One Book, Two Sweaters

This is a story that begins with a book.

Phoebe’s Sweater by Joanna Johnson, Illustrated by Eric Johnson

N was given this book before she was born, by a knitterly friend of her mother’s. It’s a story about her mouse whose mother knits her a sweater while she waits for her baby sister mouse to be born. The prose is lilting and winsome, and… the pattern for the sweater is included at the back.


Like so many beautiful things N was given as a tiny thing, she took a while to grow into it. But she got a baby sister of her own, became a voracious examiner of books, and then… noticed that the pattern for the sweater was included at the back.

I dreamt all last year about making the girls this sweater. When we went down south for our summer trip, it was the one project for which I would allow myself to buy new yarn. We decided on Cascade Eco+, N helped me pick colors on WEBS, and the first was knit up in a flash.


After the Olympics, I cast on the second, which took only slightly longer.


It is worth noting that this was my first time ordering yarn online… possibly ever? So I was a little shocked at the colors. I thought I was ordering sky blue and navy blue, but was completely and pleasantly surprised by peacock blue and Elsa blue.

Is there another name for that color other than Elsa blue? Not in this house there isn’t. Never mind that neither of my children have actually sat through Frozen. Oh well. I can’t really help myself, since they practically are my little Elsa and Ana. This, at least, explains why N kept asking, “Are you done my Elsa blue sweater?”


Finished last week, complete with matching buttons from Baffin E, they were quietly blocked in the office. Then, as the book has it, on the first day of fall, “When the air was crisp and the wind was cool and the leaves were crunchy under their feet,” they tried on their brand-new sweaters.

I confess willingly, my heart’s desire was to shamelessly copy my sister-in-law’s tradition of knitting fall sweaters for her children each year then taking their Christmas picture in them. But, with the temperature below freezing most days already, under mostly cloudy skies, and sans a working relationship with a local professional photographer who will trade photo shoots for a pair of socks, I had to do my best. The first try was… interesting. I preserved the best ones for the record of personality.

She isn’t so much a bookworm as a book tyrant.




Then this happened:


So the rest of my pictures look like this.


But, magically, yesterday was warm and sunshiny, and I caught them.


M has a fierce ham face.


This pretty much encapsulates their relationship.



I am in love with this yarn. Cascade Eco+ is affordable, nearly-bulky, soft, comes in a zillion colors – I want it for a sweater for myself. They didn’t even pay me to say that, though if they read my words and want to send me some more as a thank you, I would be down with that.

The aforementioned pattern at the back of Phoebe’s Sweater is simple and sweet, going for the seamless approach. The slip-stitch waffle pattern is simpler than it looks, and the whole thing was pretty good reading knitting except that it went by so quickly. The 2-year size took exactly one ball of CEP, and the 4-year size took less than 1.5.

And, because Christmas is coming, and I can’t do anything halfway, these exist already…

This is a work in progress. The yarn underneath is included.

Happy Autumn, everyone!




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