What a weekend. I charged through Thanksgiving, Myrie’s first birthday party, a quick sail, and tons of cooking and family and it was the very best kind of busy, although I feel now like having a little lie down. Still, you come here for the wool, so let me tell you about the sweater. Myrie, my little niece (I bet even though you don’t know her, you remember her blanket) celebrated her birthday this weekend. My relationship with Myrie is a different one than I have with my nephews. Both the boys (Hank and Lou) live close by, and we’ve been lucky to have a lot of them. Myrie lives farther away, and her mum and dad travel in different circles than we do, and their tiny family of three is perfectly, gorgeously tight. This means that while I’m absolutely thrilled that their lives are just the way that they like it, if I ran the world, that kid would be in my arms, my house and my time a lot more often than she is.
Me being a knitter, I have only one way to express this. I can cover the child with wool like it was my arms, and try to make the things for her as special as I can, so that she knows I love her. (Please note that I am not completely delusional. I know that a one-year old has no idea that someone really seriously busted a move on a sweater, and has no idea what vibe I’m transmitting. She’d rather chew on the ribbon I put on the box the sweater came in- at this age, all I’m doing is pleasing her parents, and making things that maybe Myrie will look at someday when she’s much bigger, or a mother herself.) You’d think not being as close to her as I’d like wouldn’t trigger special handknits, but oh, does it. All the time I would spend in the park, on walks, reading books… that time can all go into a sweater, and so I feel entirely mad for making something this intricate.
Myrie’s little sweater was Minni – knit out of Madeleine Tosh Sock in Antler (the cream) and Magnolia Leaf (not the cream). The needles – in case you were wondering, were 2.25mm and 1.75mm – fiddly, I know. I trimmed it in green left over from a sweater last year, and I made the largest size because when you make something like this, it should fit for a while.
It had lovely details. The overall pattern was a ridge of garter, alternated with two rows of stockinette, but in important spots – like across the centre of the back, or at the top of the shoulder, that switched to garter, for extra stability. I crocheted a little chain of the green along the border at the bottom, because the pattern said to, and because it was very pretty indeed. There was no end of fussiness, but the best part was the little embroidered patch. Since I finished early, I decided to give my idea a whirl. The pattern came with a few little templates for the embroidery, and they were cute, but Chris, Robyn and Myrie have a sweet little dog, Olive, and I thought it would be extra cute if she was on the patch.
I had my mother-in-law send me pictures of Olive, and I did a little sketch. When we all agreed that the little patch looked just like Olive, I held the sketch up to the window, and put a little square of linen over it so I could see through. I transferred a few little markings to help me stay on track, and then I started embroidering the dog onto the patch.
A few incredibly fiddly hours later, I had the patch done, and it was as cute as I had hoped. It personalized the sweater beautifully – it was nice work before, but a one-of-a-kind special thing after.
I think they loved it, and as silly as it seemed, the best part for me wasn’t the patch, it was the sweet little diaper flare over her wee bum as she crawled that really did it for me.
I am totally and completely thrilled with this sweater. If a knitted thing has to stand in for you, then this, this is the sort of sweater that I’d like to have do it for me. So completely perfect in every way. Myrie wore it for hours and seemed to think it comfy – unlike the hat I gave her, which she ripped off and threw on the floor. (I’m not bothered by that. I hate hats too, and I bet she likes it better at -20. I’ll show you the hat tomorrow.) The little miss stayed awake long enough to be doted on by all of her adoring fans, then corked off for a wee nap in the garden, sleeping in her buggy in the cool fall air, wearing her sweater, and tucked under her blanket.
It was lovely to see them being used, and I liked how it felt to me. Even if I’m not around – I’m around her. It’s just my wool instead of me. If you’re a knitter, it’s the next best thing.