I knew when I knit the playful stripes for Zoë that I would want to make one for Clara. The pattern, happy thing that it is, goes up to a size 6 and it fit Zoë so well. I knew the colors would have to be different, but I wanted to keep the base of an off-white, so they would look a little matchy, but still reflect their different personalities.
Because Zoë is totally a pink/purple/sparkly girl:
It is constantly awesome to me how DIFFERENT they are from each other. They are both so much like Josh and I and yet so different from each other... it amazes me how that is possible. I love it. So Clara definitely needed different colors. Because she is in school during the days (which is both wonderful and hard) she couldn't easily pop down to the shop and get bored and pick out her own colors, so I grabbed a selection that I thought would appeal to her and brought them home for her to look at.
I'm actually creating quite a little stash of the baby cashmerino - I see many of these sweaters in my future. People better start having more babies....
It's bizarre, when my Grandfather died this past November it was both totally expected and completely shocking at the same time. I was trying to figure out what to do about myself and my family and traveling to the funeral. It was kind of Grandpa to die when he did, he missed birthdays, anniversaries, and conveniently passed right before a long weekend. It was as if he had planned the whole thing. Which on some level I think is both possible and not possible. But I had choices, we had planned to go to Maine to visit grandparents and our new nephew (and their parents, but we all know we were basically going to be cooing at the nephew the whole time) So Josh and I decided that he would drive up to Maine with the girls -- let them have the fun weekend that we had planned, it would help Josh to not be solo with the girls for the whole time I would be gone and it would help the girls cope with not having me there. My mom (who left at 3am from Maine to drive to Kentucky where the funeral would be) would swing by and pick me up and we would drive down together.... re-living the last time we roadtripped to Kentucky when I was 15 and deeply in love with my first, wretched, boyfriend - for my brother's college graduation. whoa, memories.
I ran around that morning trying to figure out luggage - I would be driving down and then flying home, waiting until we were certain of the time of the funeral before I purchased my ticket. I had never spent this much time away from my girls - and frankly, Josh and I are a matched set, we rarely spend nights apart. I was in a bit of a panic, while trying to maintain a calm exterior for the girls and also pack for what I knew would be one of the more surreal experiences of my life. One moment, the universe saw my vulnerability and decided to strike, I was rummaging through a carry-on option and found the print out of my ultrasound when I was pregnant with Zoë - cue tears. (she's always had such a nicely proportioned head... I love those pictures.)
anyway, as knitters -- or at least, as followers of this blog -- you'll know that what you bring to knit on such an occasion is CRUCIAL to your sanity. I brought this sweater which I had barely cast on and knit the first few rows of. It was a perfect choice. I had miles of stockinette and miles to drive, and then a flurry of stripes at the end. I managed to find the perfect buttons in my knitting doo-dad bag and had the whole thing finished by the time I flew home. It helped me feel connected to my real life, both my knitting life, and my mothering life, and the actual knitting was geniusly therapeutic.
Since I was pretty high from the whole top-down size extension from the previous post, I threw in a few details to make it a bit easier to make it bigger later if we want to. This sweater is all in one piece, but it isn't top-down, it's bottom-up. Which means that you knit the body to the armholes, then separately knit two sleeves to the armhole and then you join them all together and knit the yoke. Then button and buttonhole bands and then, voila, sweater.
I have found that a sweater that is a little short in the body is okay, especially over dresses, so I was primarily concerned with the sleeves. There is something about a bracelet length, or 3/4's that looks normal on a grown-up, but looks just inappropriate on a kid. Like, they've grown out of their clothes and you are not a together enough mom to get them the right size. ahem. So I used a provisional cast-on on the sleeves and I decided to sew the hem down at the end, rather than knitting the hem in place as I went. This way when it's time to make the sleeves a bit longer, I can snip the sewing, un-zip the cast on, rip back the stripey section and then re-knit the cuff.
I also love wacky linings in garments - you know, bright colors and patterns that usually only you see as you are putting on and taking off your garments... so I added some hem stripes that are only visible, really, when the sweater is off.
There is no reason for them to be there, other than to amuse Clara and me... and it does make me smile. I actually finished this long before I left Kentucky, and I managed to work on my stripey boxy and a hat I was designing, and I had a little vacation yarn shopping at one of my brother's LYSs that was so inspiring. So the knitting and yarn definitely kept me (relatively) sane during an (insanely) stressful and difficult weekend. Have I ever mentioned how terrified I am of flying, yeah, that was big time fun as well.
Of course, Clara loves the sweater, because she's awesome. And matching sweaters are fun (especially when you get to meet actual ballerinas!!!):