Knitting: the retrospective (Part 1)

This is the first part of what I plan to be a series of posts documenting the custom baby sweaters that I’ve knit.  Since the baby boom began among our close friends in 2007, I’ve had lots of babies to knit for and lots of opportunity to improve my designs and techniques.

The first baby sweater I ever knit, I followed a pattern.  It’s cute, but was very impractical and very small.  The parents of the baby I gave it to did send me one photo of her wearing it, but I suspect that was the only time she had it on.  It was cute, but not that practical and probably better suited as a doll’s sweater!  I did not have a baby of my own at that time and didn’t appreciate how fast they grow and how annoying it can be to pull a tiny sweater over a baby’s head.  This was knit in 2007 – the kid I knit it for is now SIX!
First ever baby knitting – weird hat, very small sweater, that would only fit a newborn for a little while and booties, that likely came off quite easily.
I learned, as other friends started to have babies, that cardigans are better than pullovers and that a bit bigger is better than a bit smaller.  Babies will grow into anything before too long and bigger sweaters will fit the baby for a matter of months, rather than a matter of weeks!

My first custom designed sweater was for my second close friend of our group in Vancouver to have a baby. I knew that I wanted to make her a sweater and for some reason, I got it in my head that it had to have a skier on it (both parents enjoy skiing).  I didn’t have a pattern with a skiier on it, so  I had to design my own.  I didn’t know enough about knitting (and I still don’t) to design an entire sweater pattern, so I took a pattern that I already had, which I think was a free pattern that I’d picked up in a wool store, and modified it to fit my needs.  I found a photo of a road sign with a skiier on it and imported it into Excel, where I made a grid and overlayed it on the photo (which I had to make semi-transparent), then I x-ed in the pattern so that it could be knit.  I didn’t think about the practicality of actually knitting it, and it turned out to be a crash course in knitting “intarsia”.  Although the design ended up being a bit stretched (I didn’t take into account the height of the stitches), I was pretty pleased with the result.  This sweater was worn by its recipient a lot during her first two years. It’s made of a sort of hand-spun cotton that I had bought for another project – but wasn’t suitable – not as warm as wool maybe, but nice and soft.  It’s a bulky sweater that was well suited to the Vancouver climate as a coat in fall and spring.  Four years later, I believe that it’s had a second life for the younger sister of the original recipient.  This one has been well worn.

Front of Skier Sweater – I added the snowflakes to give the front some interest.

Skier Sweater – My first custom sweater design.
And the sweater in action

…And the sweater in action

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