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When the Milo pattern was first published in 2009, my wee boy modelling it was just six months old and my daughter was four. I envisaged it very much as a baby and toddler garment and never really foresaw that knitters would want to knit it for older children. But they did. Over the years I've received numerous requests for larger sizes. Last year, I graded those larger sizes, had them tech-edited and had a number of knitters carry out a preview knit of those sizes. They've sat there since then but today will be added to the pattern finally.

There's been one design element that's played on my mind since the preview knit and had me wondering how to resolve it. Here's the thing, the overall aesthetic as a result of the cable is quite different in the smaller sizes and the larger sizes. On the smaller sizes, the cable appears chunky comparative to the size of the vest. However, the width of that cable doesn't translate to chunky looking when you view it on, say, a 28 inch chest size. It becomes a slim look, giving the milo a very different aesthetic. I admit I haven't been quite sure how to deal with this.

Do I add to the pattern wider cables to cater for those larger sizes? And if i start adding extra width cables for the larger sizes, do I then need to add  in-between width cables to cater for the middle sizes too?  Where does it stop? Different width cables would require some additional pattern writing and instructions, as adding different widths will affect the final sizing of the vest. This would make the pattern lengthier, possibly create confusion and would require a layout re-formatting. Lengthier patterns are also more expensive for my wholesale printer to deal with.

Or do I recognise and acknowledge that the look you want for a vest on a ten year old is quite different from what you want with a baby garment? That a slimmer look cable may be more fitting for the more grown up version?

I'm not sure there's a simple or one correct solution as different knitters will obviously have different preferences. That's been one of the beauties of the Milo pattern, that it gives knitters the palette to adapt and create to suit them. 

My final solution, and it is in no way a perfect one, is to leave the cable width in the pattern as it is. I've written a short tutorial about using a wider cable stitch and some adjustments you should consider if you are doing so. The tutorial also includes a couple of suggestions for wider cables you may wish to try out with those larger sizes.

Milo, in the new format with sizing to fit chest size of 15 to 32 inches /38 to 81.5 cms, ( or ages approximately newborn to youth size 16*) is now available on Ravelry here and Loveknitting here.

* for best fit, please choose size based on actual chest measurement NOT age. 
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Long time, no blog. A whole year in fact. yikes.

It's a fresh new year, however, and with a fresh new year comes a renewed effort to blog. While I was writing my newsletter today, I struggled with words. I struggled to find the flow of language. For me, someone who has grown up writing, who loves to write; this was a really disconcerting experience.  It was like trying to swim after a month out of the pool; your stroke is off, you can't find your rhythm and it feels laborious. It's no longer enjoyable. When we don't swim we loose the rhythm because we're out of practise, but for some reason I just assume that with writing the words will always come easily. They don't and it kills me. And I haven't been writing, I don't blog or journal or even write regular newsletters. Occasionally, I'll smash out a longer email or letter, often about a local issue that's angered me; but I've gotten out of the habit of being a writer. I didn't mean to stop writing. I guess it's because so much of my writing has become online and restricted to this space. With the instant gratification and pretty staged images of Instagram seemingly taking over from blogs, I think it's destroyed my urge to write. It just happened without me even realising it.   And that kills me. 

There's a whole heap of stuff in the craft industry that I would really like to write about and this year I really would like to use this space to do more of that. Finally, we're seeing important issues being touched on over at Instagram. The shiny veneer is being removed as knitters are beginning to once again critique the realities of our industry. How did it get to this? How did we move so far away from the initial hand-made revolution that sort to reject over-consumption and mass-consumerism to one that really is just another form of fast fashion and consumer manipulation driven by affluence? But that is a topic for another day and another blog post. ​(In no ways is that intended to diminish from the current discussion about white privilege and racism in the IG-Ravelry western based knitting community.)
Let's instead talk about this, my first pattern for the year. The last few years my pattern releases have been pretty thin on the ground. I've been involved with a  few big community projects, my mother passed away and I sort of lost my way. I forgot what it was that I enjoyed about designing, and for awhile even what I enjoyed about knitting. I forgot the pure pleasure that I get from grading the 13 or more sizes I use in a kid's sweater. I know  that much maths honestly doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun, but when it all comes together - and I don't use a automated spreadsheet - it's really kind of buzzy. What I used to love about designing was the experimentation; experimenting with structure, technique, style and problem solving. You all know how I feel about underarms after all? 

I lost my way, I lost my love for knitting and I felt quite disillusioned about the direction the knitting community was heading. I'm not sure if I'll ever really find my way again, or if I ever truly will get past my disillusionment.  I sit uncomfortably within this crafting space. 

But here's the pattern and it's a pattern born out of love. It's a pattern I love and enjoyed designing. It began it's life as an intended Christmas jumper for Toby. A completely seasonally-inappropriate knit given that here in Australia, Christmas Day is typically a scorcher. Why just watch the pleasure of other knitters and their Christmas sweaters from a far, when I can knit my own despite the ridiculous timing of it? 

Vicariously (link to Ravelry pattern page)

Construction: 
Vicariously is a seamless circular yoke sweater knit from the top down. The yoke is initially shaped with short rows before melding into a stitch pattern that sees the colour alter gradually. This is created through simple colourwork that is addictive and flies off the needles. After knitting the yoke, the garment is divided to knit the sleeves and body.
Instructions for the yoke are both written and charted.

​Sizing: 
To fit actual chest measurement of: 
19-25: 19/48 (20/51, 21/53.5, 22/56) 23/58.5, 24/61, 25/63.5 
26-32: 26/66 (27/68.5, 28/71, 30/76) 31/79 , 32/81.5inches/cms.
Finished garment chest measurement: 
19-25: 22/56 (23/58.5, 24/61, 25/63.5) 26/66, 27/68.5, 28/71 
26-32: 29/73.5 (30/76, 31/79, 33/84) 34/86.5, 35/89

Skill Level: 
Intermediate

Techniques used: 
knit and purl 
Increasing and decreasing 
Alternative Tubular cast-on 
Working in the round on circular needles 
Working small circumferences in the round 
Working from charts 
Picking up stitches 
German Short Rows 
Stranded colourwork

​Yardage: 
DK/8ply weight yarn in two colours: 
Main Colour: 
19-25: 360/330 (400/365, 445/405, 485/445) 525/480, 565/515, 600/550 
26-32: 635/580 (670/615, 700/640, 725/665) 750/685, 785/720 
Contrast Colour: 
19-25: 65/60 (80/70, 90/80, 100/90) 115/105, 135/120, 150/135 
26-32: 165/150 (180/165, 200/180, 225/205) 250/225, 265/240 
yards/metres approximately
Original yarn is a worsted spun DK/8ply weight 4ply low micron Polwarth.
Yardage is approximate and may vary depending on your knitting style and yarn selection.

Sample shown in Tarndie Origins Ciderhouse Red as the Main Colour and Tarndie Undyed Taupe as the Contrast Colour.
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