Love Noticed

Poor Stringbean: every time I cast on a sweater, she moans. Another one? When for over a year now she’s been asking me for a sweater.

Honestly kiddo, the real reason I keep knitting sweaters for myself is my stash! Most of my yarn and fiber that is in sweater quantities is older than my oldest child, and I’m trying to burn through it. (My goal: no stash by the time I turn 40. With the amount I’ve gifted or sold over the past six years, I think it’s quite possible.)

I’ve made myself several sweaters lately though, so I decided to take a pause and address the issue. She had a specific sweater she wanted, and I didn’t have the yarn for it at all. The cheapest option to buy it is expensive enough to qualify as a major Christmas present, and that gave her pause. So I stash-tossed again, and came up with a beautiful reclaimed yarn called “Fiberists Audubon Bulky”.

Imagine a picture here of gorgeous emerald-green bulky wool. It had been a beautiful vest that Jared knit for me as a Christmas present eight years ago, when I was pregnant with Stringbean. I found the original post about it, but the pictures appear to be lost to the sands of time. It was very cute in a preggo kind of way, but really isn’t my style sans bump. This spring I finally ripped it out. Stringbean loved the color, so I decided to give it a go.

I started knitting the sweater she wanted, but it was a no go. There was no way I could squeeze this sweater out of this yarn.

I was mulling over the problem while watching an episode of Wool n Spinning, and Rachel was working on a Love Note by Tin Can Knits. That was it! I had the pattern purchased and printed before the episode ended. And I had cast on by the end of the day.

A little bit of funky algebra allowed me to follow the pattern despite having a completely different gauge. Based on my swatch, I knew I’d get about 3 st/in. I looked at the chest circumference measurement for the 7-8 yo size, and calculated how many stitches in my gauge would get me that measurement. Then I looked at the stitch counts for the body of the sweater, and saw which size had the number of stitches that was closest to my number. Turned out that was the smallest size. So I followed the pattern’s numbers for the smallest size whenever there were stitch count, but whenever there was a length direction, I followed the pattern’s numbers for the 7/8 size. It sounds complicated, but it’s not. And it worked a treat.

I knit the body first, then squeezed as much sleeve length out of the yarn as I could by knitting both sleeves at once. I had less than a foot of yarn left: stash busting win! Then I blocked it: it literally took longer to dry than it took to knit.

At first Stringbean was annoyed that the neck was tight to get on (might be a common problem with this pattern). But on Sunday, our first day back at church, I told the kids to all grab sweaters, and she grabbed this one. She left it on all day. It looks super cute and I’m sure it’s very cozy and comfy.

We don’t have to wear masks at church anymore – which is why I brought the kids to church – but once there, they couldn’t resist trying them!

Instant sweater gratification. Perfect for a kid. I’m so thankful it worked out to make this for her. Maybe now I can knit the next few sweaters for myself in peace!


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