After the debacle of knitting the wrong size on that baby sweater, I ripped it back and re-did it. I know that probably seems a little like madness, I was so close to done, but I had really wanted to use that ridiculously soft merino for a newborn sweater, and what the heck, I like knitting. I didn’t take too long, really.
Yarn: Stash Merino – label long gone, which is a shame, since it’s wondrous stuff. Pattern: Norwegian Fir. (Newborn size. Sigh.) Quite a good little pattern, but watch out for that size thing. Needles: 3.5mm.
Now that it’s done and blocked, it just needed a button. As written, the pattern needs just a single one, up at the neck and this seemed fine to me. This baby will be a second baby, and one button is likely all Meg and Alex will have time to do up anyway. Only needing one button, I headed straight for my button collection, and opened up one of two old cookie tins. Ages ago, when my Grammy died, I got her button box. I’ve dipped into it for years, when I need a special touch for something, It’s full of a million (okay, hundreds) of fairly mundane buttons, mostly snipped off of clothing headed for the bin – a depression era practice of my Grams. When my mum died, I got her button bin as well – and hers is a little different. My mum didn’t knit. I stress here “didn’t” rather than “couldn’t” because her not knitting was an active choice. As insane as it may sound to us, she didn’t like it. She tried it, it didn’t work out, and she was good at other things. She was, for example, a wonderful seamstress. (As I type that I wonder if there’s a gender neutral term… sewer? Sewist?)
When I was young she sewed most of our clothes, and taught me too. I remember with great fondness a green top with cream coloured yoke and angel-wing sleeves, sprinkled with softer green stalks of wheat. She made it for me to wear on a trip out west with my grandparents, and at the time that I wore it I was maybe… seven years old, and quite sure it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever owned. It probably was. Since mum sewed, her button box is a little different. It’s in a cookie tin like my Grammy’s (some strange family quirk, I suppose, since mine is too) and contains more leftovers than rescues. It’s easy to find seven matching buttons in my Gram’s box, and near impossible in Mum’s. I only needed one, so in I went.
In five minutes of poking around, pulling out this one and that, I settled on this completely plain and ordinary button. I know it’s silly, since it’s not special in any way – not wooden or hand carved, or especially pretty, but perfect for this. This child, whoever they are, will be the first person born after the Era of Bonnie. They will be the first child to never meet her or know her at all, except through our telling and pictures, and I thought that a button from her stash would be the perfect beginning for them. A connection, something to start them off right, the perfect prologue to a million stories that start with “One time, your Great Grammy….”
I think it is a sign of healing, or maybe just time passing that this idea makes me smile a little, rather than cry, and the minute I’m done writing this, I’m going to sew it on, fold the sweater into a wee pile, and it can be the first woollie my new grandbaby wears. My mum wasn’t a sentimental or soft person, but I think she’d like that a lot. She’d sure hate it if I wasted a button.