This, my friends, is a story of perseverance. It’s a story of big hopes, big disappointments, and lots (and lots and lots) of starting over… and (thankfully), it’s a story with a happy ending. (It’s kind of a long story, too, so if you don’t want to read about my epic battle of yarn and needles, just scroll down and look at the pictures!)
As I’m sure you know, at one point I was quite the avid knitter. I knit sweaters and socks and purses and mancala boards. And then, as is wont to happen, I completely burnt out.
Then I got invited to my friends Tess and Evan’s baby shower.
Since Tess is my first peer/buddy who is having a baby, I wanted to make something adorable and tiny and perfect for their little girl. I wanted to caress soft baby yarns and use little needles. I wanted to knit!
I settled on a pattern… the cutest little dress with a cable down the front. I bought some yarn — the softest pima/modal/angora (but still machine washable and dryer-safe!) blend ever in a beautiful buttery yellow that looks apricot in other lights. I got some needles… I was set!
Five or six days of determined knitting later, I realized that one armhole was headed in the normal direction, while one would be sticking out of the baby’s chest. NOOOO!!
I scrapped it. The pattern had been badly translated, and I just didn’t want to figure out where it (or I, I guess) went wrong.
ATTEMPT #1: FAIL
Crushed and crunched for time with less than a week left, I cast on some booties. I got halfway through with one, got bored, and frogged it.
ATTEMPT #2: FAIL
Desperate, I picked up another adorable dress pattern. It had the cutest garter yoke with little button closures. Precious! The pattern called for fingering yarn. I figured the DK weight I had would bump up the dress no more than two sizes, and a 6-9 month size would get used soon enough. Four frantic knitting days later, I got to a place where I could measure…
18 MONTHS?!?!? NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Why oh why oh WHY didn’t I pay attention to gauge?
ATTEMPT #3: GIANT FAIL!
Ridiculously desperate and thisclose to giving up on a hand-knit gift just two days before the shower, I stumped upon a pattern called the “Five Hour Baby Boy Sweater.” Ravelry showed me that, in contrast to the dated example on the webpage, it was a damn cute sweater, and not boyish at all! Was there hope?
I ran to the yarn store, eager to ask a professional if I could use my treasured Baby Bunny yarn on this sweater. The lady there was… well… a bitch. Besides trying to upsell me, she countered my indecisiveness by asking me if I’d forgotten to each lunch that day.
I grabbed some red yarn I didn’t love for a backup… precious moments were ticking away, after all!… and ran home.
This time, I GAUGED. And gauged and gauged and gauged. I figured out a way to use the Baby Bunny in the Five Hour Sweater pattern. Success!
I knit. I knit and knit and emptied out my DVR and talked to Aussie. I knit until it became very clear that I would need a circular needle which I didn’t have to continue. Saturday came, and two yarn store trips later, two trips each on buses and a ferry spent knitting, and another night of knitting and knitting and watching TV… and it was done!
And oh my!! It was stinkin’ cute!
It was the sweater of my dreams.
It’s soft and cozy and feels good when you rub it on your face.
It turned out EXACTLY as I wanted it, and I was ever so proud to give it to the expecting parents. I can’t wait to see their baby girl wear it!
Now, who’s next? As much as the tiny footie jammies I saw at the shower yesterday made my uterus tick, I’m not sure I’m quite ready… yet!
Note to Knitters: Pattern is the Five-Hour Baby Boy Sweater, available for free online. I used Plymouth Baby Bunny in colorway 208 HELD DOUBLE on size 9 needles. Rather than crochet a slip stitch to seam the arms (and reduce finishing!), I cut the yarn and did mattress stitch up the arms. 😦 Two mother-of-pearl buttons closed with a figure-8 crocheted cord (one end sewn down) completed the look… and conveniently covered a teeny-tiny mistake! It probably took 7-8 hours, not including endless gauging or sewing on the buttons.