the finishing just right so all-in-all I probably spent about a week's knitting time on this little nugget - and finished it just in time for another little nugget to enter the world.
Welcome to the world, Baby Bagl.