Thank you all for your wonderful comments on my Cable-Down Raglan! It has been lovingly folded up for permanent storage in an acid-free, museum-quality box to protect it from moths, pills, snags, stains, light, friction, and bombardment from overly aggressive molecules. I so rarely make anything that allows me to hold my head up high and declare myself a solidly intermediate knitter that when I do, I need to do everything I can to preserve it.
So, in my last few posts I have lamented my pitiful showing during what was supposed to be the Year of Sweaters. And it’s true, I have only made one adult sweater from start to finish so far during 2007, though I am optimistic that I will double that number to two by December 31. (You can guess what kind of rockin’ New Year’s Eve I’m setting myself up for with that goal.)
In all my self-berating for failing to adequately dedicate myself to the simplest of challenges, I had sort of forgotten about the multiple baby sweaters that I knit this year. I’m not saying baby sweaters “count” as much as adult sweaters, but at least they’re in the spirit of the Year of Sweaters. But two of the three little items below have been languishing in my knitting bag for several months, and the third was gifted long ago, each failing to seem interesting enough to blog. As a trio, however, perhaps they are worthy of taking up space on the internet. (I know there’s a strong tradition of self-imposed quality control on internet content, and I certainly wouldn’t want to violate that.) So here they are, in no particular order:
Pattern: Kai Cable Sweater from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms by Louisa Harding
Yarn: Rowan All-Seasons Cotton, color 191
Notes: I made this sweater once before, in the same yarn. I have all the same things to say about it that I did last time, and since most of you probably don’t re-read all my blog posts once a week just to keep them fresh in your minds, I could probably get away with repeating those same insightful comments without anyone noticing. My moral compass points to “not entirely kosher” on that idea, though (I’m assuming here that moral compasses have something other than north and south on them, because that wouldn’t be terribly useful, outside of the rare morally uncertain navigational scenario). So if you’re interested in what I think of the pattern (adorable!) and the yarn (mostly wonderful!), go read my old post. (And if you’re not interested, I’ve just saved you valuable blog-reading time. You’re welcome.)
One thing I did very slightly differently this time is the neckline. The neckline section of the pattern is written pretty terribly, and as far as I can tell it wants you to knit the cable split in front (seen here, and a nice pattern detail, in my opinion), plus an opening at the side of the neck, presumably to allow the sweater to go over the baby’s head more easily. Well, I thought that looked pretty lousy, and last time I reknit the neckline to have the second opening in the back. Not loving how that looked either, I decided that I cared more about the baby’s vanity than the baby’s comfort (why no, I have no children of my own, why do you ask?), so I just left the neckline intact except for the cable split. I did try to bind off loosely — I’m not a total child-hating monster.
Pattern: Milan Jacket from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms by Louisa Harding
Yarn: Cascade 220, exactly two full skeins, colorway 9429
Notes: This is the third pattern (for a total of four sweaters) I have knit from this book, which most knitters will recognize as a rare and nearly holy occurrence (and there are still others I hope to knit!). Unfortunately, it took me until after I was finished with the fourth sweater to diagnose a consistent problem with the patterns: the armholes are (in my opinion) too small. This is such an easy problem to fix that I should have been able to nail it down a lot sooner, but instead I spent rather a lot of time thinking, “Boy, the armholes on all these sweaters seem so constricting. I wonder why that could be? If only there were some way I could figure out what’s causing this. Oh well!”
Anyway, armhole size aside, I am fairly happy with how this sweater came out. However, the one problem with “classic” baby sweaters (the kind I generally prefer, as opposed to bobbles and fiddly intarsia barnyard animals and what have you) is that there is a fine line between “classic” and “dullsville.” This sweater was probably on the wrong side of that line when I stumbled upon these adorable bumblebee buttons at Jo-Ann Fabrics when I was looking for standard toggles. I think that they would run the risk of being overly cutesy if the rest of the sweater weren’t fairly conservative; as it is, I think they add a sense of whimsy that was definitely lacking. (My one gripe with the buttons was that they came with instructions that they should not be allowed to get wet, nor should they be subjected to dry cleaning. Seriously??? I hope the eventual recipient of this sweater loves it enough to be willing to give it careful sponge baths, because I can think of no other way to clean it that wouldn’t offend the buttons.)
Pattern: Child’s Placket-Neck Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson
Yarn: Knitpicks Swish Superwash, which I think I recall was nice enough to work with, although the red bled like crazy when I (hand) washed the finished sweater.
Notes: Speaking of sweaters I’ve made before, I’ve, well, made this sweater before. At least twice. That’s because it’s a great, quick sweater that can usually be made to work with whatever yarn you have on hand (provided you are flexible about the sizing, or, like me, happily clueless about the standard dimensions of babies at different ages).
This is another sweater that was dramatically improved by the addition of cute buttons. This bothers me a little, because I can put hours of work into creating a sweater stitch by loving stitch, but it’s only when you slap on the store-bought novelty buttons that the damn thing looks remotely cute.
While I really like making baby sweaters, I so rarely get to see them in action. And let’s face it: baby sweaters just aren’t nearly as cute when they are unoccupied by babies. I’ve tried various ways to get around the shortage of live babies in my life (including awkward arm’s-length hand modeling and the use of wholly unsuitable stand-ins). Happily, the recipient of this one (my friend Josh) sent me a whole series of photos of his little girl modeling it, and in fact told me that she would likely be wearing it in their family Christmas card photo. This is a tremendous honor for me: never before has my knitwear been featured prominently in such a high-profile publication. I expect that the back of the card will contain the following credit: “Skylar’s wardrobe made possible in part by Lickety Knit Apparel — fine clothiers since 2003.”
Pretty adorable, right? (I do actually mean the baby, as knitting-centric as I may be.) I expect my blog hits to go way up once that Christmas card starts hitting people’s mailboxes.
So there you have it: three baby sweaters. Year of Sweaters. It all comes together. Woo.