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.

Just a Spot of Knitting

In these parts, it’s a beautiful time of year. The leaves are at their peak of changing color and the temperatures are cool, but very comfortable. While I  really should be tidying up our yard in preparation for the winter and knitting those mittens I keep swearing I’m going to knit, instead I’ve been hitting the trail a lot with the kids.IMG_0908-0Knowing the bare white winter is headed this way, we just have to take time to soak up the color — and vitamin D — while it lasts. It never stops amazing me that when the leaves start changing color and dropping, everything is more vivid — the greens are greener, the blue sky is bluer — everything is more, quite possibly because we know full well  in our bones that in the blink of an eye the trees will be bare and the arctic wind will be howling.

In the mean time though, we’ll take these glorious days…

IMG_0955and everything they have to give us, even if it’s lots of wind & random rain showers.

Moose, of course, agrees.

IMG_0937I’ve been remembering to let him carry our water on our hikes, too. He clearly feels important when he has a job and it slows him down a little bit on the trails where I need to keep him on a leash. It’s a win-win, really.

We even attended an event put on by the Rock River Archaeological Society in which the kiddos got a chance to try their hands at throwing an atlatl.

IMG_0969I was impressed to see both my kiddos hit the cardboard mammoth at which they were aiming — my daughter with a ferocity far bigger than her frame and my son with thoughtful, measured repetition, both so true to their natures.

My daughter also had a monumental first this weekend…

IMG_0953She learned to purl. She’s easily frustrated, so I’ve been slow to introduce her to purling. She took to it like a fish to water, though.

On my own needles, I was pretty hell-bent on finishing up my son’s Guston sweater…

IMG_0957I started up the second sleeve and really used all my free time to wrap it up and I did just that and I was seaming by Saturday night…

IMG_0960Finishing up the last sewing Sunday morning while my girl read FoxTrot comics to me…

IMG_0967Luckily, yesterday was sunny & warm so I laid it outside to dry and it’s almost totally dry. Only the buttons remain on this — all the ends are woven in and everything. I did have my son try it on and I’ll admit, it was a smidge tight in the shoulders. He’s pretty lanky, but has big shoulders and I made the mistake of using the chest measurement and didn’t account for the shoulders. Long story short, I probably should have gone up a size. I blocked it aggressively and I know wear will stretch it out a little, so here’s hoping those things combined will make it comfy for him. If not, the downside is I’ll be knitting him a new one in the near future, but the upside is that I’m way ahead of the game with a sweater for my daughter to grow into. There’s always a silver lining, right?

I’ll be casting-on the Miya Shawl for the Bijou Basin Ranch Miya Shawl KAL shortly, but I have a little hiccough getting my pattern so I’m taking advantage of this little window in time to play with another fabulous new-to-me yarn, Ancient Arts DK.

 IMG_0888I took this photo the day I received the yarn in the mail — it just so happened that my daughter had drawn in a very cave painting style drawing in coordinating colors just before it arrived, so I snapped a photo with it. It seemed appropriate considering the company’s name. In any case, I showed it off on Periscope and asked viewers if I should make neckwear or a hat with it and it was unanimous that I should go with a cowl — even Mr Knitting Sarah agreed — so after a quick Ravelry search, I pulled out a favorite classic collection, Island by Jane Richmond, and printed off the pretty, unique, drapey cowl, Arbutus.

IMG_0974It’s proving to be a really fast, fun knit for me and I think the necklace-y-ish appearance will make it a really nice addition to my wardrobe. Did I mention the yarn is 70/20/10 Superwash Merino/Cashmere /Nylon?  Yes, I said 20% Cashmere. Yeah, it is pretty much to die for and the beautiful new Great Scott! colorway is a simply scrumptious shade of light blue with just a hint of tealy undertones. If you can’t tell, I can’t wait to add it to my daily rotation of woollies.

I think I’m on track to finish Arbutus today or tomorrow, just in time to cast-on my Miya Shawl. One of these days I’ll get the yard work done, but for now I’m going to enjoy the sun and changing colors and, of course, just a spot of knitting, too.