Knitting: February Baby Sweater

February Baby Sweater

Pattern: Baby Sweater on Two Needles (February) from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac
Yarn: KnitPicks Hawthorne Kettle Dye in “turkish delight”
Needle: 3.5 mm (US-4) circular

I started this sweater in February, on my way to Las Vegas. I worked on it a few times while I was there–in the mornings with coffee, or when my husband had to work–and nearly finished the yoke by the time I left. I finished the body at home and immediately started the sleeves, because I am prone to putting projects aside, halfway finished, and never ever picking them back up again. So, two sleeves were done in two days and then…it sat. March rolled around and I finally got around to blocking this baby and sewing in the most perfect little vintage buttons. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

round garter yoke

Do you have any Spring projects on your needles? Let me have a look!

the smell of loved woolies

toddler diptych

The first Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern I ever made was ‘Ganomy’ from Knitters’ Almanac. It’s also been the most used pattern in my repetoire. My copy of KA is in bad shape. It lived in the bottom of my bag for a while. I haven’t knit everything she gives pithy directions for, but I HAVE read the whole book–some parts more than others.

Anyway, what I meant to blog about is how much I love wool. I’m sorry you have to wash your handknit hat. I’m sorry you accidentally put it in your hamper and it’s a ball of fluff. I’m sorry it itched you when you first touched it and now lives in a box in your closet. Fact of the matter is: you never gave wool a chance! It took me longer to knit your hat than it will for you to wash it. You should not put something beautifully made in a hamper. If you would have given it a soak, it wouldn’t be itchy.

That first Ganomy was a rather quick knit. It isn’t perfect, as I was a newbie to knitting, but it fit and was pretttyyy in all its Noro Kureyon glory. It was also lost in a hamper, almost-felted, and hella itchy. But I kept putting it on my little one’s (now, 4.5) head, hanging it on a hook, or shoving it in my bag, when he wasn’t wearing it. I even soaked it in warm water + lanolin (the same tube I got at my baby shower–thank heavens for an easy start to my breastfeeding career) + baby shampoo to wash it when it got really dirty one day.

Three years later, it is the hat I love most. Soft, pilly, smelly. It’s never gotten quite as dirty as the first time it warranted a cleaning. Heck, it’s only needed a wash once since then. And because of that, it smells wonderful. It smells like their heads. A lovely mixture of baby shampoo and baby sweat. No, don’t wince! Babies’ heads smell gooood. I promise.

This hat has been loved. It will continue to be loved for the rest of winter and perhaps into Spring. Maybe Easter will be cold and Andy will wear it one last time, on his second celebration of the holiday, like Nate did in 2007.

Won’t you give wool a chance? In a few years, when my boys undoubtedly become obnoxious the way I was when I was little, I bet someone will find me crying on a closet floor, deeply inhaling the scent of my babies from this hat. It’s just a fact.

Christmas knitting detour

ganomy [2]I started gift #9 on Tuesday, but put it down on Wednesday (yesterday) to start a woolly hat for my four year old. His woollies have been passed down to his brother, so his ears are quite cold when we’re out. And that is just not acceptable.

I chose one of my all-time favorite hat patterns, Ganomy by Elizabeth Zimmermann. It’s found in the best $7 knitting book out there, Knitter’s Almanac. I’ve read it cover to cover, but I’ve only made a few items (mainly the babies’ things and hats). It’s a good read, with a bunch of classic patterns.

I used Paton’s Classic Wool in the “that’s blue” colorway. It matches Nate’s school colors and compliments his [brand new] jacket that’s a few shades of gray. I modified the pattern a bit, to compensate for the thinner yarn. I changed the cast-on to 98 stitches, stopping front increases at 4″, back increases at 6″, and then adjusting the decreases as necessary . Size US 8 needles. Less than two days. Success!

He didn’t really want to pose for me, this afternoon. He said he would “sleep through it.” It being my snapping pictures of him. He gave up and started playing with cars soon after.

Let sleeping gnomes lie.

365.337: let sleeping gnomes lie

Andy hates my knitting.

andy cries moreSince my last post, I started knitting a sweater for Andrew. All the while, I’m hoping it fits because the last 3 were outgrown very quickly and/or never fit (just 1; it was sad when I realized it). Today, I’m moving some stuff around and I happen upon the Noro BSJ (Baby Surprise Jacket, an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern) I made almost a year ago. I made it in the summer and thought it would be perfect for Andrew’s first winter. Little did I know, my child would continue his monstrous growth spurts well into his first year. By the time winter came along, he was practically outgrowing his 18 month clothes (at 7 months!!). I put the sweater on him a maximum of 3 times and could barely get the buttons closed. When I picked it up, this afternoon, I immediately wanted to try it on him. He wasn’t in the best mood (tired as a result of waking up early from his nap), but I really wanted to see it in action one last time. And what do ya know, the sucker fit!

bsj closeupLike, perfectly fit. The sleeves are supposed to be short (I chose not to pick up the sleeve stitches to lengthen them). The buttons don’t look too stressed and only the bottom one pops open when he sits. Fabulous, huh? The only problem is he pretty much cried the entire time he wore it. Apparently, he HATES long sleeves! He kept tugging at them. He was also tired, so the tears were my fault. Next time I’ll be sure to have some treat for him while he has to endure wearing my hideous sweaters. I hope that since he’s walking (and climbing, and trying his darndest to run), he’ll slim down even further by the time cold weather approaches and will still fit into this. It’s so cute! I love this Noro Kureyon colorway. I made a top-down bonnet from it for my cousin’s first baby “back in the day.” I think it’ll always be my favorite.

365.216: cablesMoving on, let’s talk about the NEW sweater I’m working on. I decided to go with the Offset Wraplan (ravelery link). Instead of applique-ing something to the front, I decided to insert a cable pattern. I really loved the one on Knitty’s Trellis, so I used that. It looks pretty neat, so far. I took this photo yesterday, and today I’ve already reached a bit past the sleeve split. The reason so much work has been getting done on this is that I’ve been knitting past my bedtime. Instead of going to sleep when a normal (i.e. sane) mother-of-two would, I’ve been going to bed around 2am. I feel like a zombie most mornings, but the sluggishness is nothing my b-complex can’t take care of.

365.69: my almanac

the pinwheel blanket I am working on is so monotonous and downright BORING. so, I plucked my handy knitter’s almanac off the bookshelf and started a "february baby sweater" [in March, no less!]. I love Zimmermann. This is definitely my most used knitting book.