Inside the body of this five year old beats the heart of an eighty year old man. For all his love of graphic t-shirts with witty phrases, when it comes down to it, Little Sir actually prefers wearing plaid button-up shirts, newsboy hats, ties and, curiously, suspenders (though he hasn't actually worn suspenders yet, though he has expressed not just a little fascination with them lately--honestly, I have no idea). I am pleased the warmer weather will bring shorts, graphic tees and sandal wear that will make my child appear somewhat normal again (at least until fall rolls around).
After he decided that I should knit him a sweater for his birthday (which yes, was last month for those keeping score), he gave me his criteria. I was dubious about whether a new handknit sweater would see any love after the first two hours after it was made. The last sweater I made him went from winner to loser in a day with no explanation. After I shared this observation with Little Sir, he shared an observation with me: "well, if you asked me what kind of sweater I wanted, I would have told you." Oh. Or, "oh, snap," as it's said these days.
So I asked him what he wanted, and this is what he told me, as we walked around Webs looking for yarn, much to the delight of Webs staff and other shoppers (my observations/notes in ellipses or brackets--I felt I needed to explain that to you for some reason):
"I want a plain sweater. I don't want any patterns all over it, no cables or any curvy things [same thing], just a plain sweater--a smooth one, no bumps [no garter stitch]."
"And I want a collar that opens a little bit so my shirt collars can stick out [v-neck]. But I don't like big collars on sweaters" (the last sweater had a big shawl collar, this is news I can use).
"Actually, I am not a fan of sweaters that you pull over your head, I want one that buttons up in front. So a cardigan. A cardigan with big buttons (we went with button #1, or the one on the left, if you are curious--it seemed most fitting, and well, it got the most votes). And long sleeves. It should have long sleeves" (which is fair considering he has monkey arms and nothing long-sleeved covers his wrists appropriately at the moment). "I bet you could make that in, like, twenty hours" [twenty days, if we are being reasonable].
"If you make it like I'm telling you, I would love it."
With such a vote of confidence, and such specificity in request, I (obviously) had to give it a try. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel (or make up a pattern, because I am lazy like that) I looked at what I already had. Fortunately, I have a lot of resources...like patterns from 1977 that I paid $1 for at a library book sale (which I am addicted to--library books sales, not patterns from the 1970s). When I bought this pattern book/pamphlet a few years ago, I had no idea that I would have a small child who would want to emulate Mr. Rogers in fashion. Funny how things work out.
I modified this pattern quite a bit. I changed needle sizes, I knit the sleeves in the round (which, honestly, why would you knit them flat if you are bothering to go from the top down, or bottom up for that matter? Reducing the amount of purling necessary to produce a sweater full of win? Oh, yes, please.), and I used different yarn (because wool, I loves it). I had to do math (which, always makes my head hurts, it's true) to figure out the stitch counts. I based all of this on my gauge swatch (which means I actually did one, I know, shocking, right?), which took Little Sir's measurements into consideration. I have to be honest here, I was totally shocked when this sweater came out exactly as I wanted it to. Note to future (normal) lazy self: the time, energy and effort to do a gauge swatch and taking good measurements, totally worth it (this is nothing new, but you know, worth mentioning).
And while I had my doubts about the facings that needed to be sewn together and attached to the back to form the v-neck collar (which can, indeed, accommodate shirt collars, ties and bow-ties), it looks smashing (she said humbly). And yes, he does love it. He wore it all weekend and asked to wear it to school today. High praise, indeed.
I used Cascade 220, one of the Heathers colorways. Little Sir picked it out, you may not be able to tell, but the blue is heathered with a bright green. Little Sir liked this particular colorway because he felt that this blue had a "good amount of purple in it." Okay. Whatever.
Quirks. He has them.