Way back in the summer, before we went travelling, I took Kitty to choose two sets of yarn for two new cardigans. A summer growth spurt had made most of her existing cardies a bit chilly around the wrist and I thought I’d use all the travelling time to make good inroads on the replacements. And so she choose a purple and a red; the purple I was to knit for her birthday and the red was “my Christmas cardigan”.
Note to self: don’t promise knitwear if you’re not sure you’re going to be able to make good on it. In the event my pre-Christmas time was taken up with finishing Elma’s birthday cardigan and the Christmas knitting for all three became crowns.
But even though the yarn was still sat skeined up on my desk, and the Christmas decorations were long put away, Kitty still referred to it as “my Christmas cardigan”.
And so as January threatened to turn into February, and the last of the flurry of baby knitting was wrapped up, I cast on. And as you might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, Kitty and I chose a very seasonally appropriate pattern, the gorgeous Martinmas Cardigan, named for Martinmas Day…..which is in November!
Ah well, whatever the time of year it is a beautiful pattern. I knit the size 10-12 on 4.5mm needles because I like the fabric I got at that tension, and it did make it slightly smaller than the original dimensions for a 10-12. Kitty is five but she wears age eight in commercial clothes, so it’s not the pattern sizing that’s out, I just have a very tall daughter.
The only other change I made to the pattern was that I didn’t slip the first stitch of the button band. I can see why, if your first stitch tends to be a bit loose, you might want to to ensure a nice firm edge, but I thought it looked crisper without. That and I kept forgetting so in the end I just went with it.
The yarn is Malabrigo Worsted in Geranium; the softest and bounciest singles yarn you’ve ever met. It’s going to pill like crazy I’m sure, but it is so snuggly and warm and cozy it would make cashmere look scratchy. I think I might want to knit something for me in it, and I know Elma is eyeing it up for her next knit.
When it came to the buttons, it seemed only fair that Kitty should have the final say, having so far chosen both yarn and pattern. I had some nice simple wooden buttons in the stash but her heart was won as soon as I pulled out a little bag from Paris and the reindeer buttons spilled out onto the table. Lil Weasel had the most incredible amazing selection of buttons (and yarn, and patterns and everything – if you have to choose one yarn shop to go to in Paris go there); I could quite easily have bought a set of all of them without regret, and that I came away with six each of only half a dozen is testament to some serious exercise of willpower. If we end up travelling past Paris again in the summer I know exactly where I’m headed!
Kitty adores it, and has been wearing it nearly every day since (she just didn’t fancy having her photo taken hence the fence is standing in for her in the pictures). The colour she chose is fabulous, a very appropriate colour for Martinmas (pictures of St Martin tend to draw him sharing a red cloak), and it all but glows in the sunshine, just what you want to be knitting in the greyest months of the year.
The next knits on the needles (apart from H’s socks) will be for Pip and then it’s Elma’s turn, but here I have a quandary: I really like the Martinmas pattern and I’d happily knit it again for Elma in a different colour, but I’m very aware than in a few years time assuming Kitty doesn’t wear straight through this one, Elma will be the owner of a Geranium red Martinmas Cardigan. Part of me would love to make matching knits for the girls because I think it looks adorable and I’ve got to get all the matchy matching in while they’re small enough that they think it’s fun, and part of me wonders whether that’s a bit unfair on the little sister who gets everything twice. But I’m an eldest so I don’t know what it’s like to get matching handmedowns, I can only guess. So, little sisters of the internet, let me know; when you were small did you mind getting repeat outfits? would you rather have had your own? or if it’s in a different colour does it not matter?