Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kieran's sweater

I like to make things from scratch. We bought our first four sheep so that I would have a source of wool to spin. I planned to knit the spun yarn into scarves, hats, mittens and sweaters. I'm good at scarves, hats and mittens, but in twenty-five years I've only knit two sweaters from my hand-spun yarn. They each took about five years from shearing the sheep to blocking the finished sweater.

I knew I didn't have five years to knit a baby sweater for my grandson Kieran. The day after he was born, I found a cute pattern and scavenged some washable acrylic yarns. I don't like to use acrylics, but my wool isn't machine washable and it’s crazy to give a baby a sweater that can't be washed.

I knit three fourths of the sweater in three weeks and then quit. I hated the feel of the fiber and the color range I had found was too babyish - pale green, pale yellow, pale pink, pale blue and pale orange. My daughter, Laurel, and I went to a nice yarn store and found a colorful self-striping wool sock yarn. The sock yarns are machine washable and this one was soft. Unfortunately, the yarn was also very fine and knitting on size two needles was slow. I finished the sweater in three months, but Kieran had already grown out of it. I began again, using the six to twelve month pattern this time. I didn't sew the pieces together until I got to Kieran's house last week because I wanted to make sure it fit. Good decision. I had to add an inch in length to the body and an inch in diameter to the sleeves. The sweater now fits him perfectly at six months. His height and weight are those of a twelve month old. Maybe, he'll grow more slowly until he doesn't need the warmth of a wool sweater anymore.

When I begin making Kieran a sweater out of hand-spun yarn, I think I'll plan it for a twenty-one year old and he can help me spin the yarn over the years.

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