Back again, with the second of this year's two Christmas presents. Can you believe it? Months without a stitch of actual knitting in this so-called knitting blog and then BLAM! KAPOW! you get two finished objects in two days.
It's sort of like when you go through a long dry spell in the romance department, and no matter where you hang out–dance clubs, yarn stores, online chat rooms, church socials, estate sales, Home Depot–nobody notices you; and then you meet one nice person you like, and suddenly you can't even walk to the fridge without twenty guys trying to pinch your bottom.
Yeah, it's sort of like that.
What was I talking about?
Christmas presents. Yes. This is what I made for my Exceptional Niece Abigail® for her first extra-uterine Christmas: the Sheep in the Meadow Baby Jacket.
Guess how I came up with the name. Go ahead, guess. Here's a hint.
I'm rambling. Let's make this nice and neat.
Project: Sheep in the Meadow Baby Jacket
Yarns: Cascade Sierra (yellow, green, and white) and Berocco Pure Merino (lavender)
Needle: US size 5 or 7 or something plus a couple of dpns in a size or two smaller
Process: I was lying down one night in June reading The Elements of Typographic Style when a ghostly figure (it was either the Angel Gabriel or Jacob Marley–I forget which) appeared at the foot of the bed and said, "Go thou, pick up thy needles and make a sweater with a little sheep on it."
No, wait. I just remembered. It was Ziggy Marley.
Anyhow, I picked up the notebook I keep next to the bed for jotting down cartoon ideas and the names of people I'd like to have shot, and I wrote "sheep sweater little" and went back to reading about the origins of the serif and forgot the whole thing.
Wait, no. I think was wrong again. It wasn't Ziggy Marley, it was just Ziggy.
What was I talking about?
Right. So four months later I was in Sacramento for the 1000 Knitters shoot with the Camellia City Stockinettes. At Babetta's Yarn and Gifts the whole scene came back in a flash. In about fifteen minuntes I selected and purchased all the yarn.
When I got home, I put the yarn into the stash cupboard and forgot about it again for another month or so.
Then I dimly recall some hurried winding, and swatching, and sketching. I had in mind a very blocky, geometric shape along the lines of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Bog Jacket. I wanted an open front with simple I-cord ties because those features had earned the Tulip Jacket rave reviews and almost daily use until Abigail finally outgrew it.
With the intended recipient 900 miles away and sprouting like a weed, I had to make educated guesses about proportions and sizing. I used the helpful project measurements in Knitting for Baby to determine arm length and such for a kid aged nine to twelve months.
Then some frantic knitting at home, in the taxi to the airport, at the airport, on the plane, and in Maine in the office in the barn. I finished it on Christmas Eve.
It's a good thing I can't get pregnant or the baby would be seven years old before I got around to delivering it.
Fun Stuff: Such complexity as exists in this otherwise simple piece is centered on the breast pocket, and even that's pretty simple.
The jacket was an excuse/opportunity to try out an Elizabeth Zimmermann afterthought pocket for the first time.
Afterthought pockets are just what the name suggests. You knit the garment, and afterwards you decide that you want a pocket here, or pockets here and here (or even here–it's up to you). You snip with your scissors at the center of the row where you want the pocket to be, and that's how it begins.
For full details, you can check out the Knitting Glossary DVD from Schoolhouse Press or from Elizabeth's book Knitting Around. I used both. And let me tell you: if you want to feel like a rock star knitter, stick an afterthought pocket into something. It gives you the same sort of high that comes from lace blocking, steek cutting or turning a sock heel.
On the whole, I'm pleased. There are some small details I'd change next time (such as deeper sleeves). But you know what? It fit. And if you ask me, it ain't 'alf cute.
And it's much more appropriate than Auntie Dolores's gift.
I'll tell you later.