My cousin's daughter (which I *think* makes her my cousin once removed? whatever.) turned one this week. She's an awesome kid.

Meet Zerah.

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And, well, because I'm always a day late and a dollar short when it comes to dates (I called my dad 3 days before his birthday and proudly proclaimed "Happy Birthday!" before he told me I was way early), I completely spaced on her birthday and thought I still had loads of time to make her gift. Wrong. So, sorry Miss Z, your cousin Shanna's blonde roots struck again and she's late with your gift. As you get older, you will learn this is par for the course. I'm either way early or a month late.

Anyway, so I started looking for what I wanted to make. I originally intended on making a stuffed owl for Miss Z, but that went out the window when I realized the pattern I was using was all wrong for me. So, I decided to make her a lovely little cardigan coat.

It needed a pretty color, adjustable sleeves (she's tiny!), and panache. Apparently, most knitted pattern makers think babies this age should wear 2 classes of clothing: plain or gaudy. Well, Miss Z is neither and unfortunately, all the patterns I found were also all wrong for me and
all wrong for the awesome personality that is Miss Z. So, I wrote one. And I'm thrilled with it.

(Also, please note my new 50mm camera lens- I've upgraded!)

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I'm really, really, really pleased with this. And I've gotten a lot of positive feedback about it. I've written out the 12 month pattern and I'm going to start working on other sizes shortly. It didn't take a lot of yarn- I used Shalimar Yarns Honey Worsted superwash merino in "Damson", which has 250 yards/skein. I used 1 full skein and then a sleeve's worth of a second skein, so a bit less than 300 yards total. The button was one from my stash and, dammit, I wish I knew where it came from because I love it.

I charted the hearts because I have come to ❤ knitting charts. I can either have 2,675,563 lines of written instruction or a 20×20 grid with a key to the symbols used to print out. Which one am I going to pick? Which one do YOU think?

So, let's talk about knitting charts. When I wrote on Facebook asking if anyone would like to TRY my pattern, I asked the people who responded if they knew how to read a chart and every single one responded with, "I haven't learned how to read one" or "I never learned". Well, I'm going to teach you. It's easypeasylemonsqueezy and once you learn, you'll wonder why you resisted.

So, we start with a chart (thank you, Google image search and creativeknittingmagazine.com):

Welcome to the "Bobbles and Lace Chart".  It goes along with a baby blanket by the same name. And, eh, it's kinda cute. Let's say you want to make this blanket. Well, the patternmaker could write out:

Stockinette stitch for 2 rows

  1. RS: *K1, K2tog, YO, K1, YO, SSK, K4, rep from *
  2. WS: *P3, Sl1PWYIF, P6, rep from *
  3. RS: *K1, K2tog, YO, K1, YO, SSK, K2, bobble, K1, rep from *
  4. …and so on and so forth.

Or they could present you with a handy-dandy chart that says the same damn thing. You read a knitting chart the exact opposite of how you would read a book in the English language. In reading, we are taught to read top-to-bottom, left-to-right. In knitting, you read a chart: bottom-to-top, right-to-left. Essentially, you are reading the chart the same way you are knitting. You knit from right to left, so the chart is read the same way. The chart is read from bottom to top because that's how your work will go. Think of it as a game of Frogger.

You remember Frogger, right?

You always take your frog up the screen. He works up towards his goal. Same goes for chart knitting. Unless someone says you should do otherwise, you will always work UP. The chart that accompanies will tell you what all the symbols mean. And, if it doesn't, most charts are pretty universal, but if you are completely stumped, well, here.

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