Sunday, August 04, 2013

Ahoy Little-Pete!

Some designs just grow magically together, and others don't. Sometimes you think your head is full of ideas, which is always good, but when you start pulling them out, you realize that that is just what they are, vain ideas, nothing to grab onto, they work beautifully as ideas, but in real world they are worth nothing. This is the case with me with most of my ideas, very, very few of them work. Sometimes when you try out the idea and you realize that it does not work, it might spark something totally different, something that you never thought of, something that was not living amongst those first ideas. Sometimes when you try out the idea and although it looks like nothing, you know there is something there hiding, and you need to give it time, it might require days or even months and it will resolve its problems and grow into a piece that you like. At times you have parameters to work on and even though free spirits hate restrictions, parameters might end up being the best thing ever.

When I began working on this little baby jacket, I set myself a playground area that I was not allowed to leave.
- It had to match the Little-Pete hat.
- It had to be striped, knit with two colors.
- There are so many beautiful patterns out there for baby girls, I wanted to work on something for a little lad. (Even though this is a newborn size jacket.)

Here are the steps (at least some of them) that led me to the final version...
This is the basic pattern in the hat and here in stripes it is a powerful pattern, it takes the stage, so why not let it and make it the main feature, the overall pattern.
How about adding a piping to the cardigan and breaking the main pattern a bit, stripes in a different way.

Garter stitch is such a workhorse, it stays where it is meant to, so it has its rightful place at the hem. There won't be curling, it does not need anything extra to do its job. But would that be little boring just as it is? As garter stitch is so stable, you can really sculpt with it, you can carve into it or add to it, and it will just stay even and nice. There had to be something I could do with it. I tried to keep the little man in my head and not to be carried away and searched for details in men's clothing. I kept looking at suits and their back sides and there it was, the answer: little tails, or sort of.
Sleeves were not that difficult, there had to be little stockinette to tie the design to the stockinette visor. This is the first version that cleared my thinking and told me how the sleeve should be.
Once I decided that I wanted raglan shaping for the upper body, the neck treatment was the most difficult thing to work on. I ripped the neck many times but finally decided to go with a very simple way and I think that it is the best.
Once all that was thought through I knit the jacket. I looked and looked at it and the texture started to blur in my eyes and it was like a storm at sea and there it was! The feel, it was meant to be a little seafarer's jacket. Should there be an anchor, or a wheel or a sailing boat?
(I had to try the sailing boat. It is not included in the pattern.)

So often my work ends up being tedious, I wanted to make something knitter friendly, but still interesting. What about a rope? If anything the sailor needs to know his knots and needs to perfect them making them over and over again.
There you have it, little sailor's jacket.
(I have added little bit of A-line shaping for the body, to give extra room for diaper but to not have too much bulk around under arms, and I don't think this affects the masculine feel of the jacket. And you know what, there are plenty of women at sea too. I, myself, used to be an radio officer in my former life, eons ago, so in the end, I would make this for a baby girl as well.)
If you already have the Pikku-Pete hat pattern, you should automatically have this in your inbox. I hope you enjoy knitting it. (I sent an update via Ravelry, the old hat file has remained the same, this is a new file. No need to upload the old file again. )

And if you don't have the hat pattern, you can get both the hat and the jacket in my Ravelry store.

Wool with you,


  1. Very nice pattern! And I lika your words on the creative process - right on spot!

  2. That is so lovely - you never cease to amaze me!

  3. Gretchen15:16

    What a wonderful jacket! I have two boys, and it is so nice to see something for the young men. I also found your insight into creativity interesting. I have not done any designing, so thank you for explaining some of your process. It makes me value the work more.

  4. Oh my, Lene! You always surprise me with your skills! It's the little detailed touches that appeals to my artistic sense...Now, if I had the skills to knit this way...
    God bless,

  5. Your attention to detail is second to none. It is what lifts your designs to another level. this is so sweet, so clever. I love it.

  6. Lene, this is truly amazing, such a wonderful project for a little boy.

  7. What a wonderful surprise, to receive this beautiful jacket pattern! Thank you.

  8. technikat on ravelry06:15

    That's are really lovely pattern! Thank you for sharing your creative process too.

  9. I love that little cardigan, looking so simple, yet with those details that makes it special.

  10. I love it! My little sailor man is already more than a year old, but I dare say this will size up easily with sport-weight wool instead of fingering. I was already planning to do that with the hat because it's too cute not to have one large enough for his second winter. I do have (and adore) the hat pattern but didn't get the update... maybe because I changed my Ravelry ID since then from bluegarter to whistlinggirl?

  11. Anonymous23:29


  12. The little sweater is darling. So is the hat. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and talents. It is so nice to see a pattern for a little boy.

  13. Anonymous12:53

    just wonderful. very very pretty indeed.

  14. Oh my - so sweet - and so worth the wait. I have been watching for the pattern since you first posted about this sweet sweater. I am currently working on sweaters for new baby girls - but will be casting this on soon.

  15. Beth in Maryland19:42

    Absolutely adorable!

  16. So sweet and smart and charming. The details are one of a kind.

  17. Anonymous20:46

    This is so charming I may have to knit it and then kidnap a baby!!

  18. Anonymous11:24

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  19. Millie03:17


    How lovely. Unfortunately, my little guy (first and probably only grandchild)is now 8 months old so it wouldn't fit him even if I was a fast knitter!

    How did you make the red and white roping? Is it yarn that was just twisted?


  20. so detailed-and I love the little sail boat! Thanks for walking us through your design process.

  21. Absolutely precious. I love hearing of your process. Keep designing for boys of all ages. We need more.

  22. Gorgeous. Love all the details.

  23. Anonymous06:49

    Hi, Lene!
    How was your Summer in the tent with the stove and fireplace to be cooking on? Toronto in Canada had quite a few heat alerts when the humidex was above 40C. (this is the combined heat and humidity). September which is nearly finished has been quite pleasant being in the 20C, chilly at night, down to 3C but usually sunny all day.I'm missing your Arctic reports of what's going on. Also you knitting,toy making, embroidery and beading. Too busy to be posting? We miss you and hope you are well but quite busy with these artistic pursuits.I'm knitting a shawl (Rose Bud designed by Tin Can Knits in Ravelry also a sock because it's not lace). Hope to hear from you soon, even before the snow!

  24. Anonymous15:38

    Hi there! Wishing you and yours are doing well from a world away! I do so enjoy reading your posts and seeing your beautiful, inimitable style.


  25. Jeannie04:17

    Please don't ever stop writing and sharing your beautiful photos. Yours is a unique and beautiful voice that I love. I check everyday to see if you have updated the blog and am thrilled when you have and continue waiting in anticipation when you haven't. You knit, craft, and write thoughtfully and beautifully and I am so grateful that you are willing to share it with me. Thank you!

    Bellingham, Washington

  26. Wow!! That is so darling! And I loved reading through the process, tho I could never knit it. Can't wait to see more! xxoo. Joanne