How are you? I’m doing well, figuring out this new medication thing and still mostly staying home with my family. Lots of knitting has been done, but I really wanted to tell you about this sweater.
My sweet baby nephew, Ian, was born in August of this year. He and his family live 1,300 miles away, and we had plans to go visit them about 3 weeks after he was born. Of course, this meant I had to cast on a sweater for him. I have a thing about babies being cold, it gets my anxiety going and makes me sad. (Though, of course, he wouldn’t actually be cold because he has wonderful parents who take very good care of him. But, still…)
I couldn’t just choose any sweater for him. I imagined a beautiful fair isle sweater that would allow me to use the techniques I learned from Franklin Habit’s Snips and Zips class. In other words, I wanted to steek the snot out of something. It just had to be something nice and small (so I wouldn’t lose focus on the knitting) and it had to be useful (see above comments about cold babies.) I chose the DROPS pattern B13-5, a lovely pattern that includes a cardigan, hat, mittens, pants, and booties. It’s incredibly adorable.
The cardigan pattern itself is written to knit back and forth instead of in the round. This sounded absolutely terrible, and I wouldn’t be able to steek, making it even more terrible. So, for the first time, I drastically changed a pattern. I figured out my stitch counts to include 5 steeks: 2 on the front (one for the button band, one for the collar), 1 on each side (sleeves), and 1 in the back (remainder of the collar). I had to call on many friends for help and suggestions, including the lovely and amazing Vicki from the Heartland Knits podcast. (She also informed me that this sweater is, in fact, a Norwegian sweater, not Fair Isle.)
I also decided to use a zipper instead of buttons. There were two reasons for this: 1) buttons scream choking hazard to me (until I find another baby pattern that just HAS to have buttons) and 2) I know how much easier a zipper is to use instead of buttons on a baby. My mental image includes this sweater as an everyday jacket over what ever long sleeve shirt Ian is wearing. It is also knit out of Brown Sheep Company Nature Spun Fingering. It’s not the softest of yarns, nor superwash, so a jacket-type item would be a good use for this hard-wearing yarn.
It was so great to use that much of Franklin’s class! I cut all 5 steeks without so much as a bead of sweat, and I was even able to hand sew the zipper in relatively nicely. It’s definitely my first project like this, and I’m sure 10 years from now I will look back and cringe a little at my stitches. For now, though I know it went to a loving home and will be well used. I can’t wait to see my little man again 🙂