Fiber Fool

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Choosing Unisex/Boy-Friendly Colors for a Sundog Sweater

Filed under: Knitting, Knitting Patterns, Apparel, Designing — Kristi at 8:48 am on Thursday, August 13, 2009

Detail of Children's Yoked Pullover Sweater

I do not believe I ever posted here about my most recent Twist Collective pattern. The Summer Issue was released while I was in MN with limited connectivity and I had so many pictures to share from the trip that my Sundog Sweater kind of fell through the cracks. I’ll be remedying that for a bit as my friend, Amanda, will be working on one for her two boys.

The goal for this design was a fun to knit, but relatively quick project that works well for both boys and girls. Everyone I know who has had children in the last 5 years has had boys. We all know there are tons of fun girl patterns out there, but it can be more difficult to find a fun boy pattern. I felt a splash of handpainted yarn would spice things up a bit without the result being overly flashy or needing to worry about breaking up any pooling or flashing. I also wanted a design that could grow with the child(ren) and get more than one season’s worth of wear out of it. This inspired the fold-back cuffs on the sweater. Many children grow taller, getting longer arms and torsos without gaining much in circumference. Since the sweater has no shaping, I suggest knitting the sleeves and torso to the perfect length right now, then add the extra border. The cuff border is knit with the wrong side out so when folded back it matches the yoke and bottom body, but the wrong side of the stitch pattern is pretty as well so the following year the cuffs can be worn without folding back. Of course it is knit from the top down so you could also rip back and add more length to either portion as well! The really adventurous could even add more circumference to the sweater by steeking it at the sides and adding in gusset panels!

Sundog Sweater SwatchIn my original proposal swatch I chose a yarn with short lengths of many colors for the handpainted yarn and a coordinating solid that appeared in the multi-color yarn. This created a softer look to the striping - almost a watercolor look. For the look in the magazine coordinating, but not matching colors were chosen. That is the look I would recommend for yarn with longer lengths of a given color (generally commercial handpaints with 4 or fewer distinct hues).

Possible Color Combo for Boy-Friendly Sundog Possible Color Combo for Boy-Friendly Sundog
Possible Color Combo for Boy-Friendly Sundog Possible Color Combo for Boy-Friendly Sundog
1. Solid - Denim; Multi - Andersonville. 2. Solid - Chocolate; Multi - Jeans. 3. Solid - Chocolate; Multi - Envy. 4. Solid - Chocolate; Multi - Andersonville.

The magazine sample is of course in girl colors, but the sweater works equally well in unisex or boy colors. These are a few of the boy-friendly color options available in-stock at My Sister Knits. I apologize for the photos not being my usual quality. I needed to send the images to Amanda to ring in on her preference so it was easiest to take them with my phone. These aren’t all of the possible combos. Originally I had ordered the solid from the first picture (Denim) with the multi-color (Jeans) in the second photo. Upon seeing them in person I realized they were a near perfect match in color and that color was probably a good 1/3 of the skein. That was going to be much too matchy and obscure the work that goes into the stitch pattern in the yoke. Any of the above combos would work. It just comes down to personal preference.

In general the yoke pattern will pop more if the solid is a complimentary color of one of the predominant hues in the handpaint yarn like the sample in the magazine (red and green are complimentary colors and pink is a tint of red). If you are not confident in choosing a non-matching handpaint to go with a solid or you want a little more subtle look to the yoke and borders you may wish to choose an analogous solid color of similar value to the handpaint.

Of course you are not locked into using only Lorna’s Laces. There are a wide variety of yarns being used for the sweater. You just need the pretty standard worsted weight gauge of 5 sts and 7 rnds per inch. Lorna’s Laces is a great choice as it very soft, is superwash (a requirement of mine for kid knitting) and they dye coordinating multi-colors and semi-solids. Many of the great indie dyers would also have working color combos in the proper gauge.

Stay tuned for some guest blog posts from Amanda as she works on the sweater. Her first one will tell you which color combo we went with! Which of those four combos would you choose?


Comment by Mia

August 13, 2009 @ 9:30 am

It would have been nice to see the sweater in Twist in boy or unisex colors. And on a boy. To many people can’t see beyond the colors in a model or how it looks on a model.

I am going to have my niece look at this pattern and see if she would wear it. She is beginning knitter but I am not sure about the sizing since she is 13 and her body is gradually changing. I may look at some neutral colors and knit one for my 4 year old nephew. But given that it takes me forever to knit a sweater, I will knit it large.

Comment by HeatherOutsideBOS

August 13, 2009 @ 11:38 am

Thank you for showing your original swatch, and these other color combinations. My favorite is #2 (Chocolate and Jeans), but #3 (Chocolate and Envy) is a close second — on my monitor the Chocolate in #3 looks purple.

Comment by Carrie K

August 13, 2009 @ 4:07 pm

Cute pattern! I’d've chosen the top left due to my orange/blue love.

Those peaches look delicious and now I want pancakes.

Glad to hear Emma is coming ’round and Brandon is getting used to Drew!

Comment by cyndy

August 14, 2009 @ 6:24 am

Nice post–and a great unisex pattern…if I had my choice, I’d pick #2, no make that #3…wait, #1…oh heck, they all look great!

Comment by Julie

August 19, 2009 @ 9:57 am

I have made this for my 11 month old grandson in blues. I’m on Ravelry as sewknitful. I have also cast on for my 4 year old grandson in brown colourways. After that, a girlie on for 19 month old granddaughter. Great pattern - thanks a lot!

Comment by Sue Jackson

September 20, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

Kristi, I love this pattern and am working on it now, but have a question. When doing the raglan set up, the instructions say the round begins at the back right raglan. So, what I thought was the center back is now the back right raglan? Then, after dividing body/sleeves, the end of round marker is “moved” to the center left underarm. How do I move the end of the round without knitting there? Sorry, getting ready to divide and am a bit confused.
By the way, I’m using a light orange for the MC that complements the Lorna’s laces beautifully, and it’s bright and cheery, too. I like the green you used best, but my granddaughter doesn’t love green like I do.

Comment by Kristi

September 22, 2009 @ 9:51 am

With the yoke construction the beginning of the round can be anywhere. If it retains the yoke structure through the entire yoke it may often be placed at the center back. But, the fit is more comfortable and resists distortion of the yoke patterning if you do the last 1-2 inches of the yoke with raglan increases as this sweater does. It is traditional in raglan constructions to have the beginning of the round along one of the back raglan lines so that is what I have done for the yoke in Sundog.

Again, following standard conventions, once the sleeves are set off the start of round is placed at an underarm. This is frequently done on raglan, yoke and other constructions. On the round where the sleeves are getting set aside you will end up knitting a portion of the round twice to move the start of round. Because when we knit in the round we actually get what is commonly referred to as an archimedes screw rather than distinct rows you can move the start of a round with no significant visual consequence.

Comment by Julie

October 6, 2009 @ 11:31 am

I think this is a terrific sweater pattern for kids. Thanks for your great work!

Comment by Kim

October 16, 2009 @ 10:45 am

Thanks for the article - I followed the path here from the one on the Twist blog. I was wondering if you could tell us what the yarn for the original swatch was? I just love the jeweled look.

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