A few days ago I finished the first project started after Pip arrived. And naturally after four years of knitting for girls, and pink and purple loving girls at that, and with the whole expanse of baby boy flavoured patterns now open to me, it was pink. A beautiful dusty pale pink, knit up into a sweet little cardie with eyelet lace at collar, hem and cuffs. Cute, adorable, and happily for everyone, not intended for Pip.
Since that young man’s arrival we have welcomed not one, or two but three new babies among our friends, and where there are new babies there must also be new knitwear.
In the glorious overoptimism of my imagination I was planning to whizz out a couple of little baby knits in the pre-Pip stage of my maternity leave to have everything ready; right after I completely rearranged the studio, made dresses for the girls, finished their birthday quilts, cleaned the house from top to bottom and made a start on the Christmas creating, oh and finished the knits for my own Little Bump of course. I think we can all tell how that one was going to go right from the start.
And so the babies arrived and the yarn sat soft and plump on the arm of the sofa, ball bands intact, without even a hint of a pattern loitering in the vicinity to suggest an impending destiny as a baby knit.
But the one universal truth is that baby knits are small, and small doesn’t take too long to knit. I cast on the day that Little Miss B was born, knit while Pip snoozed on my chest, knit while going with H to have his car serviced, left it on the dinner table and knit the occasional stitch as I passed, or while the girls did some colouring, knit sat on a bench in the park watching Pip asleep in his pram while his sisters ran up and down the baby playground slide next to me, and, when I was getting really near the end and the temptation to see if I could finish it was too much to resist, I knit late into the evening while the family slept around me.
And then it was done.
I poured the contents of my button jar out over the table and started to sort through, more in hope than expectation of finding a set that would work, and out of the jumble of colour and shape came the perfect buttons; pale pink flowers, bought for something for one of the girls, rejected in favour of something better and dropped into the jar to wait.
They were the right size for the button holes, the colour was a great match, they’d wash no problem, they added to the charm of the cardie, they didn’t compete with it, and I could find four of them.
It’s a five button hole cardigan.
With button bands that you knit as you go; you can’t go back and quickly reknit them to change the number of buttons.
I went through the buttons spread out on the table again. I just couldn’t imagine that I’d have bought only four buttons, I can’t think of any pattern that I make that has only four buttons. Three, yes; five, yes; six, yes. Four, no.
The only conclusion was that I must have used one button as decoration on something, though I couldn’t imagine what.
It’s not the end of the world to have to go on a button shopping expedition I know (though logistically it is a bit of a challenge with a double buggy and a pre-schooler in tow), but they were just such a great match I knew anything else would seem a little second rate.
But you can’t magic buttons out of thin air and so, very slowly, I started to plop the button collection back down into the spaghetti jar. And there, right there, from underneath a green plastic frog and one of those big metal crested buttons that are in every button tin the world over despite the fact that you’ve never worn anything with crested buttons, appeared a tiny sliver of pale pink.
The fifth button. If the heavens had opened and hallelujah choruses sounded in the background I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised.
For the record the pattern is the Eyelet Yoke Baby Cardigan, and the yarn is Rooster’s Almerino DK. The yarn is gorgeous; squishy and soft and perfect for keeping a little girl cozy when the weather turns. The pattern gets mixed write ups. The end product is very sweet but it’s not a pattern written for beginners even though it’s an easy knit. I think you need to know how a top down seamless cardigan is constructed to make sense of what you’re being asked to do, and a rough working knowledge of the sizes of small children is also handy because there are no prescribed lengths, just knit until it looks about right.
If you’ve arrived here by googling “help me I can’t make it work!” there are lots of really helpful notes on Ravelry. The only thing I would add to them is to say that when you do the yoke increases make sure you increase as directed by knitting into the front and back of a stitch, not by any other increase method. The knit front and back increase uses up a stitch where lifted bar etc would not, and if you just use your preferred method to increase you’ll find your stitch counts horribly out, and also that you’re knitting the widest baby cardigan ever known to man. Not that I was caught out or anything of course you understand!
Size wise the pattern says this is the 0-6 months size. I’d say this is more like 6-12 months.
Little Miss B may be a few weeks old now, but given how mild the weather’s been recently I doubt she’s been suffering for lack of knitwear and, more to the point, how very very dinky she is, she has a good deal of growing to do before this cardigan is going to fit.
But that’s OK, the leaves are falling, it was decidedly nippy in sandals this morning, and before we know it all of these babies are going to need to be snuggled down in their knits for the winter, Pip included; time to get started on the next one then!