Sophie Kingo Blogs

Insight into Sophie Kingo's African-Scandinavian inspired clothing and accessories


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Baby knits – pom pom beanie

If there’s one thing babies need (there isn’t by the way – babies need shed loads of stuff), it’s lots of hats.

Finlay received a lovely 6 month sized hat and cardi combo from the mum of one of the kids at the hubby’s school when he was born. But other than that, he’d grown out of his newborn hats well before the cooler weather struck. With autumn really setting in, a warm hat is a must for Finlay’s walks in the buggy and swings in the park.

I bought Max and Bodhi’s Wardrobe pattern ebook from Tin Can Knits, which included the lovely cardi pattern I shared last time. I was planning on making the Bumble beanie. However, after realising I would need to go and buy myself 3.75mm and 6.5mm 40cm circular needles and 6.5mm double pointed needles (plus extras a little larger in case my gauge came out small as they often do) I decided against it. I couldn’t be doing with the expense. But more importantly, with no decent knitting shop in Walthamstow and the desire to get going with the knit as soon as possible setting in, I didn’t want to wait for an online delivery or make my way to John Lewis in Stratford City hoping they had the right sizes in stock.

Instead, I reclaimed a lovely little baby knitting book from my sister – Sarah Hatton’s 10 Simple Projects for Cosy Babies – so I could knit the Moss Stitch Hat. I love this pattern. It’s quick and easy and leaves you with a great little hat. I have made this hat a few times now for various babies, including Adam and Oliver, two lovely little boys up north in my hometown of Hull. And I think it’s always a hit.

I bought yarn from Drops again. I think Drops merino yarns are great value, great quality yarns. And with no synthetic fibres, they’re warm and cosy and lovely to knit with (Just an FYI – I hate synthetic yarns. I just don’t get the appeal. They’re scratchy and shiny, look cheap and are just not as warm. I don’t wear synthetic fibres, so why would I use them for my baby? They’re also not enjoyable to knit with.)

This hat required a double knit yarn, rather than the 4 ply Finlay’s cardigan required, so I bought Merino Extra Fine in mustard and north sea.

I knitted the main body of the hat in mustard and added an oversized pom pom in the contrasting teal, made using a cardboard ring like this one, to avoid the annoying, time consuming stuffing yarn through a hole over and over again method of days of yore. Boy, did that use a lot of yarn?!

I think it works. And Finlay loves it too!

Next up – switching the colours.

 

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Baby knits – cardigan

Colourblock cardiganBefore Finlay was born, I started knitting some cute little newborn trousers and a tank top in gorgeous baby cotton. For several reasons – baby coming a bit early, illness and finding our feet as new parents – I didn’t get these items finished until Finlay could no longer fit into them unfortunately.

Since then, I had done some crochet; crochet being much easier to pick up, do while breastfeeding, and put down again. But now, after six months of getting to grips with our new life as a family, I have finally found the time to knit. My first project? A cardigan. I love cardigans for babies. They’re practical, easy to put on and take off and so damn cute. Finlay already had a few cardigans in his wardrobe – four from his Mormor and one from the mum of one of the hubby’s students (you can see those, on Instagram at #knitsforfinlay) – but as we’re now going into winter and Finlay continues to grow, he needs more.

I came across the Playdate cardigan from Tin Can Knits on Ravelry and thought it looked lovely. It was also seamless, meaning no annoying sewing up of different parts after all the knitting – my least favourite part of knitting clothes. But it did involve a couple of new methods that I had never tried before – pockets, and sleeves using double pointed needles.

I wanted to make the cardigan in a colourblock design and chose Drops Baby Merino in four bright colours – orange, vibrant green, turquoise and electric blue – suitably not babyish, nor particularly boyish. After choosing in what combination to use the colours I made a start. And after a good few hours of knitting, hey presto – a super cute cardi for a super cute baby. Even if I do say so myself. And for just approximately £5 in yarn and a few evenings of knitting.

Roll on the next one.


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Knitted dress – Rowan Tammie

Back in late summer 2013 I treated myself to some Rowan Lima yarn. And it was a treat by the price it cost! I wanted to knit the Tammie “ribbed sweater” from Rowan Studio Issue 28, but knew there was no way I could knit it in the required Kid Classic as I can’t tolerate wearing lambswool or mohair – I find them far too itchy. So I chose the Lima, a soft and lightweight baby alpaca and merino wool yarn, instead. The gauge is pretty similar and I just made sure I did a gauge swatch to get the right tension.

I also knew I wanted to make some changes to the Tammie. For a start, the version on the model – being a “sweater” – was too short as a dress, even thought they styled it as one. Secondly, I didn’t like the sleeves. So I bought enough of the main colour to lengthen it by several centimetres and decided to end with the second colour as cap sleeves.

But I took too long to get the Tammie dress going, and by spring was no where near half way through the second side. So I put it away and waited for autumn to come round again. By this September I was 10 weeks pregnant and worried that I wouldn’t fit into the dress anymore, but I decided to continue to make it anyway and see how it went. It was, after all ribbed which would stretch over a growing bump. But then I picked up my crochet hook and started crocheting a baby blanket – more on that later – and the Tammie dress got sidelined again.

However, come November I was back onto the dress (which, being dark purple and a plaited yarn was quite tricky to work with on a cosy evening in Walthamstow with the nights drawing in) and finally completed it just after Christmas. Here it is. Complete with 26 week bump.

Knitted dress 2 Knitted dress

knitted dress 3


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AKBK and his duffel coat

In December, my third nephew was born. Welcome to the work AKBK.

I had knitted the obligatory newborn hat, but come the new year I wanted to knit him something else. Some time ago, my sister gave me Essential Baby from Debbie Bliss and I had, of course, fallen in love with so many items. One piece I particularly loved was the duffel coat. So, I bought some very fitting green (AKBK is half Irish, half Ghanaian) double top cotton from Texere Yarns and got to knitting.

I found the tension difficult to get right and ended up having to knit tightly using 3.25mm needles to get the right gauge. So, after enduring a few weeks of knitting away, the tendons in my hands were pretty sore and achy. I didn’t end up adding pockets – what 3-month-old has anything to put in their pockets? – and I added lovely purple and green west African print fabric covered buttons to finish it off.

This was my second small-person knitted proper item of clothing (the first being a cardigan for my niece L2) and I’m not sure I’ll make another in a hurry. I love Debbie Bliss designs, but I often find them hard work to complete, much prefering Sirdar or Rowan patterns generally.

But, this duffel coat’s gorgeous and AKBK looks adorable in it, so I’m happy enough. I just hope he doesn’t grow out of it too quickly and my sister-in-law keeps hold of it for future BK/ Hostick-Boakye kids 😉

AKBK and his duffel coat


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Sewing Christmas presents

As well as knitting Christmas presents for 2012, I also sewed a few.

For nieces L1 and L2 for Christmas 2009, before Ls 3 & 4 came along, I made named bunting. These have been hanging in their room ever since. But L3 and L4 have been missing theirs. So 2012 was the year. I gathered together a range of fabrics and tasked Jeffrey to draw the letters while I cut out the flags.

Here they are in progress and complete:

Making buntingBunting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also wanted to sew something for my Mum for Christmas and had been meaning to sew myself a knitting needle roll for some time, so thought my Mum could also do with one. I browsed the internet for inspiration and amalgamated a few I came across to come up with these. Each one is made using a range of African print fabrics and has two different height pockets – a taller line of pockets for straight pins and a shorter line for circulars, haberdashery needles, stitch holders, scissors, etc.:

Knitting needle roll for me

Knitting needle roll for me

Knitting needle roll for my mum

Knitting needle roll for my mum


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Some knitted Christmas presents for 2012

Hats

As you may know, I often make Christmas presents for people. Especially for the many nieces and nephews. Here’s what I made in 2011.

I have knitted several hats for L1 and L2 in the past, but in the run up to Christmas 2011 L1, who was five at the time, said to me, “Aunty Sophie, I don’t want clothes anymore”. So when it came to her sixth birthday it was slightly entertaining to see L1 quite unimpressed with some of her presents.

But one day this autumn, when the family popped round to ours, L1 asked me to knit her another hat, this time “a plain dark blue one with no flowers or anything”. L2 then piped up saying she would like a yellow one. So, I used some of the remaining navy yarn from my Acer cardigan for L1’s hat, and bought some amber Sirdar Baby Bamboo yarn For L2’s.

I used the trusty Sirdar Tiny Tots Essentials beret pattern and knitted two large berets that could accommodate L1 and L2’s Afro hair. L1’s beret ended up somewhat neater than L2’s, as I much prefer knitting with the rougher merino wool yarn than the silkier bamboo and wool yarn. Especially when using plastic circular needles. But I understand L2 was more than happy with her hat. So much so, that when P, the girls’ mother, put L2’s hat on L1 the other day, L2 wasted no time in moaning that L1 “is wearing my hat. Yellow is my favourite colour. Aunty Sophie knitted the yellow hat for me”.

L2 and L1 in their berets

L2 and L1 in their berets

L1 in her navy blue beret

L1 in her navy blue beret

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, of course, there’s the new addition to the family. The third nephew – baby A – entered the world on 19th December 2012. The obligatory Aunty Sophie new born hat was called for and I knitted up a lovely little white and silver moss stitch hat made from Sirdar Baby Bamboo. I amalgamated a couple of patterns from the Sirdar Tiny Tots Essentials pattern book to make this white moss stitch hat with silver brim.

Starting the hat for baby A

Starting the hat for baby A

Hat for baby A

Hat for baby A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bazz Man Doll

What with 20 month old OKBK getting a baby brother for Christmas, I thought it’d be nice to knit him up a little toy. For my last birthday my sister bought me Jujus Loops knitting book from the lovely knitting shop Loop in Angel. I’ve struggled with and given up on a lovely hat pattern in the book, but noticed a great pattern for knitted dolls – Bertie – which I thought I could easily rustle up out of scraps of yarn knocking about the flat.

So, I chose a variety of double knit yarns in navy, grey, white and maroon marl to create this lovely fella while watching Forbrydelsen on telly one Saturday evening. By the time I’d finished the him, Jeffrey and I saw a close affinity between him and O’s dad, with his hands in his pocket, baggy jeans, and Paul Smith-esque jumpers. So, we had to call him Bazz Man. He lived about our flat for a few weeks and when it came time to pass him on it was quite a shame. But I’m hoping OKBK appreciates him.

Here he is prior to stuffing and hanging out in the rosemary:

Bazz Man in progress

Bazz Man in progress

Bazz Man in the rosemary

Bazz Man in the rosemary


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Cardigan number two

photo (13)

I got the cardigan knitting bug after finishing a beautiful Acer cardigan in November and straight away started on a Lady Marple cardigan. And I finished it in Hull, just before Christmas.

Unlike the Acer, which had a cable pattern back and was made using a double knit (light worsted/8 ply) merino wool yarn, Lady Marple had a plain back and was made using heavier aran (worsted/10 ply) merino wool yarn, so was much quicker to complete.

I had to learn a new knitting technique for this one. It’s completely seamless, meaning I had to pick up and knit short rows for the upper arm then knit the arms in the round using the magic loop method. In the image accompanying the pattern the top of the sleeves have a rippled effect due to an uneven tension in the knit/purl rows. I tend to find keeping an even tension hard in some yarn when knitting in stocking stitch – my purl is always looser than my knit – but am very pleased to see no ripple effect, despite the fiddliness of short rows into the arm hole bind off stitches.

Apart from that, the button band is a little tight, and I should have probably picked up a few more stitches, but I’m very happy with this cardigan too. But with the weather so mild at the moment, such a  thick wool cardigan is feeling a little bit too warm.

Come on January. Throw the elements at us. I want to wear my new cardigan.

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