knitting

a reason to have more children

There's this silly little thing in knitting called gauge.

that silly thing

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. 

DSC_0009

 

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. 

DSC_0021

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. 

There's this silly little thing in knitting called gauge.

that silly thing

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. 

DSC_0009

 

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. 

DSC_0021

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. 

12 comments on “a reason to have more children”

  1. Ha!! I’m one of those who knits a gauge swatch. I have learned my lesson well.

    It’s totally adorable and it reminds me that Kit needs another sweater. You know, since it’s May and we have a high of 58 here today. I love those stripes – I think they add some fun to the sweater.

  2. Like Sarah, I also religiously knit gauge swatches, for everything I knit unless it is a reliable yarn that I’ve used many times and a familiar gauge. However, despite my very consistent swatching, the last two things I knit turned out the wrong size anyway. This could be partly because I knit SO very loosely and when I knit the gauge it was slightly big but pretty close — not worth going down another needle size in my mind. Or it could be because I gauged for flat knitting and one project was knit in the round. Or it could be because the pattern(s) were wrong. (In one case I think this is true because who ever heard of a size 10 having 13″ sleeves? That is at least 3″ too short, if not 4″.)

    Since my kids are neither close in age nor same-gender consecutive, if something turns out too big, I pretty much have to wait for them to grow into it. If it turns out too small (which has never happened since I knit so loosely), I either have to rip it out or pass it on to someone else.

    BUT anyway, your sweater turned out beautifully! I really love it! The green and pink are perfect. 🙂

  3. PS: I cannot believe it about the shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops. We are probably a month away from that yet. Most of our trees don’t even have buds yet! Everything is still brown and quite chilly. Sigh.

  4. ah! non gauge swatch knitter! thankfully it all works out in the end with your sweet family line up. the sweater is darling and those buttons! those buttons. love.

  5. I too have started knitting a sweater for my 12 month old – knowing how long I take to knit I started it last September in a 12-18 month size. When I started to run out of the supposed ball requirement after having only knitted the back half I became quite alarmed. I have decided to pesevere though, with the realisation that it probably won’t fit her until she is about 4. I must have done something wrong with the conversion from American guage to Australian.

  6. It is a very sweet pattern, and I’m glad that it’ll be put to good use. I know your pain about gauge woes! I had to giggle at the title of this post. I find myself wanting another little one since there are so many adorable knitting patterns – I have to use some excuse for knitting them up.

  7. The stripes look planned and terrific. I too don’t swatch. I actually hate it. I have precious little knitting time, and I hate it to be spent on something that will be ripped out or not used in a final project. Luckily I mostly make things for my kiddos or items not dependent on gauge. I did knit a sweater for myself recently that I knit a swatch for. It was horrible as the sweater was knit and the round and that meant I had to swatch that way. The swatch would not hit gauge no matter what I did. Finally I just forged ahead. I figured it had to fit someone I know. I nervously tried it on when I was done and voila it fits me. Take that, gauge swatches!

  8. The cardigan turned out really cute with the stripes :)I don’t think I have ever knitted a gauage sampler in all the years I’ve been knitting… I might have done it a couple of times though…

  9. That is why I don’t knit!..lol When I notice it’s to big or small I toss it.It’s beautiful and very glad you had someone in the house it fits.Your explanation about the importance of gauging is the very best I have seen. I think next time I just may give it a try. Again beautiful job on the sweater.

  10. Oh, you had me in stitches with this one! (oh, ouch. sorry.)

    Because I’m 200 yards into a 180 yard sweater. And now out of yarn. With no more to be found. Because I can’t bother to gauge a swatch. Because it wastes so much time. Unlike spending twenty hours knitting a sweater, then not being able to finish the final half of the front left panel.

    I’m pretty sure knitters ought to have a penny saved, pound foolish analog. It ought to have my photo right next to the definition.

    (btw, it is lovely. i’ve got this sweater bookmarked. now, if only i had a few more girls to hang it on…)

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