I was watching an episode of Chef's Table the other day, in which someone talked about the correlation between big feelings and baking. Birthday? Bake a cake, obviously. But also, failed an exam? Bake a cake. Got an interview - bake a cake. Somebody died - bake a cake. Or something along those lines
I think I'm the same with knitting. It feels right, somehow, to try to weave a little extra "but I love you so" into the stitches. Or to let your own complex feelings unravel as the rows slowly grow.
In the run-up to my smallest boy turning one a couple of weeks ago, I had all the feelings. There was nothing for it but to tip the box of oddments out onto the floor, watch the delight on his face as he tangled his little fingers into the soft fluff, and try to rescue a few balls for his first birthday jumper.
This is what came out of the box, in the end. A mix of cottons and cotton-wool blends, perfect for chilly mornings in spring.
For the pattern I decided on a randomly striped, simple raglan jumper, based on Tin Can Knits' Flax. It's a very easy, well-written pattern that's perfect for quick kids' knits - I used it for The Bean's birthday jumper last year.
Since I had DK weight yarn rather than aran, as the pattern called for, I cast on the size 2-4 yrs with 4.5mm needles and carried on working raglan increases until I had the dimensions instead of the row numbers stated. I left out the garter panel too, so as not to distract from the stripes.
I tucked in the last end a week after The Bug's birthday. Which was perfectly on time, given he was a hot, itchy chickenpox mess on the big day itself. So I suppose he had a spotty, not a stripey birthday, really. But two weeks on he is back to his chirpy self, a little taller and with new walking skills to boot. Spring has burst into perfect bloom and we are so very ready to enjoy the garden in our new home for the first time. The jumper turned into just the sweet stripey number I was hoping for, with a little extra room to grow.
Because grow, grow, grow they do. The little one starts nursery today. I think I'll go and cast him on some socks.