Yes, it is May already! Here in Australia the weather is transitioning to winter. The days are shorter; we often find ourselves cycling into the dark. The nights are cooler, we've cracked out the flannelette sheets and stoked up the fire at night. And the rain has come. After an incredibly dry Spring and Summer, the rain is very very welcome. I love the Australian bush after a rainfall, the foliage colours are so vibrant. The brightness of the Australian light really does make it feel almost magical.
May for me, now means Milo May. A month to celebrate the milo pattern and all its diversity and potential. Since milo was released five years ago, there has been over 7600 projects posted on Ravelry. Every time I see how many milo projects there are it really just blows me away. I can still so vividly remember the nervousness that I felt when I released it, my first paid pattern. I can still remember the discussion I had with my husband where we talked about how awesome it would be if milo sold 50 copies. 50 copies, we thought, Imagine that! How amazing would that be!
This year marks the fourth annual Milo May. Over the years there have been some amazing milos knit. I love how knitters have taken this humble vest pattern, added a massive dash of their incredible creativity and handcrafted some amazing knits. We've had beautiful colourwork. Some stunning cable work. And even for those who have knit the pattern as is, some gorgeous yarn choices have been made.
So how do you join in....
Milo May is hosted on my Ravelry group, which you can find the link to here. There is a very chatty thread over there, where we talk about all things milo and a lot of other stuff that may have no relation whatsoever to milo. And that is fine too.
Join the group.
Knit up a milo. (or two or three or even more ~ last year one amazing knitter knit a milo for every day of May!)
Create a project page for your milo linking to the pattern.
Tag your milo #milomay2014.
Use the #milomay2014 tag on other social media too.
We will close off entries a few days into June to allow for stragglers to finish weaving in ends, block and get photos. Then we have a prize draw. Some prizes will be randomly selected, some will be for something more specific and some will be chosen by the milo boy himself. He really likes that part!
If you've not knit a garment or are just learning, fear not. Milo is an incredibly easy knit and is perfect for beginner knitters. You would not believe how many people tell me milo was their first knitting project.
The prizes you ask? What are the prizes?
They are amazing! As well as my regular and much loved sponsor, Little Plum Yarn, this year I have had a number of donations from a whole heap of other knitty indie type businesses. I'm pulling all the information together and shall post tomorrow with all the details. It is pretty special though, and I can honestly say this year's milo may is going to be fabulous.
I've got a few other things cooked up for milo may but first up, I'd like to chat about a subject close to my heart.
How to choose the right size.
Milo is designed to be a fairly fitted vest. The reason that it is perfect for kids and they don't tend to take it off is because it is fitted. They don't notice that they are wearing it. Being fitted keeps their little chest and tummy warm, and that makes mummies and grannies very happy. We like to see kids with warm little chests.
To ensure that the milo you are knitting fits, two things are pretty crucial. You know I'm going to say it, but the first one is swatching. For milo, you need to swatch in the round in both stocking stitch and garter stitch. Maybe whip up a little matching beanie as part of your swatching process... but it will have to be in the same yarn. An Otis Baby Hat by Joy Boath would serve the purpose or a simple beanie with a garter section or brim. Not sure how to swatch in the round. Read here.
The second thing you absolutely must do is measure the child you are knitting for if possible. Measure against the skin or underclothes for an accurate measurement. Choose the size that equates to that measurement. Don't freak if when you compare it to the approximate age it is quite different. That is normal. Most kids aren't average and aren't the same size. My 5 year old son is 22" chest. My 8 year old daughter is 23.5".
If you want your child to get more than one year out of their knit, and who doesn't, do not go up a size. Add extra length instead. Kids grow upwards far quicker than they ever grow outwards. They need more length not width for growing room. My kids outgrow length in their knits, they never outgrow width. My daughter is still comfortably wearing the 21" (which I knit to 6 years length) I knit three years ago. I possibly should knit her a new one this year as it is possibly getting too short!
Another fitting tip:
If on the other hand your child is older than the approximate age for which they measure, knit the bodice based on their age. Then when you increase into the garter stitch section work extra increases so that the stitch count is equal to the size that matches their chest measurement. Does that makes sense?
Is there anything you've wondered about milos?
Something you'd like to know how to do that you've seen on milos floating around?
Psst: if you don't have the milo pattern, now is the time to buy it. It's discounted by $1AUD for the whole of May. Discount is subtracted automatically at the checkout.
Happy Milo May everyone!
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Who am I?
Textile artist, knitwear designer and teacher.
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