May 12, 2010
My motivation was simple: take an absolutely stunning (stunning!) skein of hand-dyed, hand-spun yarn, and try to use it up, down to the very last yard.
I followed the directions for the smallest size (3-6 months) when it came to stitch and row counts, but because the chosen yarns were thicker than those specified in the original pattern, I ended up with a sweater that's between the two largest sizes. I think it should fit an 18-month old, or maybe even a 2-year old.
Yarns: the green is Cedar Leaf hand-dyed, hand-spun, 80% BFL/20% silk that I purchased from PigeonRoof Studios. The skein had 140 yards, and I used up just about all of them. The burgundy is a commercially available yarn called Berroco Lustra in the Aubergine colorway (3160). It is 50% Peruvian wool, 50% Tencel Lyocell, 197 yards per skein. I used up about 170 yards.
The stunning (stunning!) BFL/silk blend came first, and I paired it with the Lustra for several reasons. First and foremost, the two colors look great together! Both yarns have a noticeable sheen, so they really look like "they belong" in the same garment. Second, the thickness of the two yarns is similar (but, in truth, not identical: the Lustra is noticeably thinner).
Needles: As recommended in the pattern, I used US 6 needles for the main portion of the sweater, though I think I could have gone up a needle size without much impact on the fabric (but more comfort for my hands). My gauge with these yarns was 4.5 stitches and 7.5 rows per inch of knitting.
Other thoughts: for the first Budgie I was lucky to find the perfect zipper at Windsor Button: great match in terms of color, separating, not too chunky, with molded plastic teeth (so I could shorten it). For this sweater, the color choices available from Coats & Clark just weren't going to cut it. So I turned to an old friend: ZipperStop! Their YKK #3 molded plastic separating sweater zippers are just perfect for this kind of project, and come in hundreds of colors. Delivery was ridiculously quick. I covered the back of the zipper with green grosgrain ribbon.
We all know that I'm a process knitter through and through: I think 99% of what compels me to knit is the fact that I enjoy knitting. And this project is a prime example. Neither one of these yarns is particularly well-suited for a baby sweater. They are quite delicate, especially the single-ply Lustra, which would almost dissolve in my hands if I mistreated it. They are certainly not machine-washable.
Along the same lines, the colors are rather mature and sophisticated, don't you agree? So shouldn't have I transformed these yarns into... a hat, or a cowl, or something for a grown-up? Probably. But I didn't want to ;). I wanted to knit a striped baby sweater, practical or not, and so I did. Now I'm trying to think of a mom who would be willing to accept a handwash-only sweater (a saint is more like it) (Elinor?). But to tell you the truth, I will be just as happy to put this away into a drawer and never give it to anyone - the process of knitting this project made me exceptionally happy, and it wouldn't matter to me if the sweater never got any use.
How would you feel in this situation? Would you be disappointed knowing that your beautiful creation would never be used?