Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Last Minute Handmade Gift: the mini sweater

This is the first year in a very long time that I will be spending the holidays in the city. It will also be the first year that I will be spending the holidays with my in-laws. To mark this occasion I decided to break my only one handmade gift a year rule (you all knew I was going to do that anyway, didn’t you?)

The mini sweater ornament is one of my all time favorite holiday handmade gifts. I loosely based the pattern off of ornaments we had growing up. Because I hate sewing in ends with a passion I designed it to be made with no thread breaks and the ends can be used to sew up the sides. My families original mini sweater ornaments all have their initials beaded on the front which make them very sophisticated. But you can leave them plan or embroider something too.

As a little holiday gift to you I thought I would give you all the pattern. Once you get the hang of the pattern each sweater takes about 30 minutes. There is no gauge for this project, I use up the bit and pieces left over from other projects. I usually use a worsted weight yarn and about a size 6 needle. But Bulky is fine too or you can double DK weight. WARNING: this is an oddly addictive project!

Row 1: Cast on 14sts
Row 2: knit
Row 3: knit
Row 4: knit
Row 5: purl
Row 6: knit
Row 7: purl
Row 8: knit
Row 9: purl
Row 10: knit
Row 11: add 7 stitches with loop method, purl across 21 sts
Row 12: add 7 stitches with loop method, knit across 28 sts
Row 13: purl
Row 14: knit
Row 15: purl 10 sts cast off eight purl 10 sts
Row 16: (right arm) knit 10
Row 17: turn purl 10
Row 18: knit 10 jump over to other sleeve and knit 10 sts for left arm (leave approximately 1 ½ worth of yarn between the two arms, this will become the hanger for the sweater- see photo below)
Row 19: purl 10
Row 20: turn knit 10
Row 21: purl 10 add 8 sts with the loop method purl 10 sts of other arm
Row 22: knit across 28 sts
Row 23: purl
Row 24: knit
Row 25: purl
Row 26: cast off 7 sts knit to end (21 sts total)
Row 27: cast off 7 sts purl to end (14 sts total)
Row 28: knit
Row 29: purl
Row 30: knit
Row 31: purl
Row 32: knit
Row 33: purl
Row 34: knit
Row 35: knit
Row 36: knit
Row 37: cast off

the one tricky bit to the mini sweater is the jump over in the middle (row 18). Basically you have created two sleeves with a neck whole in the center of the sweater, by jumping over the neck whole from the right sleeve to the left you are creating the hanger for the mini sweater.

In order to assure that you have enough yarn as you hanger I usually wrap the yarn over my right hand an then pick up the sts on the left needle creating a long loop in between the two sleeves.

Happy Holidays!

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