As you know, my knitting repertoire for many years has consisted of baby bootees. Just bootees and not much else. Whilst bootees do at least hold the interest slightly better than garter stitch scarves, there are limitations to them.
They limit me. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life only being a knitter of bootees (however many cuff variations I can invent) and I was starting to get a little worried that might be the case. Fortunately, this year has seen an exponential increase of both confidence and skill (if I modestly say so myself) so the horizons are starting to get bigger. When you look into it, there are an awful lot of things that are knit-able. It’s not just jumpers and it’s definitely not just baby bootees.
Bootees have other limitations too; you can only really gift them on one occasion. For weddings, well that just seems a little bit premature; for anniversaries, well that just seems a little tactless; for leaving school, well that’s just wrong. Especially if you ask the parents of said sixteen-year-old. So that really only leaves newborn babies and it was starting to get a little predictable as to what you’d be getting from me.
Friends of ours were expecting (it has since hatched, the knitting slowed down with my health unfortunately) and as all their nieces and nephews have received standard-issue bootees over the last few years, I’m sure that they probably could guess what they were getting! No, I want to make them something special. Special meaning not bootees.
I found the perfect pattern. I don’t quite know whether they’ll appreciate it in the same way but I thought it was brilliant.
Next up, I had to find some yarn. Although I have a reputation for budget acrylics (well, they have their uses), I want to do something special for this baby. I have used bamboo in the past successfully for bootees and as they live in warmer climes, I decided to use a different brand’s take on bamboo. I found it in one of those discount shops bizarrely (this one actually has a very good craft section) and having seen it in an arts shop for twice the price (ouch), my mind was made up.
So having both the pattern and the yarn, I just had to cast on my needles and set to work. That took a little while; the go-slow and the birds have really interrupted my knitting bug but the week before I finally got started.
The pattern threw a few challenges, there was a basic chart to follow for the motif and it asked me to cast on extra stitches part way through. I’ve never successfully worked out how to go about this before. I got a little worried. But as I was already several rows in and determined, I didn’t give up.
I looked it up in my knitting book and found that actually it wasn’t as complicated or as terrifying as I thought it was.
I find that sometimes.
I wasn’t entirely happy with the yarn; it’s not very ‘forgiving’. Wool and acrylic do a certain amount of adjusting as you knit along so any slightly odd stitches usually disappear. My stocking stitch has got a little bit more even recently but my purl can be a bit slack and it shows in this yarn.
I continued on, hoping that a little manipulation and the blocking would excuse the worst of it.
Then I had to work the rib edge.
This yarn does not do rib. Not at all.
Flaccid comes to mind. Which isn’t really what you want from a ribbed waistband.
I sighed. It wasn’t going to be.
Then I got a new knitting magazine (it’s my one vice, that Knit Now magazine does wonders for my confidence (I lie, I do have other vices like cheese and eating glacé cherries from the cupboard but I’m sure you won’t tell)).
There was a baby cardigan. In turquoise.
My yarn is turquoise.
The pattern had no rib. Just garter stitch.
I frogged the soaker!
I see this as a successful, confident manoeuvre rather than a failure.
I could analyse both the technique and the yarn and decide where it was best suited. I could not have known in advance (unless I knitted a swatch of course) that the yarn does not believe in rib. I could apply my newfound knowledge appropriately and knit something that would work.
I think that I’ve mentioned before that I am on a ban from garments.
I decided that a wee baby cardigan did not count.
I was going to knit a cardigan!
On circular needles (although not in the round), from the top down!
(It’s not exactly about right or wrong but in knitting there is at least a ‘normal’ approach to where a pattern starts. Jumpers start at the bottom, socks start at the top. Anything else is crazy, trust me).
The pattern was well written but it did require a few leaps of faith. Like when I wavered about whether I was meant to cut the yarn and start a new section or whether I really was meant to knit straight across the armpits and trust that they wouldn’t disappear.
People, you might not believe it, but I have knit a cardigan!
Husband says it looks like something you’d buy. Which in husband-speak is the hugest compliment that you can pay my knitting. He’s never said that before.
I found some funky little buttons to complete it too.
And if I say so myself, I’m quite pleased with the results.
I hope they are too.
And that it still fits by the time I send it to them!
PS. Those soakers are still in the pipeline. I have a plan B.