The Selfish Knitter

Dear Martha.

I am not pregnant.

But a glance at my recent projects might have you thinking otherwise. It would seem the only possible explanation given that I am usually the quintessential selfish knitter, to the point that I have often questioned the purpose of the “made for” blank below the title of my projects on ravelry. well of course it’s for me – it’s always for me.

Apparently all it took to cure me was a baby. Not mine, luckily, but my cousin, Katie’s.

It all started when I received a small envelope inviting me to PoCo for my cousin’s baby shower. Of course, I’ll knit her a little something, I thought. I filled my queue with baby things and probably would have knit all of them if the date of the shower hadn’t finally arrived. Martha, do you know the most exciting part of knitting for babies? That basket of leftover yarn scraps is suddenly a basket of projects! No yarn? No time? Knit for a baby – You don’t need either! Baby knitting is now my second favourite activity (knitting for myself is, of course, still number one).

I knew that my cousin’s layette would have to include Saartje’s booties and there was a skein of coral Cascade Fixation giving me the eye from my scraps, so…

If these boots had a name, it would be Coraline.

If these boots had a name, it would be Coraline.

Now I know, I know –  I don’t actually know if it’s a boy or a girl. But once I cast on, the booties whispered in my ear, “it’s a girl and she wants strappy shoes with jade buttons.” Ah, yes, don’t we all.

Rather than send the child out naked apart from some very cute shoes, I decided to knit Carole Barenys’ Seamless Yoked Sweater. As the child is due in June, I knit it in some Cardinal Paton’s Grace cotton, for her (there I go again) to wear to summer picnics.

It turned into a dress all by itself - I swear.

It turned into a dress all by itself - I swear.

I decided to repeat the increases done at the yoke again at the bottom of the sweater for a frilly ruffle that one can only pull off a very few times in life. Add pink pearlescent buttons and poof! It’s a girl – or so I hope.

The child will learn young to love a good yoke.

The child will learn young, Red Is Best.

To keep my baby knitting from getting too cutesy, I turned to Elizabeth. I loved the idea of long repeats of bright colour whipping around those mitered corners, so I grabbed two skeins of Silk Garden Lite and cast on. When the first ball finished, I decided to let the colours go back the way they came, rather than start over with the darker tones mid-jacket. The brown buttons were chosen to highlight the rusticity (if that isn’t a word, I’m coining it) of the Noro, twigs and all.

"Surprise, you're having a baby!"

"Surprise, you're having a baby!"

Even covered in baby spit-up, the colours will warm your heart.

Even covered in baby spit-up, the colours will warm her heart.

Giving these gifts at my cousin’s shower to a room full of non-knitters (and My Breastfriends, DiaperGenies and way too much yellow tissue paper) was hilarious. “You knit that?” they asked, in the same incredulous tone one would use to ask, “you can do magic?”

Back at home and humble again, I had to admit:  this knitting for others is very different. “I feel funny inside,” said the Knitting Grinch. “Maybe knitting isn’t about stashes and queues and sales and stores. Maybe – just maybe – knitting is about a little bit more!” In Poco, they say, that the Knitting Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day.



March 31, 2009. Uncategorized. 4 comments.