Posted by: jinniver | May 12, 2010

Handspun Pinafore

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  If so, I hope one of my friends from the Three Irish Girls group is feeling sufficiently flattered.

A few months ago, she posted one of the most adorable tops I’ve ever seen.  It was a lacy top meant to be worn over t-shirt or tank top, with just one button at the top to give the top a nice A-line and lots of swing.  But what really caught my eye was the yarn she used (not an uncommon occurrence when 3IG yarn is involved).  The main yarn was a gorgeous variegated red, orange and yellow, and the trim was a deep, bright red.  The colorways turned out to be Fiona and a coordinating semisolid in crimson.  I immediately headed to the website to put in my order…

…and then realized that it would be a good idea to actually have the pattern in order to figure out how much yarn to buy.

The pattern was the Handspun Pinafore (or, for those not on Ravelry, you can see it here).  $9 is a bit more than I usually spend on a single pattern, especially one that really is fairly simple (the lace pattern is just Feather and Fan) but in this case I thought it was worth it because of the large range of sizes (1-12) and how cute and flexible the top was.  And I liked the method used to get that A-line look, so I was quite happy with my purchase.

With the pattern in hand (or more accurately, on my computer), I zipped back to the 3IG site.  Based on the yardages given, I did follow the designer’s advice to err on the side of caution and ordered 2 skeins of Fiona to make sure I had enough.  But at this point my brain had finally settled down from the inital “I have to have that!” frenzy, and I got to thinking.  Fiona would be gorgeous on my niece, who has beautiful golden brown curls.  But my little blue-eyed blonde would look great in blues…and I got to wondering if Sharon has a green/blue/purple colorway to finish the rainbow started by the red/orange/yellow Fiona.  And she does:  Irish Sea.  After some thought, I chose the purple for the coordinating semisolid.

I loved the yarn as soon as it arrived, but I had to put it aside to finish a few other projects first.  Late last month, I cast on for Stella’s Flaming Pinafore.  As always, I had to go up a couple needle sizes to get gauge, and since the shaping of the pinafore is dependent upon sizing up the needles as you go, I realized my needle collection was lacking.  The span of needle sizes I needed, using the needles I had on hand, was US10, US10.5, US11, US13, and US15.  But that meant I was going to increase my needle size by .5mm (from US10 – 10.5), then by 1.5mm (US10.5 – 11), then by 1mm twice (US11 – 13 – 15).  That bugged me.

Fortunately, I was using my KnitPicks Harmony interchangeable circular needles set, and KP sells a US10.75–which, at 7mm, is .5mm larger than the 10.5 and 1mm smaller than the 11.  Adding the US10.75 would make for a much smoother increase in stitch sizes.  So I ordered 2 sets of the US10.75 and cast on with the Fiona Crimson on my US10s.  I figured if I reached the point where I needed the US10.75s before they arrived, I could just go ahead and cast on for Lexie’s Waterfall Pinafore…

…and that’s what ended up happening.  Fortunately.

It wasn’t until I was halfway through the yoke on Lexie’s pinafore that I realized I’d screwed up Stella’s.  I’d missed just one line in the pattern, but it had resulted in a yoke half as wide as it was supposed to be.  And at this point, I’d already knit the entire bodice of Stella’s pinafore.

At this point, I said several of those words I don’t say in front of my children (not since Jeffrey, at age 2, repeated something I thought I’d said under my breath) and found myself facing a dilemma: accept the thinner straps created by knitting half the yoke, or rip the whole thing?  I chose option c:  finish Lexie’s pinafore and then decide.  The same day I reached the point where I needed the US10.75 needle tips, they arrived in the mail, which I thought validated my decision.

Five days after I started, I had a finished top…and my answer.

Waterfall Pinafore (9)

Waterfall Pinafore (10)

Project: Waterfall Pinafore
Pattern: Handspun Pinafore
Yarn: Three Irish Girls Springvale Super Merino, in Irish Sea, approx 210 yds, and Irish Sea Purple (custom coordinating semisolid), approx 75 yds
Needles: US10, 10.5, 10.75, 11, and 13 KnitPicks Harmony circs

It was clear to me that the straps were just too thin on the other pinafore.  So I took a deep breath and undid all of my knitting.  I got the yoke and one of the fronts done and then headed to my Monday knit group.  I started and finished the back there and was trying to figure out where to cast on the the other front when I realized…I’d put the back on backwards.

Fortunately, the kids weren’t around to hear what I had to say then.

It took some more undoing and redoing, but it was all worthwhile.

Flaming Pinafore (8)

Flaming Pinafore (1)

Project: Flaming Pinafore
Pattern: Handspun Pinafore
Yarn: Three Irish Girls Springvale Super Merino, in Fiona, approx 210 yds, and Fiona Crimson (custom coordinating semisolid), approx 75 yds
Needles: US10, 10.5, 10.75, 11, and 13 KnitPicks Harmony circs

The only thing I was missing was a button for each of them.  I knew I wanted coordinating buttons, and for some reason, I really wanted flowers.  I found exactly want I wanted at the local Jo-Ann’s.

sunflower and pansy button

Waterfall Pinafore (14)

Flaming Pinafore (9)

Now, I only had one problem.  I knit the blue one for Lexie and the red one for my niece Stella…but Lexie looked beautiful in both of them.  Fortunately, that problem was easily solved.  I’d bought 2 skeins of each variegated colorway…and I used less than one.  So I have enough to knit 2 more pinafores.  Usually the idea of knitting the same pattern multiple times would be off-putting…but I really can’t wait to cast on.



  1. Seriously… Lexie looks beautiful in everything!! And she’s so cute, I actually check out the knitting second! ( only a knitter would understand what a compliment that is)

  2. Lexie, of course, looks gorgeous in just about everything she models… 🙂

  3. Gorgeous knitting, as always! I keep saying I will not get sucked into another craft, and you post something else like this… you’re going to get me in trouble, Jen!

  4. Your daughter is adorable and the pinafores and so cute. You did an awesome job.


%d bloggers like this: