See these happy people? These are my friends Jess and Dan, and they are expecting their first baby (gender unknown). Last week, Jess’s sister e-mailed to say she was planning a baby shower for Jess, for Saturday – a week and a half away. Jess is 32 weeks along, so I knew the baby was coming, I just didn’t know the shower was going to be so soon. Obviously, I decided to knit something, confident that despite the fact that the store opening was imminent (it was great, and there’s a post forthcoming), and that I work full time, and that I had freelance work to do, I could do it all.
I looked at a ton of patterns – I wanted a cardigan, not too fussy, and easy to knit here and there – and after considering this one, this one, and this one (which I think is more unisex than “boy”), I settled on the the Garter Stitch Baby Kimono, which is cute, all garter stitch, and a little stylish (also, thousands of people have knit it, and they can’t all be wrong, right?). After a false start with the yarn (I originally chose a very variegated yarn, before getting scared and trading it for something more subtle) I cast on. That was last Tuesday, Aug. 7 (and I literally only managed to cast on that day. Baby steps, as they say).
By Sunday, I had the better part of the body knit, and I was feeling pretty smug about how everything was going. I mean, look at this! The shower is a week away and I’m mere rows away from separating for the fronts and back!
Also, check out these buttonholes. I am beyond proud. I find that yarn-over buttonholes (which the pattern calls for) can be a little messy and hard to find (especially in garter stitch), and if you’re dressing a squirming baby, you don’t want to be struggling with their sweater. These are very neat (as in tidy and interesting), and I found the tutorial here. I will probably make all my embedded buttonholes like this now.
Anyway, that was Monday. By mid-afternoon on Thursday I was only here. I got the shoulders kitchenered together and a couple of rows into the first little sleeve and then had to go to the opening party.
By midnight on Friday (the night before the shower) I was barely into the second arm, and totally exhausted from a week of late nights, early mornings, and entirely full days.
I stayed up until 2 a.m. to finish the sleeve, soak the sweater, and lie it down on a towel to block. In my head, I was all It has all night to dry, it’ll be fine.Of course, “all night” actually just meant five hours, so when I got up on Saturday morning to weave in the ends and sew on the buttons, it was still wet. I sewed it all up anyway, drinking in the smell of damp wool as if it were just as good and heartening as coffee.
It dried on the way to the shower (a two-hour drive away), because I laid it on a tea towel on the back shelf thing in my rental car. Here it is, not quite dry, but very much finished in time.
It made the top of one of the gift stacks, and was passed around to all the relatives. It’s my first baby sweater and was the only handknit there. Jess was thrilled.
When I wasn’t frantically trying to knit this in between doing a million other things, I had time to really think about what I was doing. This is the first thing I’ve knit for someone outside my family (I count L as family), and that was a big deal. My family will forgive small mistakes, appreciate it because it came from me, and because they have an understanding of the work that goes into knitting, and while I know Jess gets hard work, I was feeling an extra push to be perfect.
This was a sweater for a baby being born into a family I care a lot about. It will keep him/her warm and cozy and cuddly, and possibly do the same for a future sibling. It’s a physical representation of love, and I wanted them to see that. Jess and I haven’t seen each other in over a year (jobs, addresses, etc. always seemed to interfere), so I wanted this to also show her how much I value her friendship, even when we’re out of touch, and how much I care about her family. That’s a lot of work for a little sweater, but I think I did okay. I hope it fits.
Pattern: Garter Stitch Baby Kimono
Yarn: Koigu KPM in colourway 1180 (somewhere between ruby and ripe raspberry)
Needles: Addi Turbos, size 3mm
Modifications: A bunch, but nothing crazy. It’s ravelled here, in case you want to make one just like it.
I loved knitting this. Garter stitch is wonderfully squishy and warm and perfect for a little wee newborn. I also like how easy it is to alter this pattern – a little double-breasted version would also be adorable, and totally easy to mod up; I also want to try a DK or worsted-weight version, which would definitely have been faster. The yarn was a great choice because not only did I not get tired of looking at it, but it was soft enough on my hand for me to know it’ll be nice on a baby, but also tightly enough spun that I know it will last to be handed down (assuming more kids come along down the road).