Tiny Sweater, Big News
Hello there, and welcome back to Red Knits! There’s been a lot of excitement around here since I last posted, so we have some catching up to do.
First of all, the location of “around here” has changed! I am fortunate to be on a dissertation writing fellowship this year, which means that I no longer have to go to campus. In order to have better job prospects for my husband and be closer to family, we decided to move back to Minnesota, and we are so happy with our decision!
Our other bit of news is this:
After 8+ years of marriage, we’ve decided it’s time to add a new little one to our family. We are so excited to meet our baby in February! But this is a knitting blog, not a mommy blog, so let’s have a closer look at that sweater.
This is Sirdal, a traditional colorwork design that Dale of Norway has worked up in baby sizes. Steve and I picked out this yarn around the time that we had decided a baby was in our near future, knowing that we wanted a gender-neutral Norwegian sweater that would match those that I had had knit for each of us. Shortly after I got a positive pregnancy test, I cast on. This may be a little sweater, but it was a lot of work.
This sweater, like every Dale of Norway I’ve knit, is worked from the bottom up in three pieces–the body in one piece, and the two sleeves–before steeking and an exorbitant amount of finishing work. After a small border at the hem, the lower body and sleeves are worked in lice stitch (yes, that’s really what it’s called!).
Here’s an inside view of the above section of the sweater so you can see my colorwork floats. As my grandma always said, the inside of the work should be just as neat as the outside. If you’re newly embarking upon colorwork, one way to ensure that both your insides and outsides are tidy is to pay attention to color dominance: do a quick internet search to see what it’s about and why it’s important.
This pattern calls for a buttoned placket at the wrists, which I attempted on the first sleeve. I found it incredibly tedious to knit because I constantly had to break the yarn, and buttons at the wrist of a baby who’s sticking everything in its mouth seemed like a bad idea to me. I ripped out the first cuff and knit a plain one by blending the instructions for another baby sweater in the same book with those for this one. It went much more quickly, and I’m very happy with the result.
As I said, Dale of Norway sweaters in any size require a whole lot of finishing work. Not only do you have to steek–meaning, cut–your knitting (which no longer bothers me in the least), but you then have to sew seams, pick up and knit buttonbands, knit and tack down facings, stitch hems, and attach buttons. Of the 2 1/2 months I worked on this sweater, the last week or more was spent on the finishing work, and that was working on it monogamously because I wanted to use it in our pregnancy announcement photo. I recommend good podcasts and/or television and something tasty to drink.
The very last step of this sweater was attaching buttons. It was a bit of a challenge to find something that was simple enough not to distract from all of the colorwork while still being a color match, but I managed to find some at JoAnn. These are basic, plastic buttons that should be able to withstand the many washings ahead of them.
As you might guess, this is only one of many handknits waiting for our baby to arrive, and I’m sure there will be many more to come. If you have any favorite baby patterns, especially gender neutral ones, I would love it if you let me know in the comments.
Pattern: Dale of Norway Sirdal
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock: 1.15 sk Chocolate Amargo and .32 sk Lettuce
Needles: US 0 & 1.5 Addi circulars
Made for: Baby Read
Timeline: 4 June – 16 August 2016
Modifications: modified sleeve cuffs (see above)
Worst Part: letting this languish during 1st trimester apathy
Best Part: the modeled photos of this sweater to come