Friday, January 26, 2018

A Dreamy Activity


The beginning of the week brought me to the end of the various complexities of the full scope of characters in George Elliot's great work of literature, Middlemarch, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
As I seamed this baby sweater and sewed it's tiny pearly white buttons in place, the lives of Dorothea, Rosamond, Will and many others who had become as living, breathing people to me began to ebb away. Some of their essence will always linger, however, when I remember the knitting of this sweater.
That's how it always is with me. I become connected to the items I make and they remain a piece of what was going on for me, around me and inside me during the time of the making. This may be one reason I like both books and projects that take a bit of time. A slow read and a slow knit. Sometimes they are both what the soul needs... slow down... slow down...slow down...
Be Dreamy...
Working on baby knits has always been dreamy to me. I love to picture their chubby tummies and arms wrapped in a cardigan that's been made with tender care. My mind wanders to the sight of that precious little head covered by a hand knit hat. Every stitch made with great purpose and so much love.
I really like the lacework pattern in this sweater by Vibe Ulrik Sondergaard.
It's a very easy repeat to follow. The pattern is easy to follow as well,
for the most part.
However, there are a few things you should know
if you decide to try your hand at it.
First thing is that it comes out small
I am typically on the loose side when I knit and crochet both.
Even though I was on gauge this sweater came out smaller than I intended.
I was following instructions for size 9-12 months, which brings me to the
Second thing...
There is one mistake that needs correction in the pattern.
Left Front:
After Row 6:
Next row: K6, [p1, k5],to last 7, (4:6:4:6) sts, [p1, k1] to end of row.
The book is missing one stitch here. It shows a 6 where I have a bold 7.
Third thing...
There are no buttonholes knitted into the pattern. 
It instructs you to simply poke the buttons through. Being a loose knitter, I can do this easily enough, however it is never my preference to do so. I have decided, all things considered, that I really do adore this sweet baby sweater, so much so that I will make it again. I have made my knitter's notes {scribbles...} and therefore know exactly what to expect. I might even work out how to size it up in the future. Most definitely there will be knitted buttonholes incorporated from now on.
As you travel along your own knitting journey, I would like to encourage you to make changes when and where they are needed, or even just when you feel like it. If you'll look at the top of the sweater you will see one row of garter stitch running around just about five rows beneath the neck ribbing. I added that on a whim. It was meant to be plain stockinette but I suddenly decided to throw in that one more touch of texture. Forge ahead... Be Brave... Be Confident!
Like I tell my knitting and crochet students all of the time...
"It's just yarn, needles and hooks... sticks and string really...
don't be intimidated ...
YOU are the BOSS of it ...
BE THE BOSS OF IT
Every student I've ever taught loves that and at some point of frustration will repeat that back to me out loud. It's a great encourager and a fantastic bit of comic relief when one is sweating over the learning process.
As the great knitting icon, Elizabeth Zimmermann said,
"I can knit, I knit all year, day in, day out, it is my passion,
and I rarely knit the same thing twice the same way."
So I say this to you,
Relax...
Make your knitting yours.
Experience it.
A large part of the overall experience is, of course, sensory.
Notice a say sensory rather than tactile.
For me fiber is about feeling, seeing, smelling, thinking... emotion.
I must admit this is why I have such a great love affair with natural fibers.
There's a purity, a quality, a fragrance, an essence to them.
Have you ever tried to smell acrylic...???
Once again, I'm with the late, great Ms. Zimmermann on this one who advised to
"pass by the synthetic yarn department with your nose in the air..."
{All hail to the Queen on this one}
On a much lovelier note, I can promise you,
my senses know the instant they come in contact with
wool, cashmere, alpaca, silk...
These fibers flow and breathe with the body and skin.
The yarn I chose to work with for the sweater, as mentioned in my last post,
is Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk Dk in Color number 0359 Blossom.
It comes in a 50g ball/116m/127yards for $9.95 per ball.
There's not a single thing I don't absolutely love about this exquisite fiber.
I highly recommend it, especially for baby items.
It's ultra soft, has beautiful bounce and shows great stitch definition.
It can be machine washed, if you like but must be laid flat to dry.
Once I put the finishing touches to the sweater,
I decided there must be a hat to accompany the gift as well.
This "Hat with Wave" pattern is also in the Lullaby Knits book. I was intrigued by its uniqueness and then completely smitten with its outcome. Since it is knit flat, as you can see in the last picture {because I am now making just one more...}, then seamed up the back and cast off across the top in a straight fashion, rather than round, it gives a somewhat squared off shape when laid flat. I was delighted to discover that when placed on a round object, like a baby's head, it gives the slight appearance of what looks like ears. Almost like a tiny pussycat hat or a golden honey bear. Too sweet.
The needles I used for both the sweater and the hat
were from one of my favorite circular sets of
These needles are light and silky smooth with perfect joins and cables that swivel as you knit. I have two sets. The smaller and the larger sizes and I love them.  
I find that each time my needles or hooks return to babyland I have a hard time getting them to come back out right away. While I'm lost in the dreaminess of it all... the gliding along of those smooth needles and lush fiber,  I can almost smell that baby sweetness and feel their incomparable softness. All things "baby" will always hold a special, dreamy place in my heart.
If you're looking for me this time of year I can usually be found walking along the windswept moors with the sisters Bronte or off in some snug drawing room with Jane Austen, sipping a nice cup of tea and knitting...
always, always knitting in my own dreamland.

"Really, hand knitting is a dreamy activity,
built into many people's thumbs and fingers
by genes already there,
itching to display their skills 
and achievement possibilities."
Elizabeth Zimmermann
(1910-1999)

2 comments:

  1. I am a complete Jane Austen fan, I think I must have lived back then in a past life because I can read about that era all the time. Your knits are so beautiful Danette, simply gorgeous.

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    Replies
    1. I am the same Meredith. I often wonder if Jane Austen would be completely stunned at her overwhelming popularity that goes on through the ages.
      Thank you so much for the lovely compliment about my knitting my sweet friend 💗

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Danette