FO: Bubble & Squeak

FO: Bubble & Squeak

Over the weekend I decided to knit a little cardigan with the remnants of three shades of Drops Baby Merino in Ice Blue, Lavender and Navy using the Little Bubbles pattern. As it was knitted with the three yarns left over from completing the Snuggly Bums Trousers, Perfect Stripes Cardigan and Bumpy Baby Jumper I came to think of it rather  like the dish Bubble & Squeak: made from leftovers.
The pattern is simply written, with the exception of the stitch pattern used for the ‘bubbles’ section around the neckline, which is perhaps a little clumsily described. A stitch in one of the contrasting shades of blue (in this case the Lavender and Navy blues) is dropped down four rows to the first stitch of the background colour (Ice Blue). The left needle can then be inserted through this stitch and underneath the resulting strands of the drops contrast stitches, and the stitch knit as usual, which feels as if you are knitting the whole lot together. This bundles together all of the background strands to draw them together and upwards at the rear of the work, preventing any loose stranding that could catch around small baby fingers and also improving the appearance of the stitch.
I knit the cardigan with several modifications, including reducing the number of colours used from five to just three, to make use of the yarn that I already had.

The original version had very wide sleeves which looked disproportionate to the body of the cardigan, so I made an alteration to the numbers used when dividing the count of stitches between the body and the sleeves. Having knit the smallest size, I gave 33sts  to each of the cardigan fronts (instead of 31), 36sts were put aside for each sleeve (instead of 40) cast on 4 for the underarms (instead of 8) and gave 65 to the back of the cardigan (instead of 61). This resulted in the body having the same stitch count as per the original, due to the reduced number of stitches cast on for the underarms, but the arms carrying 8 fewer stitches once both underarm and initial sleeve numbers were taken into account.

I also shortened the sleeves from their original full length so that I had a few different sleeve options available to the baby to account for weather and situation when the baby is born. I did this by knitting three rounds of the background colour and 10 rounds of garter stitch (beginning with a purl round) before binding off in purl.
I also increased the stitch count of the picked up button bands to 58sts and gave five equally spaced buttonholes instead of the four in the pattern which left a large un-buttoned section at the bottom of the band, spaced as so:
K4, *3st buttonhole, K8; Repeat from * three more times, 3st buttonhole, K5. I knit the buttonholes with a contrast placeholder yarn and overcast these to finish them once the cardigan was knit, but in hindsight it was a lot of work for not a lot of effect. Though the resulting buttonholes do feel nice and stable, it would perhaps be only a technique I used for a fine-finished garment, rather than a baby knit, and would next time just cast them off one row and back on the next row, for speed and simplicity..

The only other modification I made was to change the striping sequence from the one given in the pattern. The original consists of 24 rows (in the smallest size) of single-row stripes. In the areas where the yarns used have a noticeable contrast I thought it looked quite optically challenging, so found a slightly more harmonious (to my own aesthetics) striping sequence using the three restricted palette of three shades instead of the five prescribed shades given in the pattern.

The finished cardigan is simple, but cute and was a relatively quick knit. If I were to knit it again the only further modification I would make would be to perhaps drop down a needle size of the ‘Bubbles’ rows just to neaten those up a tad more as they have lost a little of their form once the merino wool received its bath and relaxed a little.

Pattern: Little Bubbles by Nina Isaacson
Yarn: Drops Baby Merino in the shades Ice Blue, Lavender and Navy.

7 thoughts on “FO: Bubble & Squeak”

  • Baby sweaters do go fast but it seems like you whipped this one up as fast as one could make Bubble and squeak. I’m curious if you could share how you found the stripe sequence. Was that through a random stripe generator, trial and error or is there a site out there? Thank you!

    • Yes, I think this was the quickest thing I have knit in a long while… Actually, the past two little sweaters have been very quick (perhaps because I have knit them with short sleeves, so they are less fiddly with the ol’ DPNs!

      I just put the stripe sequence together with the idea to mainly have a 1,2 sequence, but knowing that to get a more or less equal weighting of each colour I’d have to either have a 1,1,1,1 sequence where the three ‘blocks’ of 2 colours met, or a 2,2 sequence. To avoid the high contrast in the single stripes I opted for the latter. I just quickly knocked up a simple image in Illustrator to replicate it in this post to give an example in case anyone wanted it for a future project 🙂

      That said, I do think that there are random stripe generators out there, but I wanted a simple pattern and progression of the shades for this (which actually saves on weaving in ends if you use a circular needle and just knit or purl from wherever the next stripe presents itself) so the first eight rows are shades A&B, the next eight are B&C, and the final 8 are C&A, which brings shade A back in to move straight through to the borders.

    • I have been very lucky. As I didn’t take any holiday for the entire year up until July, I had eight weeks paid leave to use up before I went on maternity leave. My maternity leave is set to begin on my due date, so I had those eight weeks to tack onto the front of my maternity leave, giving me this time to enjoy just decorating the house, leaving the stress of work behind and making things for the little one. If I had still been at work or had remained as ill as I had been it would have been very different for me, so I have been lucky to have these weeks to prepare my mind and home.

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