And just like that, another Christmas whooshes past us like Lindsay Lohan on her way to the liquor store. Seems like I landed in Maine mere minutes ago, and now I have to fly back to Chicago. Sigh.
But it's been a trip replete with high pleasures, including a chance (all too brief) to meet Mel and David. I am pleased to report that they're every bit as sweet and funny as you'd imagine from reading Mel's blog. I hope to see them again on my next visit. And I'm not just saying that because they have access to alpacas. Honest.
On Christmas morning, I had the opportunity to present Susan and Phil with the first thing I've knitted expressly for the baby. Now that they've seen it, I can finally show it to you.
Do you think she likes it?
The Littlest Democrat Sweater
Pattern: Adapted from the Sweetheart Pullover in Melanie Falick's Knitting for Baby
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca knitted on US 4 and 6 needles
Notes: My brother-in-law is a state senator in Maine, and a Democrat, and it struck me that whatever its gender, we ought to start the child off right. For readers unfamiliar with American politics (lucky you), the donkey is the symbol of the Democratic party.
This is my first foray into intarsia since my class with Edie Eckman and Edie, ya done good by me. I was able to chart the donkey myself and then work it with no real issues, although I won't pretend my work is anywhere close to perfect. However, I wish to point out that it's all intarsia with the except of two duplicate stitches.
The tail is three pieces of yarn woven into the wrong side of the fabric, then braided and tied off. I dabbled with adding a little mane of fringe, but after a test decided it detracted from the overall effect. As is so often the case, the simpler road was the better.
I like Melanie's book and I like this pattern. It's clear and concise; any knitter with half a brain and basic skills could make it with no difficulty. It's knit flat (including the collar) and sewn together. I'm not nuts about the seam showing in the collar, and if I did it again I might just pick up stitches and knit it in the round after sewing the body.
Sewing the seams, though? Fun. No, seriously. I enjoyed it. I must have some of my grandmother's seamstress blood in my veins.
My only other alteration was to add little gussets under the arms to loosen the fit a bit. I'm sure I don't know babies as well as Melanie, but the sleeves as dictated seemed a bit tight. So I knit up two itsy-bitsy triangles and sewed them in, borrowing the idea from traditional Gansey construction (thank you, Beth Brown-Reinsel). Now the little kid can wriggle to its heart's content. Which is what I'd be inclined to do, I think, after spending nine months cooped up in a uterus with nothing to read.