Last week, Knoll put in an order for a silver vest with “curls.” 4 skeins of Dale of Norway Hegre – specifically bought for this project, oy vey – transmogrified, over the course of the past few days, into this:
I don’t know if you’ve ever wondered, dear reader, why I never write patterns for sweaters. Other than the fact that my stint as a pattern writer at a yarn company only magnified my inability to correctly calculate multiple sizes, I’m firmly of the opinion that all clothes should be made on a bespoke basis. Lacking the financial wherewithal to actually make 100% good on that belief, I compromise by making my sweaters to precisely my own measurements and doing the same for Knoll and Tott. (Odd-Even dislikes wool sweaters, reminiscent as they are of itchy, smelly, and damp childhood winters, and decided that he would forfeit his sweater rights some years ago after I refused to knit in cotton.)
Obviously, a major flaw of this approach centers on the fact that, if knitting for a child who is not easily at hand (or perhaps not even born yet), taking measurements and the perpetual trying on of the in-progress garment becomes…difficult. However, as I don’t knit sweaters for other children or, more generally, for other people at all, that problem happily ceases to exist. So rather than subjecting Knoll to the excess width or the too-short sleeves of a generic pattern “to fit a five-year-old,” I calculate the length and girth for his rather weedy build and make a sweater that takes into account his physical specificities.
Of course, such adjustments to the basic sweater shape could mean that in later years Tott may not fit these hand-me-downs, since his body shape seems destined to not resemble his older brother’s. Then again, it would hardly be fair to deny him a new sweater based on the notion that he will eventually grow to fit Knoll’s cast offs. As such, he too accompanied us to choose yarn, the colour of which will undoubtedly lend him quite the resemblance to a cheerful little lemon.
Anyway. The two books that have best served me in this business of bespoke sweaters are Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts and Knitting from the Top by Barbara Walker. Mum and Dad gifted the former to me when I finished my bachelor’s degree, and I made the CAD$25 + HST investment in the latter some years ago. It pays many woolly dividends every winter 😉