It took me twenty four months to finish this sweater I started while I was pregnant. Now, in the meantime, I also knitted Claire's sweater, had a baby, dealt with the remodeling of my main bathroom and entire basement while at the end of pregnancy and recovery from a c-section and trying to get the new damn baby out of the hospital, figured out the new damn baby had higher than expected needs, took up blogging, and suffered through my husband building us a new garage. OK, I was busy. Still, twenty four months in the making. You'd think it would be bigger.
She was eighteen months of age when I got the sweater done, and a little older when I put it all together. All my hopes and fears for her are knitted into this fabric, and she is now so hard on clothes I don't think I'll ever let her wear it. When I give a knitted garment or blanket to someone I love, I think of it as a perpetual hug. Except these baby sweaters that are so precious I kind of want to lock them up in a box and hang them on a wall.
She is approximately a twelve month size person, just switching now to a convertible car seat. Her pants are sometimes 12-18 months sized because the butt scoot method of locomotion takes a toll on a bare leg hanging out, so it is better to get longer pants, but only those that are elastic waisted as my girls are too thin to get much back to hold them up. The torso remains a twelve month size, despite my best efforts and liberal dispensing of butter.
When I started this project at my annual mandatory conference two years ago, I could not even envision the baby who would wear it, let alone what she would do while wearing it, such as feed a blue monkey a toy bottle of milk, and then serve herself. I could not imagine her "ooh, ooh, ooh!" monkey sounds. I didn't know her hair color, or how much she would look like her sister, or if she'd be a girlie girl. I didn't know whether we had picked a name that seemed right for the person. I could not begin to understand that I would at times fear that I might have to choose a burial outfit for this baby if I failed to remember to feed her one night because I was just too tired to be responsible for making her eat. When I left that conference two years ago I had the back completed and almost four months left of cooking the bun in the oven.
Many months later I picked up the sweater again, determined to knit up a wee pink coat of armor that, when worn, would protect her from harm. These sleeves were months in the making, months where I might knit two rows in an evening then set the project aside for weeks while we dealt with crisis after crisis or were gearing up for physical therapy every evening. Had I known about the cerebral palsy I might have picked a different sleeve style, because cuffs can carry a lot of detritus and snag quite easily. I spent ages making up the finished garment, never having woven in ends in garter stitch before but wanting it to be the best it could be, even if it was a for a creature who is always on the verge of leaking bodily secretions.
I finished the baby sweater as the baby approaches toddlerhood. I can say she is not yet a toddler since does not yet walk independently, but mostly I say she is still a baby in a baby sweater because her downy head still smells of strawberries and cream and inherent baby-ness. But not for long.
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