In sitting down to write this blog post about my newest design, the Alight Top, I suddenly realized that I never shared a post to celebrate Nina’s 2nd birthday a few months ago! Apparently, time (and brain cells) fly with two young children 🙂
Luckily, though, this post is the perfect way to celebrate both the pattern and my girl because I designed the Alight Top just for her.
(Off the bat, let me thank Andrew for these wonderful photos. It is no easy task capturing a toddler playing outdoors at a sand table while simultaneously trying to photograph rainbow-colored stitches! Especially when her older brother is playing just outside of the frame!)
The design of this little top was inspired by Nina and her love of two particular things: birds and bright colors. This past spring, I purchased a couple of vibrant skeins of Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn in the colorway “Piggy Bank” from one of my favorite online yarn shops, Wool and Honey. I knew that I wanted to create something for Nina because she loves all of the colors in the rainbow (especially pink), but I knew that the variegation of the yarn would prove challenging for showing most stitch patterns.
After lots of swatching, I loved how these simple cables, reminiscent of birds in flight, could be (a) sprinkled across the garment to create a lovely, textured fabric; and (b) stacked on top of each other to create an almost rope-like cable.
Best of all, these cables appear beautifully against the background created by this highly variegated yarn, so this is the perfect project for your rainbow-colored skeins!
I kept the shaping of this top super simple, not only because the yarn and stitch patterns were busy enough, but because “easy on and easy off” are important features for any child’s garment. To that end, the body is knit in the round to the base of the armholes. Then the front and back are divided and each is worked flat with the addition of extra stitches for “grown-on” sleeves. Most importantly, the classic wide boatneck at the top makes the top easy to wriggle into and comfortable to wear!
(As an aside, the key to getting the boatneck just right is swatching and blocking the texture pattern that you see in the center of the garment. Knitters, please swatch and block the texture pattern to ensure that the neckline has exactly the right finished width!)
The shaping in this top also includes a couple of inches of positive ease or growing room. Nina is wearing the 2T size with an inch or two of positive ease. More importantly, while Nina is pictured wearing this as a summer top without a layer underneath, she can also wear it in cooler weather with a thin layer underneath. The pattern also includes five other sizes for 12 months, 4, 6, 8, and 10!
In terms of finishing work, the shoulders are joined with a 3-needle bind off, meaning that the only seaming needed is at the underarms. An i-cord edging on the sleeves and slipped stitches at the neck edge give the top a further polish while also reducing your finishing work!
This design was a departure for me, as I don’t often design children’s garments or work with such variegated yarns. But I enjoyed the challenge of it and genuinely love the result; it suits Nina and her personality to a T.
The name of the top, “Alight,” is a bit of a play on words. The word “alight” is used often to describe birds (“the bird alighted on the tree.”) The cables in the garment are reminiscent of birds. And at 2 years old, Nina is alight with energy. She is curious, fearless, joyful and stubborn. Her eyes sparkle with mischief even as her heart is filled with tenderness. We love her dearly.