A Guston for My Boy

I think it’s safe to say there is no person in this world that appreciates my knitting more than my son. I’m not sure how much of it is because he loves me and how much of it is because he loves what I make, but whatever the case I just love to knit for him. I can see that the things I knit for him make him feel special and I’m a mom — I just want to wrap him in love and warmth every single day.

I’ve knit a number of things for my daughter — she’s smaller and like many little girls like to layer on her fashion. My son, however, I’ve had to be more choosy about what I pick to knit for him just because he is like his dad — he likes his wardrobe simple and doesn’t go for a lot of excess or anything flashy. I do, however, always have to keep in mind that he loves red so what I do knit for him must have at least some red in it or he looks at me like I’ve clearly made a serious error. He just loves red.

The main reason, though, that I haven’t knit a sweater for my son recently is that he’s 10-years-old and growing like a weed. His feet are bigger than mine and I’m guessing he’ll be taller than me within the year (and I’m 5’5″ or 5’6″, so that’s pretty tall!). Because of this, it’s really hard — even for me — to justify spending the money on yarn for a sweater for him. I stumbled upon Webs‘ in-house brand of yarns, Valley Yarns, though and realized I could knit him a sweater for about $30. I browsed some patterns and found Ann Budd’s Guston from Wool People Volume 2 — and not only was one of the few patterns that looked plausible for my boy to wear, but it also included sizes that would actually fit him without my having to make modifications. And I love not having to make modifications. I thought it was worth a shot so I ordered a sweater quantity of Valley Yarns Northhampton in the Burgundy colorway for him.

And then it sat in my stash for a year (or two).

Toward the end of this summer, I knew I was in the crucial time when I needed to either knit this sweater for him or my sweater quantity would not longer be sufficient for him. I cast on and got rolling in early September…

IMG_0603I have to admit I had some help…

IMG_0878As I neared the cable details of the chest portion, I readied my cable needle. I hadn’t yet red through the directions carefully (something I always advise knitters to do) and it wasn’t until I got there that I realized no cable needle was necessary.

IMG_0879Whoops. That said, I loved the combination of cable-design and alternating knit-purl sections. It made keeping my spot in the pattern super simple.

IMG_0944A couple weekends ago I wrapped up the sleeves…

IMG_0960And started sewing.

IMG_0979-2And then all that was left was to attach the buttons, the perfect buttons I got from Balwen Woodworks at the WI Sheep & Wool Festival. Made from a vintage tool handle, I debated for a long time about which was to orient the buttons. I finally settled on the long way.

button panelI think it was the right choice.

back detThe details of this sweater — each little piece just turned out so nicely.

cuffandhemEven the basic garter hem & cuff that I worried would flip back on itself is pretty much perfect.

Now I will admit that I had a few days of panic associated with this sweater. When I’d finished sewing, I had my son try it on pre-blocking and it was tight. He is a rather lanky kid, but he has big shoulders just like his dad. When I measured him for this sweater I went by the chest measurement only and didn’t account for those big shoulders. I aggressively blocked out the shoulders on it and I crossed my fingers. I also may have tried it on in a moment of desperation to see if it would fit me just in case it didn’t fit him, so I could rest assured someone could use it. It did.

In the end, though, it didn’t matter.

aldo modelIt fits my boy perfectly and he flashed the biggest smile when he put it on and my heart swelled up about a million times its normal size. He did mention that he thought it was a little scratchy, so I may have to spring for the superwash next time. I should have thought of that, knowing full well my boy’s skin is a little sensitive. Thanks to long sleeves, he can still get use out of this one. The best new though is that I think there definitely will be a next time thanks to the fact that there are some nice, slightly more economical yarns available out there like Valley Yarns making it reasonably practical to knit for growing kids.

This sweater was really quite the journey, but I could not be any happier with the results. As I edited this last photo, I found it really hard to believe that my little boy is such a young man. I spend every day with him, I’ve watched him grow, but it still seems a little unbelievable to this mama that my boy is so grown-up. Thankfully, even though he’s growing older I can once again knit him handknits, wrapping him in love and warmth every day no matter how big he gets.

25 responses to “A Guston for My Boy

  1. How lovely! My son is 35 and he gets the most thrill out of my hand knit socks – he doesn’t want any other kind ever. And I have a SQ of beautiful gray that’s earmarked for a sweater for him, as I’ve already finished his new hat and I’m working on his scarf …….. gloves to follow. See, you can knit for him for YEARS!!!! Only the size will change ……….

  2. What a great sweater for your handsome boy! I really enjoyed reading your post this morning. This pattern may be just what I was looking for. I have a 16 year-old who loves my hand knits too. 🙂

    • Oh, awesome! I’ve found it can be a challenge to find a pattern sized for older boys/young men. I love the wide offering of sizes and that it’s just a really nice sweater, too. Ann Budd writes such excellent, easy to follow patterns.

  3. This is such a great post! I can only hope my kids appreciate my knitting a fraction of the amount your son does!
    Succh a lovely sweater and a handsome model! Nice work on the sweater and child-raising!

    • Thank you! I feel pretty lucky that my kiddos like to wear my knitwear. I expected a decline in requests as they got older, but so far the opposite is true. Fingers crossed that sentiment continues!

  4. Beautiful sweater, and he looks very handsome in it! and you know when he grows out of it (next week????) it can be yours! Also, I am glad to hear your thoughts on Valley Yarns – I get the catalog, and see them on line, but always wondered if they were “good” yarn. Nice to know they pass muster. That will do until I can find a way to get down to Northampton and actually touch them. 🙂

    • LOL! I hope he can wear it for more than a week, but the kid is growing like a weed — both of them are!

      Yes, I would say this Valley Yarns Northhampton (the worsted 100% wool) is very comparable to Cascade 220 or Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. My daughter is currently knitting a bulky single from them and I my mom has tried some of their fingering weight yarns for shawls. From what I’ve seen, overall I would definitely say that they offer a very good deal for basic, pocket-book friendly yarns.

      • Thank you! I love their pricing, and when they have a sale, it is a serous one, so I will not skip by the Valley yarns so fast. 🙂

      • lol – and right now, if you buy a needle or hook set, you get free shipping. just lettin’ ya know. 🙂

        I love the discount pricing, too. let’s me save up and get lots of sock yarn at once for a more reasonable price.

      • Oh jeez. Thankfully I don’t need any needle sets — although I have been looking to get a set of hooks (because I have a lot of random ones). That said, I also accidentally stumbled into the Yarnathon on Eat. Sleep. Knit. — the occasional discounts and milestone bonuses are just enough to keep my eye on them! I have some serious problems!

  5. Looks great on him! 10 or 11 tends to be when most of the boys in the school reach my height (I’m 5’4″), even though many of them start 5th grade still tiny! Something about that age just seems to guarantee crazy growth spurts.

    • So true! My son has almost always been very tall for his age — he’s routinely mistaken for two or three years older than he is. I’m a little fearful of exactly how tall he’ll be in a year!

  6. This is so great Sarah. It fits him so well. I’m glad that if you knit him future sweaters you can wear them. Win win. Out of my 6 children, I had one boy that appreciated my knitting ; )

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