After spending a couple of decades knitting scarves, I'm ready to try new things and use what little spare time I have in a really productive and creative way. I don't just knit something to keep my hands busy while I watch television on DVD. I knit something because I have the right yarn or the right pattern and I want to try something new or because I have a very specific person in mind who should receive the finished product.
More often that not, that person is Evelyn.
People used to see me knit when I was really young and say "Knit me a sweater!" and it would set my teeth on edge. I don't know if they were trying to be encouraging, and implying that I would go on to knit more complicated and interesting projects, or if they were doing that thing that non-knitters do when they see you knitting and assume you would love nothing more than to spend your time and resources making something for them when they don't understand its worth. Either way, I didn't want to knit them sweaters. I mean, it's a sweater.
I stuck to scarves. They kept my hands busy and the handy "I just knit scarves." is a nicer response to "make me something!" than saying "I'm sorry, I don't want to knit for you."
But then there was Evelyn. I never knew I could feel this way about a person.
Forget the (supposedly) unconditional love and service to a demanding being who couldn't appreciate the worth of your work. Forget the late nights and early mornings and all the interruptions in between. Forget the inopportune bouts of clingniness and fussiness and hungriness. Forget the willingness to give up my life, or even a Saturday soak in the tub with a magazine because the baby wants me more than her dad and only I will do. That's just the standard mom stuff.
No, what I was feeling was so much more than a sense of obligation and responsibility to this beautiful creature. It was more than a feeling of love and joy that this glorious being was in my life. It was powerful and unexpected.
I wanted to knit this girl a sweater.
This is a big deal.
I had never--and I do emphatically mean never--thought I would ever want to knit a sweater. I had thought hats would be challenging enough, and there were plenty of cute hats to make.
I even thought I might want to try some fancy-stitch afghan at some later date, and I still think some day I will.
But for now, I felt the need for a sweater.
I read a fair amount of Elizabeth Zimmerman books last year, and decided I liked the simplicity of a baby Tomten Jacket because it didn't have a lot of sewing pieces together. I wanted to make something special, but I knew my limits. I bought the yarn back in October in preparation. Then I knitted some baby hats for other people, worked on a Christmas gift or two, made some cute little ornaments that I never photographed, and another hat or two for Evelyn.
She's my baby. She should get more hats than anyone.
Baby sweater time.
It wasn't disastrous! Aside from the time I misread something and nearly made a rather ugly baby bolero jacket, it's gone fairly well. I already know what I'll do differently when I make this again (in a bigger size for Evelyn, or for some as-yet-to-be-born niece or nephew) just like a real knitter. And actually, the experience has been fun.
I completed the body in January:
Then I finished a sleeve:
Then I found a nice way to do the sleeves and so I had to unravel it and start all over. But now the sleeves are the proper length and the decreases don't look so awkward.
And this is the finished product:
|Next to a note pad so you can guess the general size.|
And now, I have met my goal! I have knitted a sweater! I haven't sewn in the zipper yet, but I don't think this is going to fit Evelyn until she's 3 or 4. Still, it's finished and I'm incredibly happy that the first sweater I've ever knitted is for her.
And that's why I've already started another one.
Knitting, like love, can be a funny and all-consuming thing.
I will make any sweater this girl asks me for (or doesn't) because knitting is fun.
And because I want to knit her a sweater.
How could I not?