Since I made these three items as a set, I figured it would make sense to post about them all at once. I put the finishing touches on the sword last night at my fiber arts group. so it’s all finally ready to be revealed! This set was commissioned by a contact on FaceBook. It’s intended to be used for a child’s first birthday party, for props and photos. I had a hard time finding just the right patterns for everything, so I ended up modifying one and just making another up on my own.
The first piece is the Knight’s Helmet Hat. I used the Sir Knight Helmet pattern by Martina Gardiner ($5). The client wanted the blade part to come up and over the crown more than in the pattern, so I modified it. Otherwise, I made it as written for the toddler size.
The visor has sort of an odd construction, but I think it will work out all right. It does tend to pull in pretty strongly due to the color changes. If I made it again, I would work that part much more loosely. I found the coolest buttons to use for it, though:
I tried to get some modeled shots on this one year old cutie, but she wasn’t having much of it! Here’s the best I was able to get:
The visor is designed to be worn either up, as shown, or across the mouth like a real helmet. Since your average toddler isn’t likely to tolerate the latter for very long, I’m glad it’s versatile! The fit in the picture isn’t great as her head is a bit smaller than the recipient’s is. Hopefully it will fit him just right!
The second piece I made was a matching diaper cover. I used the Cheeky Soaker pattern by Megan Christensen. I made size medium based on the recipient’s waist measurement but made a couple of modifications. Since this won’t be used as a soaker, it’ll probably be worn over less bulky disposable diapers. So, I made the waistband a bit shorter and erred on the shorter side when making the rise. The pattern provides a number of different options for waistband styles. I chose to do k2p2 rib and use an I cord drawstring. I added some short rows in the butt (more details are on my project page, linked above).
One thing I really like about this (free) pattern is the ribbing on the sides and the crotch. It looks pretty cool that way and I think it will help it fit well. Here’s a shot of the side so you can see what I mean:
I used my standard stretchy cast on (Tillybuddy’s) and bind off (JSSBO) for these.
And now, the pièce de résistance: the sword. When I searched ravelry, I did actually find a few sword patterns, ranging from free to about $6. However, none of them really had the look I had in mind. After looking through hundreds of project photos, I began to get an idea for what I wanted. I knew I wanted the center of the blade to have definition and that the edges should be distinct. I started playing around with some different options and finally decided I would come up with my own pattern.
Let me just pause here to say that I’ve never designed something from scratch. I’ve modified existing patterns, sometimes heavily, but I’ve always had a starting point and an overall concept to guide me. This was something completely different. I had a lot of respect for designers before, but now it’s been firmly cemented in place!
So, I got an idea for how to start. I cast on, worked some, thought of a better way, ripped it out and started over…several times. I kinda lost count. I gradually refined my approach until I couldn’t think of any more improvements. At each transition, I repeated the same process: work some, realize I’d made a mistake/could do something better, rip it out, start that section again. I wish I had outtake videos of this process. If I did, I could show you the scene where I finally figured out how to finish the blade. I got it all done, then realized that my awesome technique had served to sew the opening together! Since that clearly wouldn’t work (I used cardboard and popsicle, I mean craft, sticks to give it shape), I had to rip it back and come up with another way. Eventually, I figured the whole thing out, got it knitted up, stuffed with cardboard cutouts and a bit of polyfill, and sewn together. The last touch was a bit of embroidery around the join between the blade and the hilt as there was some gapping there. Here’s the finished product:
I decided to name it “Baby Broadsword” since the blade is on the wider side. Here’s a closer view of the embroidery:
And a shot of the whole set:
For all three pieces, I used a basic aran weight acrylic. It wasn’t my favorite yarn to work with, but I just couldn’t see using wool for a July birthday set. I used two colors of Big Twist Yarns Value Solids (medium grey and black) and it worked pretty well. I used US5, 6 and 7s. If I made another set like this, I would choose a yarn with a tighter twist. Despite the name, I found this yarn to be too splitty for the job.
I am just about as thrilled as I could be with how the whole set turned out. I can’t wait to see pictures of it on the birthday boy! If I ever get my Etsy shop opened, I plan on including things like these. I’m also planning on writing up the sword pattern and offering it for sale on ravelry. That wasn’t my thought going in, but I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I’m proud of the method I came up with, and I think it’s worth publishing. We’ll see if I can live up to my own high pattern standards!