Earlier this summer I realised a few things. The first was that Kitty’s cardigans were all at least two inches short at the wrist, the second was that if I was going to finish knitting a new cardie by her birthday I would never get it done if I only knit it in secret, and the third was that the days of just choosing a pattern and yarn I liked have sailed.
We started with the yarn, Kitty and I went on a wool buying mission, ranking all of our options on softness, pinkness, purpleness, and washability (I’ll leave it to you to suggest who came up with which criteria) and finally choose a deep cherry red, that’s really nearly almost pink and will be perfect for Christmas and the rich variegated purple of some Purpuras Malabrigo Rios.
So as I attended to the most vital part of our travel packing (the craft supplies), I decided on the lovely Bloomsbury Kids jumper, downloaded the pattern to my phone, packed the right needles, and stitch markers and anything else I might have needed and shoved the bag under my car seat.
I pulled it back out half way between Paris and Annecy, cast on for the neck, and, an inch or so into the knitting, I held it up to show Kitty.
“Look, I’ve started your birthday jumper!”
“That’s not my birthday jumper.” came the certain reply.
“No, my birthday jumper is a cardigan.”
I showed her the pattern and tried to explain how pretty and cozy it would be in her lovely purple wool, but no, Kitty had a vision in her head of her birthday knit, and this was not it.
And that’s how I found myself surfing Ravelry, as we drove south, south and further south, holding up tiny pictures on my phone for approval from the back seat.
The final choice, Momo, was one of the first ones we considered, and one that Kitty said yes to straight away. It really should have been that easy but I was worried that a cardie with a feather and fan yoke would look too babyish on my little girl, and that she’d get bored of it and not want to wear it, and so I pressed on with the research until I came to my senses.
I love to knit, I love to knit for my children, and I love to knit (and make) the things that they want to wear and use. And that means I need to trust Kitty, to acknowledge that she is old enough to have a clear idea about what she likes to wear, and, except for occasions where it might be seriously inappropriate, just go with it.
So I cast on, Kitty joined her siblings in a back seat snooze, and as H drove us on and up into the start of the mountains, I spectacularly failed to knit a simple feather and fan pattern because I was too busy peering out of tunnels for the next valley view.
I may have ripped it out a couple of times,
at least three, once because I didn’t like the fabric I was getting and dropped down a needle size and the rest because of feather and fan failings (I kept forgetting to alternate pattern right side rows with knit right side rows), but eventually I got the hang of it, and moved on to the stocking stitch part at which point it became perfect car knitting.
This cardie has been knit in France, Switzerland, Germany, France again, a cross channel hovercraft, and last but by no means least, home in England.
The buttons are English (despite the amazing array of buttons at Lil Weasel I didn’t have the right yarn with me to compare or know how many buttons I would need), mother of pearl sewn on the wrong way round to expose that gorgeous grey-purple shell on the back, and with that it was finished, wrapped up and tucked away to await Kitty’s big day.
That she’s not modelling it in any of the photos isn’t an indication of how much she likes it, more that she didn’t fancy having her photo taken after running around all day at school. It’s a great fit, with a little room in the arms and body for at least October’s growth spurt and looking at her I can’t imagine why I ever thought it would look like a baby cardigan.
She looks tall, every inch her five years, comfy, warm and snug. Knitting success!