There's this silly little thing in knitting called gauge.
Every pattern talks about it and for those over-achieving knitters it means taking the yarn you intend to knit with, the needles you intend to use, and knitting up a little swatch to be sure you're getting the correct gauge (stitches per inch) so that whatever you're knitting will actually turn out in the size you intend it to.
Jumping in to a knitting project without first checking your gauage is a bit like diving into an elaborate recipe without first checking your cupboards to be sure you have all the ingredients. A little preparation is required.
However, I am not an over-achieving knitter. In fact, I am more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-when-the-mood-strikes-embrace-it-and-don't-look-back kind of knitter.
There are a few ways to combat this kind of knitting style. One is to have multiple children of the same gender. (check!) Another is to have those multiple same-gendered children spaced closely together in age. (check!) The other is to give birth to one child who is petite and seems to grow at a snail's pace, while later giving birth to a child who grows like a weed so that they can almost share the same clothes. (also check!)
So, the urge hit and I began sewing the In Threes sweater pattern for….Birdy. First of all, I looove the pattern. Beautiful. Easy to knit. Relatively quick if you tend to have time to knit or back epsidoes of a favorite knitting show (did you not cry the whole way through the season finale??).
I enthusiastically jumped into this project and decided to finally use, some five years later, two skeins of beautiful wool that I purchased from a quaint little sheep farm we visited when living in Wisconsin. I had two skeins. Only two skeins. But according to the pattern, enough wool to make the sweater. (this is where testing your gauge comes in handy)
As I was happily knitting along, I was struck that the sweater seemed a bit large for a 12-month old size. I also noticed that I was quite rapidly running through my two skeins of yarn.
By the end I knew that I had made a HUGE mistake (no pun intended), that this sweater most definitely was NOT going to fit Birdy, and I began to sweat over the ball of yarn that was getting smaller and smaller and ……
And so as I neared the last few inches I really began to panic. So I pulled in another color (which is looking aggressively pink in this photo) and added a few stripes which we'll pretend were all part of the orginal plan.
When the sweater was finished and blocked (no I don't do a gauge swatch but I have fallen in love with the way blocking so beautifully finishes a sweater) I began to walk around the house holding it up to various children to see who it might fit.
Turns out, the sweater fits two of them.
It's "hit you right at the hip" slightly cropped but oh-so cute for Mary, and a fits perfectly "was this made for you?" sweater for Elizabeth.
And Birdy? Well, that's fit's a few years off.
In the meantime, it will be paired with some amazing wooden buttons scouted out on etsy.
And now, my children are dancing around in shorts, tshirts and flip flops. I swear, I might make them wear this to the pool as a bathing suit cover up just to get some good wear in.
Thank goodness I have so many children.