I’m thiiiiis close to finishing my toddler’s sweater! Miracle of miracles, I got it seamed up over the weekend, and the sleeves actually look proportional to the rest of the sweater! I had serious doubts about that, but hey, it turns out that my math was correct! Who knew?
It’s so cute, and all I have left to add is the neckband! And, I suppose, block it. But that’s it! I honestly didn’t think this sweater was ever going to get finished. I’ve gotta say, it’s a nice feeling, getting close to finishing a long project. It’s been too long since I managed a bigger project like this.
And it even looks like its still going to fit the kid… maybe even next year!
I’ve just about done it- I’ve got all the big pieces for the toddler Ben-ish pullover finished. (And right in time for summer-y weather to set in. Though this is Seattle; I’m sure it’ll get back to cold and rainy before the week is out.)
The sweater looks so good! I just love this cable pattern- it’s making me want to knit up another Ben for myself (the one I made for my husband 10+ years ago and that I subsequently adopted/stole back is looking pretty disreputable). I can’t wait to see this on my little guy. He’s naturally got a real “tenured professor” vibe, so it’s basically a crime that he doesn’t have a cabled sweater already. Maybe I should add some elbow patches, too.
Anyway, all that’s left is to seam it, add the collar and block it. And if I say it like that, it doesn’t sound like much, but I’m sure it’s going to take a few weeks for me to actually get around to finishing up everything. Because why would this step take any less time than any other step? For a tiny little sweater, it’s really taking a lot of work. Long gone are the days of finishing an entire adult sweater in two weeks.
How do you feel when you get close to the end of a project?
Woo! It’s starting to look more like a sweater! It’s going to need a nice blocking (and assembly) to really see how it looks, but I’m feeling more optimistic that this will be done before my toddler is in high school.
Anyway, here’s the sweater all laid out. Obviously, I haven’t sewed it up yet, but it’s getting there. Despite my best/worst attempts at math, the proportions look more or less correct. And I just love the “little old man” aesthetic for my slow-moving, cheerful, and thoughtful little guy.
One funny thing that happened though, is that the sleeves are literally wider than the body pieces. It’s an oversized sweater with generous sleeves, so it’s not that surprising, but still, when they’re laid out like that… it looks a little funny.
Now I just have to make the other sleeve… and sew it together… and block it. I’m basically done, right?
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?
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 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 have been thinking about why I’ve been so uninspired by my knitting recently, and what I can do to help turn that around in the new year. And I realized something. I haven’t bought any new yarn since Covid started- almost 3 years ago. I bought a little new yarn when I made the stocking for my little kid (before he was born, 2 years ago). And I bought an extra skein to add to my big kid’s stashbusting sweater this summer. But that’s it. And I ordered them online.
All that’s to say, I was looking at my dwindling stash and I found what I thought was enough yarn for a sweater for my little kid- 1 whole and 2 half-skeins of Berroco Vintage, which made me decide to make a Ben sweater for my little guy. It’s one of my favorite sweaters- I made one for my husband right after we got married years ago, and since then it’s “mysteriously” ended up in my wardrobe. Funny how that happens.
I did a little swatch on smaller-than-called-for needles and measured a bit of the gauge, then ripped it out- I knew I was going to need every last inch if I wanted to make my 2-year-old an entire sweater. I did a bunch of math, and sketched out a simplified, toddler-sized version of the Ben sweater.
I was just about ready to cast on, when I realized two things: 1. There’s no way I have enough yarn for even a toddler sweater- it’s less than 200g, with both colors combined. Maybe enough for a newborn sweater, but not enough for my “robust” 2-year-old. And 2. I want to buy some new yarn!
So I called over my little guy and asked him what color he wanted, to which he of course said “Geen!” (Green is literally the only color he knows, luckily he looks great in green.) And I ordered myself some new yarn! I picked out “Okra,” this cheerful heathered “geen” colorway.
Now I get to wait impatiently for the yarn to come in the mail and I get to start working on my little guy’s sweater. I’m so excited!
What’s the last yarn that you’ve bought for yourself?
You guys. I can’t believe it. I actually finished it! I finished the kid’s sweater! After three whole months, I finally actually factually finished it. That’s right. It took me three months to finish a sweater for a 4-year-old.
And when you think about it that way, two weeks to put buttons on is nothing!
I found this amazing set of pinkish-maroon-y buttons, that went perfectly with the red yarn without being too matchy-matchy. They came from my Grandma’s old button collection, and are probably from the 70’s (according to a bit of light Googling).
I sewed those buggers on and blocked the thing! The ends are in, the buttons are on, it’s all really and truly finished. Thank goodness. I didn’t think this sweater was ever going to be done.
Of course, it’s approximately one bazillion degrees out now, so the kid won’t touch the sweater with a ten-foot pole, much less put it on for a final photoshoot. But, hey, we can’t have everything, can we? So, instead, I’ll style it by laying it on my unswept floor with a bunch of our ever-present Brio trains. (Seriously. They’re always out.)
I’m off to drink a celebratory LaCroix (it’s too hot for anything else right now), and think about what my next project should be.
After all that complaining about how long the kid’s sweater was taking, it turns out that all I really needed was about 2 hours and a couple episodes of Drag Race and…. Fanfare, please!
It’s done! I finished up the ribbing, bound off and even wove in the ends!
The sleeves are ridiculously long on the kid, but fit well enough when I roll up the cuffs, and the body is long, but not looong. I think (hope) that they’ll get a year or two’s use out of it (and I have plenty of extra red yarn, so I can always make the body longer as the kid gets taller). Although, at the rate they’re growing, it’s going to be too small for them by the time I finish typing out this post. Kids, am I right?
Now, just to get it blocked out and add the buttons. That certainly can’t take longer than actually knitting up the sweater. Right?… Right?
I guess my days of banging out a sweater in a weekend are behind me (at least until my kids can fend for themselves for more than five minutes at a time, anyway). I’ve been working on this ding dang sweater for more than two months at this point. And it’s a kid’s sweater!!
I mean, sure, I’m busy. The big kid has decided not to nap any more, and the little one has decided that it’s hilarious to take my ball of yarn and try to run around the house with it, so I’m relegated to knitting only after bedtime. And yes, it’s been hotter than the blazes over here, so I haven’t wanted to knit. AND, sure, I’ve been doing some design work that’s been using up what little knitting time I have. AND, of course, I accidentally picked a size that won’t fit my kid for about 3 more years… it could practically fit a (small) grownup!
But still. I’m ready for this project to be done.
At least it’s turning out cute. I’ve just got an inch or two left of the hem, a bunch of ends to weave in, and buttons to add. It’s practically finished!
Ha. (Let’s see how many more weeks it’ll take for me to finish up. Taking bets now!)
What’s the slowest you’ve done a project? Did it ever get finished?