I’m going to be honest, I’m kind of winging this sweater. I thought I had a plan- well, I do have a plan, but it’s a very rough plan. And the further in I get to this project, the more I realize that the “pattern” I wrote up at the beginning of this knit is more of a “suggestion” than an actual pattern.
But that’s fine, it just means I do a little math on the fly, and keep my fingers crossed that everything works out in the end.
The most recent thing that I’ve winged is the V-neck for the front of the sweater. I marked the center-most stitch, then decreased 1 stitch each side of the neck, every RS row. I kept decreasing until the neck seemed wide enough (which I always have trouble estimating). It looks a little wonky because of the cables, but I think it will look OK once I add the neckband. I hope.
I’ve roughly estimated the proportions on this sweater by holding up the project against my kid’s favorite sweatshirt. And, so far it looks OK (though the proportions will change a bit with blocking).
I guess I’ll just keep guessing and keep crossing my fingers, and hopefully it’ll turn out OK (or at least OK enough for my kid to wear it a few times).
Do you ever wing your projects, or are you strictly a follow-the-pattern knitter?
Is it precisely related to knitting? Not on its face, but I think the connection will become clear.
My kid had a playdate yesterday. Our neighbor from down the street came over (by himself!) and the three kids played on their own for just about 2 hours. We’ve never had a kids-only playdate before, and as much as I like having adult friends over, too, this was shockingly lovely.
The kids barricaded themselves into the bedroom, played trains and trucks and LEGO and pretended to be dragons and came out only to ask for a snack about halfway through.
YOU GUYS!!! I GOT TO SIT DOWN BY MYSELF AND KNIT WHILE MY CHILDREN WERE AWAKE AND IN THE HOUSE AND IT WAS AMAZING!
It really feels like this is the beginning of a new era of parenting.
Plus, I got the front of my toddler’s sweater done up to the split for the V-neck. Shocking.
When was the last time that you got surprise time to work on your knitting?
It’s been a wild few weeks at our house. We’ve got a toddler that’s suddenly developed a LOT of opinions. A four-year-old who’s realized that the toddler wants to play with the “big kid toys,” and is suddenly on high alert making sure that “babies don’t go in my room.” We’ve had two rounds of illness (one of which was a nasty stomach bug- my literal nightmare). And I’ve been dealing with drama at the kids’ preschool co-op. (Why do all volunteer-run organizations seem to thrive on big drama?) February has been a lot.
To that end, I haven’t been able to get much knitting time. But what I have gotten has been really lovely. It might just be a row or two each day (or half a row), but it’s been so nice to have a familiar, comforting pattern to fall back on. Something that I know how to do, that I can count on, even when things are rough.
This little sweater is going slowly. It might not be done before the warm weather sets in. It might not be done before the toddler outgrows it (especially at the rate they’re eating lately). But right now, the most important part of knitting isn’t getting the object done. We’ve got plenty of knitwear in this house. It’s having a project available that I know how to do. Something simple and comfortable. Something that isn’t going to require more brain power than the limited supply I have available right now.
And, hopefully, once it’s done (some day), I’ll end up with a cute li’l sweater.
What do you like to work on when you’re overwhelmed?
I’m cruising along on my two-year-old’s sweater. It’s turning out cute. It’s really reminding me why I like this cable pattern so much that I’ve made it 3 times at this point. It’s just complicated enough to keep it interesting, but also is super easy to follow. There’s never any question about which row gets the cable crosses.
I have to say, however, I’m shocked by how much yarn this project is eating up. In my head, my kid is still a teeny baby who I could make a whole sweater out of a single skein in a weekend. Not so much anymore. I actually used more than one skein just to make the back! I’ve only got three skeins total, so I doubt that I’ll have to enough to make it all the way.
I’d rather not place another order, so I think I’ll just let it ride and cross my fingers until it’s undeniable. (Which will probably be in about two days when I finish the front and have less than a skein to do the sleeves and collar.) Or maybe there’ll be a miracle, and I’ll magically have enough yarn to make it all the way through.
When did my little baby get so big!?
When’s the last time you tried to play yarn chicken? Did you win?
I might not be too excited about the color, but I am excited about the sweater. I’ve started knitting away, and I’m in love.
Like I said before, I’m doing a slightly modified, sized-down version of the Ben pullover. I’m using a smaller gauge, so the cables will be scaled appropriately for a 2-year-old. I’ve taken measurements from one of the kid’s sweat shirts (one that is a little big for him right now, because who knows how long it’s going to take me to finish this sweater), and mathed it out. I’ve decided to do a simple drop-sleeve, instead of a set-in-sleeve, like the original pattern. I just don’t feel like doing the math on a set-in sleeve right now, and I think the drop sleeve will look just fine.
I’ve already gotten a good start on the back (the biggest piece). And I’ve got to say, it’s taking longer than I expected- but I guess that makes sense. My kid isn’t a teeny newborn any more, of course his sweater is going to be a bit bigger!
I’m going to keep cruising through. I hope it turns out as cute as I think it’s going to be!
Have you ever modified a pattern to fit your needs?
I just love the feeling of making a new project and immediately knowing that that item is going to be a favorite for years. It’s been a minute since I finished a project on such a high note, and I’ve gotta say, it feels good to experience this again.
I finished my alpaca hat this week- I didn’t even wait to block it before popping it on my head and going about my day. It’s soft, warm and cozy, but still feels fancy. I made the brim super long, so I have options about how I can wear it. I can fold it up higher for warmer days, and wear it right down over my ears when it’s chilly. I love the dark, chocolate brown and the simplicity of the design. It’s an incredibly simple hat, and in its simplicity, it’s ultra-versatile.
In fact, I’m considering writing it up as a pattern. Would that be something you’d be interested in?
Of course, I still can’t take a non-awkward picture of myself to save my life, so this one will have to do.
Have you been really pleased with any of your recent projects?
You guys. I’m all alone in the house! It’s amazing. It’s so quiet. I’ve got a new knitting project and a plan to put on a TV show (that isn’t Paw Patrol).
It’s been a while since I was all alone in the house. Between me being a stay-at-home parent and my husband working from home, plus two little kids who aren’t in school yet, time alone is a rarity.
And if time alone is rare enough, time without the kids when I’m awake enough to actually work on something is rarer still. If I’m being honest, I usually pass out in front of the TV or zone out, scrolling Instagram as soon as the kids are down.
All that’s to say, it’s no wonder I haven’t been that excited about knitting for the last little bit. But today it changes! If only for a couple hours.
I’ve busted out my fanciest skein of yarn from my stash and started working on a top-down watch cap so I can use every last inch. It’s a chocolate-brown single-source alpaca that I bought more than ten years ago from a local alpaca farm, which has since gone out of business. But, if I remember correctly, the alpaca that it came from was named Electra, and she was very cute. It’s so soft, and so warm- such a luxurious yarn that I’ve never been able to bring myself to work on it. Which is a shame! Why have fancy yarn if you’re not going to use it?
Anyway, I’m going to head out. I’ve got a true crime documentary calling my name, and some coffee to drink while it’s still hot.
What do you like to knit when you’re treating yourself?
Look at this, you guys! I actually finished another project!
It’s the third of this hat I’ve whipped up in the last couple weeks, and this one is for my 2-year-old for his stocking. The kids dyed their yarn (with a lot of help) a while ago, and I just love how it turned out. This one is such a cheerful, bright blue- I know it’s going to be a favorite for a long time.
And the weirdest thing is that everyone in my family basically wears the same size hat now. Sure, the hats are a little snug on me and my husband, and a little large on the kids (especially the little one), but they essentially fit on all four of us… er… 5 of us.
Poor Ollie… he puts up with a lot. But he does look dapper in a hat.
What’s the last pattern you worked multiple times?
OK, y’all. I got one done! And it didn’t even take all that long. (In hours of work time, anyway. In days/weeks of calendar time, that’s a different story.)
It turned out super cute, even though the top is a little different from the one I made myself- I’m not sure exactly what happened there, but I guess that’s what happens when you don’t use a pattern… or notes…
I think the big kid is going to like it!
But here’s the big question: it’s only a couple short weeks until Christmas- will I have time to make a second for the little kid? Or will they get a nice “New Year’s Hat” instead? Fingers crossed.
When’s the last time you had to race against the calendar to get a project done?
OK, so you know how I finished my hat for myself last week? And I was so proud of myself/of my hat? Well, my children have fully stolen it. And I don’t know if they have weirdly large heads, or if that’s just how kids are made (I know I certainly don’t have a small head), but my hat fits both of them pretty perfectly… even the 2-year-old.
So this is kind of a good news/bad news situation. The bad news is that I have to go back to my old, sun-faded hat while the children fight over my new “Rainbow hat.” But the good news is that I don’t have to figure out a new pattern for their Christmas hats!
Because the yarn they dyed the other day was the same base as my “rainbow yarn”, I don’t even have to re-do the math. So great!
So I’m already diving in, because Christmas is closer than I’d like to admit, and I have a feeling that the one-week timeline for my hat isn’t likely to be repeated.
And, I’ve got to say, it’s cool seeing the kids’ yarns getting knit up- I actually really like this color combo! I didn’t think it was going to look that good, but I’m really enjoying it! Now, can I get both hats done in a month? Time will tell.