When Lou was born I was, naturally thrilled. Not as thrilled as I could have been if he as a girl, but I’ve clearly gotten over it in absolutely every way but one. The knitting. As little as I care what babies wear, or who thinks they are what gender, most parents find it uncomfortable to have little girls and boys taken for each other, and I still live in a world where there are a lot of limits on what kind of babies wear what… particularly boys. There was just no way, no matter how much I wanted to knit one, that a flowered sweater in pastel colours was going to end up on Lou, for anything other than a minute, and for any reasons other than politeness or hypothermia. I’ve dutifully enjoyed knitting him sweaters that play by (most of) the rules, but when my niece Myrie was born, my knitters heart leapt and out came all the patterns that I had been saving for years just waiting for another baby girl to come along. This one was at the top of the list. Lanett Baby #0714, and it’s #1 "White/Blue Set" (I just love their names.) I used Lanett Baby superwash, and I am so freaking in love with this sweater, and I feel proud of it too. It’s just about perfect, and it was all in the millions of little details.
My friend Denny has a thing about finishing. She’s the polar opposite of knitters who are willing to sit with an unfinished project for months, just to avoid weaving in a few ends, or tackling a seam. Denny? Show Denny a project with so many ends to weave in that it looks like a shag carpet and Denny will clap her hands like a kid at Christmas, put on the teakettle and whip a darning needle out of nowhere while beaming at you and saying "There, there… give it to Denny." She loves it, I tell you, just straight up adores it and takes satisfaction from it and well.. I can’t quite identify with Denny – but I’m not that other kind of knitter either.
I fall right in the middle, I think. I don’t actively avoid finishing, but I don’t quite love it. It’s a part of knitting, and I’m cool with that, I sort of feel that it’s like casting off or purling three together through the back loops. It happens, it’s a part of knitting that comes up and I take some pride in doing it as well as I do the other parts, but it’s not like generally speaking, I look at a cardigan knit in pieces and think "Oh man – now there’s some juicy seams to sew up" and not once in my life have I looked at an intarsia sweater and exclaimed "MY GOD THE ENDS WILL BE THE BEST PART", but I’ll do them if that’s what it takes.
All of this does nothing to explain what happens to my feelings about all that finishing if you make it tiny. Maybe it has something to do with how cute things are when they are smaller (babies vs adults, puppies vs dogs, organizing a doll kitchen vs scraping dried yogurt off your full size fridge) but if you make that finishing little, if it just gets fiddly enough that doing it is like hitch hiking around the city limits for Crazyville, then I’m your knitter. Bring. It. This sweater did. Little cable details on the sleeves, little cables round the tiny itty-bitty sewn hems, that bodice tuck, each little stitch sewn down.
Don’t get me started on the colourwork. That’s duplicate stitch, what felt like oceans of it, and I can’t even tell you how long the weensie teeny button band took. (I did it three times, but it’s perfect.) The fussy seams that sew in the puffed sleeves, the Lilliputian cuffs at the little gathered wrists…
I feel bad that these pictures were taken pre-blocking, because it was even prettier afterwards. When I gave it to Myrie (her mother opened it, what with Myrie still just perfecting bodily functions, never mind present opening) Robyn started to say something, and then stopped. She thought for a minute and said "I hope this isn’t the wrong thing to say, but this is so beautiful, it looks like it came from a store."
I was thrown for one half secon, and then I realized that I know just what she means. She means it looks hand-made in a way that’s top notch, the knitting is good enough to sell, she’s saying, and I get it. She means that I could go pro, and she would buy what I was putting out there, and it’s a compliment.
I didn’t tell her she would never be able to afford that sort of sweater, not even if you paid me minimum wage and I ate the cost of the yarn. There’s only one currency she can use to get this stuff.
Love. It’s just not worth it for anything else.