I recently finished Welcome to the Flock, an adorable baby cardigan by Julia Farwell-Clay. I saw a finished version in green in the Ravelry notebook of one of my friends and instantly fell in love. The pattern, available for download from Ravelry here, includes a matching hat, which I may knit in the future. There appears to also be an adult version of the cardigan, so if you want to be all matchy-matchy with the baby in your life, here’s your chance.
I settled on the 6-month size. This baby is due in January and will live in Kenya, where the barely chillier months come in what we Americans traditionally think of as the summer. I’m hoping this sweater will get lots of use then.
As I said, I fell madly in love with this pattern and bought it almost immediately. Fortunately, I had just done a major stash reorganization, and because all of my yarn was present in my mind and updated in my Ravelry queue, I realized I already had all the yarn I needed. If it weren’t for that timing, I probably would have ordered yarn. As it is, I was delighted to stash bust.
Yarns and Tools
I used less than a skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight in the color Just Right Red. I believe I acquired a few skeins of this from The Fold booth at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival a few years ago – this perfect shade of red-orange sucks me in like a moth to a flame, and I have a pair of Cookie A’s amazing Rick socks that I knit out of the same stuff back in April 2009 that are still going strong. As I said, I love this color, and I think it will work for either a boy or girl baby.
For the black, I used Cascade Yarns Heritage Solids & Quatro Colors left over from socks I made for my mother-in-law about a year ago. She wears and washes her socks a lot, so they haven’t had an easy life, but I was a little disappointed to see how much the yarn had pilled in just a year. In any case, this yarn was a lighter weight than the Socks that Rock, so I held it double to make the sheep legs and faces, which worked perfectly.
Finally, for the white, I used leftover Knit Picks Bare – Superwash Merino DK Weight. This is the third project in which this skein has featured, most recently as the yarn for the Modern Baby Bonnet that this baby will wear home from the hospital. This yarn is a little heavier weight than the Socks that Rock, but it just has the effect of making the sheep look a little fluffy, which I think is delightful.
This knit up really quickly, in less than a week, with US size 6 (4mm) circular needles for the body and dpns for the sleeves. It’s a classic bottom-up cardigan, with the body knit to the armpits, the sleeves knit separately, and then all three pieces joined together on a circular needle and worked up to make the sweet sheepy yoke. Like all color work, this is a pattern that definitely requires blocking. For buttons, I chose simple black ones. Some people who saw the work in progress suggested I use sheep buttons, but I thought that might be overkill.
If you look at the original pattern, all the sheep march in one direction. Call it OCD, but this bothered me. I ended up modifying the pattern so that once I got halfway around the yoke to the center of the back, I flipped the sheep so they faced the other way. (I used a stitch marker at that midway point to remind myself when to flip.) You’ll see that my sheep all face in toward the button band. This would work with two of the five sizes, because those sizes call for an even number of sheep in each of the two lines. However, if you were making one of the other sizes and this bothered you as much as it did me, you could have one line of sheep going one direction and the other line heading the other way so you’d still feel balanced overall.
In general, I can’t get over how much I love this sweater. I can’t wait to have this baby be born and grow into it and will make sure to post pictures of my newest knitwear model when that day comes.