Baby boy, baby boy...

All knitting projects - with the exception of one (and no, it ain't Carla...sob!) - have been put aside (yes, including Carla...sob!) while I basically run around like my butt is on fire getting things ready for my son who's just started his second year of pre-school and who is having, incidentally, a birthday party next week because he turned four yesterday*. Which is the knitting project I didn't set aside? A baby sweater I've been planning to knit since early last month but, in true Skinny Rabbit Let's Wait Until the Last Minute Fashion, did not start until late last week. The recipient is the baby brother of my son's best friend at preschool and I really, really, really want to finish it in time for when I see the baby's mother next week. The sweater is very cute, and is from Phildar's Winter Layette 2004. I'm using Phildar Oxygene and Phildar Brumes. With the exception of the front piece, the sweater is knit entirely on teeny 3mm needles and is constructed in an interesting manner, so knitting on teeny needles is really quite fun. Here are the sleeves:


summer2004_babysweater_sleeves.jpg
Aren't we fanciful with our shoulder straps?
Now please block us.


I knit some of it while watching Dead Poet's Society, and MAN that last scene in the movie when Ethan Hawke stands on the desk and calls out "Captain, my Captain" makes me bawl like a baby, every single time. I've seen this movie countless times and boom! I start weeping at the same scene. Such a movie sap, I am. And here is the back when it was still on the needles:


summer2004_babysweater_back.jpg
Yeah. Block me, too.


I knit part of the back while watching Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, which I've never seen before. And it was a non-dubbed version, to boot! Unfortunately, this movie was on very late and even though I fought against sleep, I lost. Sob! The last scene I remember seeing is James Stewart watching "Miss Torso" hanging out her undies. I must look out for this movie again or check it out in DVD, because I got all caught up in the suspense and symbolism of it and want to see the end. Plus, I missed Hitchcock's cameo.

And wait! There's more! It's still very happy snail mail days over here and I've received some lovely things that are too fabulous to not share here. I have Ann of fidget.prettyposies.com to thank for a batch of Rowan Kid Classic and a hank of Orchid Line soft spun, Jessi [my sweet tooth loves her] of Skit's Journal to thank for surprising me with a big box of popcorn, candy and a knit doll kit, and Barb sent over some needles and candy in trade. My favorite things: YARN and CANDY. [Drools helplessly.] See it all here!

*Yep, my little boy is growing up! Has it really been four years since I waddled into maternity at 11:00 p.m. and gave birth to my son five hours later? It's hard to believe the baby the doctor handed to me, born one month early and so tiny, is now a four-year-old dancing machine who is a head taller than the kids in his class, speaks in French playground slang, likes to sing the chorus of "Wild Thing" and tells his parents "chill, man" when we kick into nagging mode. We just had his id pictures for school taken, and I didn't realize how much he'd grown until I compared it to the id picture we took for him last year and the one taken before that, which is his first passport picture. As I showed these photos last year on his birthday, I'm showing them again because they make me go: Awwwwwwwwww!

Voilą!

Why, it's a finished baby sweater!

summer2004_babysweater_finished.jpg
[Click here for a BIGGER view.]
[And don't forget to peek at the back!]


And the baby gift is completed! A fluffy baby sweater with very clever construction: The front piece is basically just a rectangular piece of fluffy yarn, and the back piece is an extra wide piece in a finer gauge yarn that wraps around the sides to the front. I've never seamed a sweater with this kind of construction before, so putting it all together was like working a jigsaw. As for finishing, the sweater has buttonbands at the back, so I didn't knit the neckband in the round. I picked up stitches along the neck, purled the first row so we'd have a charming little half ridge of garter at the edge, and then worked the neckband ribbing back and forth. [Footnote: If this sweater did not have a closure at the back, I would have knit the neckband separately and sewn it on using free-loop backstitch because babies have such adorably huge noggins and my cast-on edges are stretchier than my bind-off edges.] After the neckband was completed I picked up stitches for the buttonbands and knit them on. And of course, I documented all of this for you in a slideshow because we all like pictures:


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Pattern details: Pattern from Phildar's Layette Hiver 2004 using yarns Oxygene and Brumes, and 2.5mm and 3mm needles. I knit the sweater in size 18-24 months so that the recipient can get a good amount of wear out of it. Even though all that ribbing on 2.5mm needles is like a valium at times, I enjoyed knitting this sweater and working the finishing details on it, and I learned some new methods of shaping in the process. The big plus: The baby's mother was really happy to receive it!

P.S. My favorite baby gifts to knit and give are now (in the order shown) sweaters, hats and toys. I tend to procrastinate when I knit booties, so I haven't been knitting those as gifts as much as I used to.