Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

The Dress is in the Mail

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Dear Ann,
Here’s the dress–now, where did that Rosie get to?
I’m pretty proud of myself. This little Miss Bea’s Jumping Dress took only a little over a week from start to finish, including blocking and sewing up. Here’s a bonus: it will actually fit Baby Rose NOW, instead of when she’s 13 like some of the other stuff I’ve made for her:

This is the wrap-around top from Debbie Bliss’s Easy Baby Knits for Quick ‘N Easy Babies (or something like that). I made it in Paton’s Grace, which is a dead ringer for Rowan Cotton Glace. Hope it’s still in style when Rosie hits junior high school. (This time, it wasn’t my gauge that was off; it was Ms. Bliss’s concept of the size of a 3-year-old.)
I see a lot of Jumping Dresses in my future. But I will never, ever again knit it any other way than in the round. The Handknit DK cotton is just too chunky and chewy to make for nice side seams in such a small garment, particularly when you are scrunching sewn-in stripey ends into those seams. I free-lanced the heart, and as you can see I decided the top part didn’t need to be so, well, stripey.
Thanks to all who helped me iron out the details. Love, Kay

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. I love the dress! do you think I could upsize it to fit Maddalena? would she ever agree to wear it? my children fit better into Debbie Bliss generous size ranges, but they are growing a bit too demanding and sophisticated in their tastes for handknit items!
    can i also say that there is yet one more reason I love your blog? it is that entries appear during my working day! yippee!! I can take a break from my boring numbers and see something lovely and read something amusing. Thank you!

  2. mdkkay–miss rosie’s dress sure looks pretty. and yes, i DO so ALOT of knitted jumpers in your knitting future…:) who made the blankie that miss rosie’s charming little sweater is resting on? is that at her momma’s house?
    dont you DARE leave without saying goodbye to me.

  3. Madame Kay, that dress looks better than it does in the book! Miss Rosie is a VERY lucky girl, oh yes she is.
    [Before I saw that dress you knit, I never considered getting Louisa Harding's books even though I've seen inside of them. This, however, changes all that. You should ask her for a kickback :-)]

  4. Kay! Eeek! Supercute. I didn’t know we were getting a heart with this pattern. I think it makes moot the question of the stripes on the shoulders–you don’t miss them, and the solid shoulders make the stripes that are there, well, stripier. Stronger design element. Just flat better.
    And re the ballerina top from Quick n Knitty Easy Babies, you know I have a batch of that exact Paton’s Grace, thanks to you and LIS giving the heads up on its similarity to its pricier cousin, Cotton Glace. So glad to see how it knits up. Kind of an ikat vibe, oui? Beautiful. Did you alternate balls of yarn, or just go for it ball by ball?
    And provenance, PLEASE, on that incredible blanket on which ballerina rests. Kaffe never had a color moment any better than that. Covetous thoughts.
    x0x0x0x0 Ann

  5. Beautiful dress Kay.Lucky Rosie.She’ll look so lovely in it.
    Have a fab holiday & buy yarn !

  6. What a sweet jumper! I have been eyeing up some of the Miss Bea’s booklets and after seeing your jumper they’re on my have-to-have list… which keeps growing longer!! :)

  7. Dear All of My Kind Pals,
    Thanks for the props on the dress! Here are answers to your Qs:
    The Granny Square Blanket: Guess what? I bought it! I got it at a tchochtke and card shop in my neighborhood called Farfetched. I asked the woman who was ringing up my purchase, is this handmade and if so do you know who made it? She said, ‘I did!’ Naturally, being me, I asked a few followup questions. I found out that she exclusively uses Tahki Cotton Classic, a mercerised DK weight cotton, which comes in a huge range of solid and variegated colors. I found out that the worst part of making the blanket is hiding millions of ends (each granny square equals 3 or 4 color changes, so 6 to 8 ends! and they are small squares!).
    They are very reasonably priced for what we all know is a ton of work; we’re talking less than 2 pairs of those mothball-scented Tailgate Mittens!!! (Let’s not even consider what they are worth in Wristlet Dollars!) If anybody wants me to email them pix of the current selection at Farfetched(I was just in there the other day and there were 3 blankets), let me know and I will Share the Retail Love.
    Rosie’s mom says she has washed it by hand a few times, and the colors stayed vibrant and shiny. I noticed that an added benefit is that if you plop this thing on your baby, your baby is going to stay put: being cotton, and worked in a fairly tight tension, it’s heavy! (Ann: try one on Clif!) They are crib sized but I am thinking of asking her whether she would consider making a throw-sized one (to achieve the “Roseanne’s Couch” effect I crave). Every time I see the thing at Rosie’s house I wish I had one of my own.
    Benedetta: You could easily upsize this dress pattern, simply by casting on more stitches at the bottom and working your way up accordingly, making the armhole a little longer, etc. I also think it would be fun to make it more ‘grownup’, i.e., to Maddalena’s more sophisticated taste, using intarsia bits from here and there, or zig-zag stripes (see Style Your Own Kids’ Knits by Kate Buller for a great bunch of ‘recipes’), or a color-block design. It took me less than 4 skeins of the main color for Rosie’s dress, so it was that rarity of rarities: an inexpensive Rowan handknit!
    Becky, I know! I, too, turned up my nose at the Miss Bea series at first, thinking they were just a slick repackaging of Rowan’s tried-and-true basic kids’ sweaters. To a certain extent that is true, but Louisa Harding is a clever designer and there are some nice tweaks here and there that make it fun. Also my kids DO like to look at the pictures, so they are part of the Elementary Fiber Arts Appreciation Curriculum around here.
    Ann–You know me: no way did I trouble to alternate balls of the Patons’ Grace. I just let it be its own wavy-gravy self.
    Thanks everybody! Flying high on knitting vibes, Kay PS Sorry for World’s Longest Comment.

  8. World’s longest comment absolutely excusable– the knitted dress is utterly gorgeous! Ask Rosie’s mom to send pictures of the dress being modeled by its recipient- the heart is great.

  9. What a sweet dress! There’s a similar one in one of the other Miss Bea books with a cable pattern down the front which looks very cool too. I’m now hoping my brother’s baby turns out to be a girl in January so I can knit lots of little dresses!!!!

  10. Hey I’ve just thought – a stripey denim one would be nice… and you are the queen of denim!

  11. Ohh, Kay, do make one in stripey denim….excellent idea Sarah! But would there be an issue b/w denim shrinkage and the cotton colored stripes?

  12. I think the heart on the front is an improvement on the original – Louisa Harding eat your heart out! Now can we please see it being modelled on Rosie?
    Love the blanket too.

  13. Jill–Rosie’s at that fleeting age where intarsia hearts are the height of chic. I’m saving the skull & crossbones (there’s a terrific one in the Badger book) for a few years from now when I expect she will hit Full-Blown Pirate Stage.
    Sarah & Kristine–I will, I will do a denim one. I was actually thinking of doing the Minnowknits denim jumper for Rosie, who has a teeny one in Tahki Cotton Classic that she has outgrown. It’s done in the round with a picot border and I think it would look smashing in denim. The idea of all-denim stripes is also intriguing. I certainly have plenty of odd bits and balls of all the denim shades.
    When ‘accessorizing’ Rosie’s jumper yesterday at Gymboree, I found a depressing shortage of cute, bright tights. But hooray! On the sale rack there was a pair of lime-green ruffle-bottom pants. So Rosie is going for the mod, mod dress-over-pants look that all the Downtown 20-Somethings are prancing around in at the moment (it’s a Moving Violation and points off your license for anybody over 30). Since Rosie’s devoted entourage takes her picture every five minutes or so, I hope to be able to post her modelling the outfit very soon.
    Cheerio from Swatch Hell, Kay

  14. Love the dress – sweet ! Too small for my Rosie but perfect for my little Rowan ! Do you think it will bag round the bottom ? (or is that a personal question ? !) Maybe knitted dresses and skirts only get baggy round big, adult bottoms – or maybe it’s just mine …..
    Heather

  15. Heather–Here at Mason-Dixon Knitting, we love to ponder the really tough knitting questions, such as, will the bottom bag and if so, how much? Since it is very rare to see Baby Rose sit for any length of time, I am not overly concerned about bagginess in her case. But if there is any unsightly spontaneous bagging, rest assured we will report it here! We know that gravity alone can cause Handknit DK Cotton to droop, so it bears careful watching.
    Benedetta and Sarah W.: Since both of you recently made the lurvly, curvly Knitty denim skirt, and if you don’t mind my asking: how’s the butt holding up? (I mean, of course, the butt of the skirt! See Ann’s separate Pilates blog, ouchyouvegottobekidding.edu, for discussions of actual bottoms and the principles of physics that apply.) Does it help to sort of hitch up the skirt before you sit down or would you feel too odd doing that just to save your skirt from stretching? Just asking, Kay

  16. It’s better than the original… In colour and design. I also turned my nose up at the Miss Bea’s book and only succumbed to buying them when I saw Jan B knitting up something. My first thoughts were, I don’t need another book to knit that, but the designs are clever, simple and quick to knit up. Rosie is a lucky girl.

  17. Saggy butt, me? never! (It’s too large) OK I’ll confess that the knitty skirt butt is not saggy because I haven’t sewn it together yet! At the moment it’s perfect! I think I’ll have to practise hitching it up in a seductive kind of a way though…

  18. Oh I love what you did to the dress so that you wouldn’t have to deal with all the ends at the top!! SUCH a smart lady!! I loved knitting that dress and will probably do it again now that i see what you have done!!
    And the cardi is cute!

  19. Kay/Ann
    hello there. this is my first post to your website… i read it every day and i just started my own blog this past week!! you should check it out. http://fireballhead.blogs.com/knitz/
    I would love to put a button up for me to link to your site but I haven’t been able to find one? Also, If you look at my hot off the needles section, you will see a blanket knit in the same cotton classics yarn that you were talking about! This stuff is amazing and so vibrant!!! Thanks for all the great pics and post… it is such a joy to read everyday! Sorry for the super long post… I would have emailed you directly but couldn’t find an email address!!!
    sorry

  20. Well, come on in, Kimberly Fireballhead! Are you so named because you share my PASSION for Atomic Fireballs by any chance? The candy that is indescribably delicious but you rarely have to share because other people just don’t get it?
    You can contact us by email on ann@masondixonknitting.com. (Ann has figured out how to do this, and I have not.) We must have lost our ‘contact us’ sign when we did our recent blog beautification project. And didn’t we have a button at some point?
    I will run right over (pumpkin puree on my face and all) and check out the Fireballhead home office. Thanks for stopping by! xox Kay
    P.S. Look above you if you think your post was ‘super long’. No sucha thing!

  21. I think Kim’s a fireballhead because she’s a REDHEAD.
    Welcome, Kim. We do have a fantabulous button custom created as a blogwarming gift by Brooks, whose http://bruxknits.motime.com/ should definitely a regular stop. I don’t know why we haven’t posted the button–oh yeah, we have no idea what we are doing here, that’s why. Anyhow, it’s available over there and looks exactly like the road sign that appears at the literal, real, true Mason-Dixon line in Pennsylvania. At least, that’s what Brooks said.
    Kay, would you get our IT department to take care of this button issue, and also our email address? I’m too busy doing Pilates to deal with it. Did I mention that after five months of corkscrews and One Hundreds (no, they are not alcoholic beverages), that my background is every bit as expansive as it ever was? A knitted skirt is still at least seven years away for Ol’ Broadsides. But man, can I ever point my feet straight up in the air and flail around like a stuck beetle.

  22. Ann, take pride in being Old Ironsides instead of Old Broadsides. I have always believed in my heart that there is no shame in being big as an ox if one is strong as an ox.
    It took Strong Women to tame this wild land.
    Words to live by from Kay

  23. Girls! I’m late, I know, but I LOVE the new look with the three columns and the pics. Yay! It really looks snazzy. The knitted dress and the wrap are absolutely adorable too.
    Love from your Pretty Posies neighbor!
    Carrieoke :)

  24. You wanna see the ultimate Strong Woman? Go see the pictures from our latest trip to Kakheti. Look for “Just Do It.”
    I am in awe of her wardrobe choice, even though it’s not a sweater. Now put this gal in a “knitty” skirt and you’d see something PIlates could not deal with.