Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Sleepy Sherriff Sleep Sack

Every Baby Needs One of These

Pattern: Sleepy Time from Pipsqueak Knits. I found a bunch of patterns in this book that are absolutely adorable. The only problem from my perspective is that all the patterns are knitted flat and seamed. I'm really not a huge fan of seaming.

Yarn: Babyboo by Knit One Crochet Too, in Lime.

Modifications: OK, where do I start? To keep the long explanation short, I knit this in the round. I cast on, did the garter stitch bottom and added the eyelets for the drawstring bottom, then just started kniting it. I knit, and knit, and knit. I divided up the front for the button band and just kept going. I got up to the shoulders and bound off. That's when it hit me that I didn't leave an opening for the arms. It's one long tube of knitting. Much swearing ensued. All of this happened in the car on a very long car ride to South Dakota with two children. I blame that for the insanity that happened next.

I decided that there is absolutely no reason why I couldn't just steek the arms. After all, it's just knitting. I can reinforce around the steek and then just cut. What's the worst that could happen? Did I mention that since we were driving through SD at the time, I didn't have any time to research steeks since the entire eastern part of the state seems to be without wireless access or AT&T? I've read about steeking. I've heard lots of people say it's really not that bad.

Wellll.... let me tell you the worst that can happen. You can end up with the entire top of the outfit completely falling apart. Apparently the bamboo doesn't hold together the way a garmet made out of wool would. It falls apart exactly like your worst nightmare about steeking. Afterwards, I learned this from Eunny Jang,

"Steeks are useless, of course, if they unravel into the body of a sweater - different methods need to be applied to different yarns to ensure that this doesn't happen. To wit:

  • The traditional, unreinforced steek relies on slight as-you-work felting to hold the cut edge together. Along with tight gauge and frequent color changes, extremely "sticky" yarn is needed to make it happen. Shetland wool, with all its little fuzzy bits and scaly, wiry hairs, works beautifully. Other extremely grabby yarns may work, too.
  • Hand-sewn and crocheted steeks have some extra sturdiness from the applied reinforcement, but the real work is still done by the natural hold of the yarn - the reinforcement merely holds the strands in the close alignment needed. All yarns that felt are good candidates.
  • Machine-sewn steeks are very firm, with the machine stitching providing all the hold needed to stabilize the cut edge. Since the stitching does all the work, smooth, slippery yarns can be used. Beware, though - machine sewing and handknits don't get along particularly well; I often find that machine-stitched knits have an unpleasant stiffness that interrupts the fluidity and drape that are the chief pleasures of knitted fabric.
  • Wound steeks, which are purposely unraveled to the edge and darned in, end by end, don't need to stay together and are therefore suitable for any type of yarn."
Since no one in their right mind would define bamboo yarn as sticky, I should have known I would have a problem. So I ripped all the bits and pieces of bamboo yarn back to the bottom of the armpits and knit the garmet as 3 pieces from that point on. Other than ripping a sleeve out because I failed to read the directions, "at the same time," I proceeded to finish the sleep sack without incident.

Rumor has it that the parents really like the sleep sack even though the baby is still too small for it. I think it will come in very handy come fall. I'm particulary proud of the button choice - the daddy is in law enforcement and I think the buttons are perfect!


Syren said...

I'm pretty sure I saw tears when I saw you ripping all of that out on the deck!!! It did look like funny green noodles though!

Knittymuggins said...

Wow, that is so totally awesome despite all the drama it caused! I love those buttons (especially because of the law enforcement ties - must ask you about those sometime) and it's just so adorable :) So glad you didn't give up! It was so worth it to finish it.