cardigan · family · handspun · knitting · norahWHY

playful stripes

Recently, we traveled on the ferry to see my family, who live on Vancouver Island. The night before, as I was packing to get ready to go, Norah asked for the first time ever to wear her handknit purple sweater I’d made her for Christmas 2015. The kids never wore their sweaters because I’d made them too big. It was too close to travel time to re-knit them or buy new yarn and make new ones. In the end, they didn’t get to wear their Christmas sweaters but Norah’s has finally ended up in regular rotation this winter. The fact that she actually asked to wear it is what took me off guard.

Not wanting to seem too over enthusiastic, I agreed that I would make sure it was in the backpack. Once we were on the early morning ferry, I took her into the bathroom and helped her get dressed for the day. We had left the house so early that I decided to load her in the car in her PJs so that she could also travel home in the evening in her PJs, heading straight to bed once we were home. In the bathroom, she was so excited to wear her sweater that I have to admit, I was elated. The icing on the cake was on the way home, after she’d smeared ketchup up her sleeve and I silently thanked the Sweater Gods that I had had the foresight to realize that the yarn I chose absolutely had to be superwash, was when she asked for “more Mommy-knit sweaters, please.” Ummm, let me think about that kiddo … YES! Absolutely, YES!

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This particular sweater was knit in SweetGeorgia Yarns’ Superwash Worsted in colourways Grape Jelly and Mist. I knit from Elizabeth Smith’s pattern Wonder Years toddler/child cardigan. At the time, I knit the 3T size and Norah was only 20 months – it was too big. I should have knit the 2T because she could have worn it for Christmas and probably would still be wearing it. In some ways, I should have used the pattern again but I decided to merge two other patterns instead. I also wanted to use slightly smaller needles because the 5.00mm needles for the yarn created a slightly too-loose fabric for what I wanted. But first? To the yarn shop!

While James was at school one day, I took Norah to my LYS. I knew Sue had a large variety of Berroco Vintage, which I wanted for both sweaters (yes, I’m knitting two). On the ferry, when Mom and I asked Norah what colours she’d like in her sweater, she proclaimed: “Purple! … (pause) … and Green!” Not my favourite combination but I figured I could persuade her in another direction once we were in the shop. Standing in the shop, facing the wall of Vintage, I asked again. And again, the answer was unchanged. I actually laughed out loud. I was so surprised she’d remembered her colour combination choice from a week prior that I figured it must be what she really wanted. At least I had some say in the type of green she chose! I didn’t even offer her the choices of Yukon Green, Holly or Mistletoe. Instead, I offered her a choice between two teals and thank goodness, she chose the one I was hoping she would: gorgeous Calico to go with the purple we’d chosen (Petunia).

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It is a really lovely combination and interesting (I love darks and lights together). I have a plan for this sweater and will be working the same sweater as the one I’ve already cast on. You will notice the other two skeins: Mochi. This is a warm off-white that works beautifully with some handspun I’ve had in my stash forever. I knit a toque for my niece (the one we were visiting in fact) for Christmas but still had a ton of the yarn left over. It’s old, inconsistent and overspun. But I love the colours and I’ve been kind of ‘saving’ it for something special for a while. It’s time to let it go and knit with it.

The combination of patterns I’m using is Flax by tincanknits and Playful Stripes by Alana Dakos. Flax is a free pattern and a pullover but the sizing is ranges (2-4 years) instead of specific (3T, 4T, etc), which I like. I took out an inch of stitches (4 in my case for this sweater) for the button band. I’m also working back and forth – no in the round for a pullover. The Playful Stripes pattern I bought eons ago to knit something for James that I never finished but I’m using the edging of the handspun cardigan and the striping for the green/purple cardigan. Win!

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I was also really looking forward to trying out my new Driftwood needles that I bought at the end of 2016. I’ve been looking forward to trying these for a while and thus far, as a die-hard metal needle knitter, I am really loving these. My wrists are thanking me as well!

Do you make things for your children? I’d love to hear your experiences since thus far, I haven’t made much for them due to their constantly changing sizes!

3 thoughts on “playful stripes

  1. With mine being 12 now, she’s only just said this year that she’d prefer if I stopped knitting her things. When she was 2-4 I only knit hats/mittens and such. She grew too fast otherwise. I started knitting more sweaters/dresses/coats/leggings once she was about 4 or 5 until just recently. It was a fun stage in my knitting adventure. Now I’ve got nephews to knit for, and I’ll knit them tiny things because I don’t actually see them often enough to get upset if they don’t wear something regularly. Though the larger sweaters I’ve knit for my nephew I see in rotation in photos regularly so that’s encouraging!

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  2. I knit a ton of sweaters for my daughter before she was born (all small sizes), but I think the only one she wore was the Baby Surprise Jacket knit out of sock yarn that we put her in for the trip home from the hospital. I have since knit her quite a few sweaters, most of which she has worn fairly willingly. The past two years, I’ve made her school sweaters (she wears a uniform to school, so sweaters have to be white or forest green), and they’ve gotten a lot of wear. I’ve learned that the sweaters that get worn the most are usually in a washable yarn that feels soft — the school sweaters were done in Spud & Chloe Sweater and Berrocco Vintage. These aren’t yarns I’d probably use for myself, but she likes them just fine, and given how hard she can be on her school clothes especially, I’m grateful that she’s happy with less-expensive options.

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  3. Oh man I hear you. My daughters are almost 4 and almost 2 and if they ask me for anything knitted, I’m like OKAY and drop everything to make it for them. I try to be nonchalant and mostly fail. I just made my older one an aviatrix and now the little one wants one… The little one is the one who wants to wear sweaters all the time. but not all the fancy wool ones her grandmother and I make her; she only ones the old one I made her sister years ago on impulse out of this crazy bright acrylic rainbow yarn I got in a garbage bag. I try to put a nice one on her and she’s all “wainbow fwetah! wainbow fwetah!”

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