Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Embracing the Garter

The person with the world's most extensive collection of Crossroad Knits is Sadie, and she is now three weeks old. Her first handknitted XRK yumminess was this:

Cascade Fixation socks, knitted after her moms gushed over the kneesocks
I was knitting for Rosebud during our visit.

Then, upon her birth, Ann arrived with this, remember?

a Cashmerino Baby Bolero and Hat.

Yesterday, I put this set in the mail.

Sadie's Sweater & Such:
Yarn: Blue Sky Cotton, #628 orchid, 3 skeins
Pattern: Garter Stitch Jacket from The Baby Knits Book, Debbie Bliss
Mods: None. Hat was done on the fly, as were the socks (using Knit Picks Sock Garden)

I almost ripped out Sadie's sweater. I mean, when was the last time you did a garter-stitch sweater? Have you ever? I mean, I know the garter stitch is all trendy and it's virtues are extolled all over the blogosphere. But I felt like it was just too simple to give to Sadie. Sadie's Mama Katie knits a little bit, and she is an amazing quilter. You should see the quilt she made Rosebud when she was born. This was after she made the curtains for Rosebud's nursery. Katie is the person who showed up at my door 10 minutes after getting the "I think my Dad just died and I don't know what to do," phone call from me.

Right, so her much-anticipated baby deserved a pretty special handknit, and all I come up with is a garter stitch jacket? I contemplated ribbons, flowers, embroidery, all sorts of potential razz-a-matazz to foof up the sweater.

Luckily, I knitted this sweater while having a weekend with the family down the shore, all non-knitters. And did they gush! The loved the color, the texture, the squishiness of it all. My sister-in-law admired that "cool ridge-y stitch." My other sister-in-law rubbed the sweater against her cheek, loving the softness of the wonderful cotton on her skin. You see, to the non-knitter, they just see something lovingly handmade. They don't know the difference between the simplest garter stitch or the most complicated brioche or lace.

And then Wendy wrote this post, about the simple. In it, she questions whether or not we knit bloggers have gotten a little precious, even a little classist about the simple knits, looking down our noses at simple in favor of the stranded or the lace or the clever.
And I realized that I had made a lovely, simple little jacket, a garment where Sadie will be the star of the show. And isn't a baby beautiful enough on her own?


Anonymous said...

yesssssssssss, I'm first! nyah, nyah, nyah!

the simple sweater shows off the flower buttons perfectly.

it's still a handknit item, made with love and care.

the stitch design will not matter to sadie, but the softness will.

beautiful, as always, liz.

anne marie

Anonymous said...

As someone who got to see the ensemble in person, I can attest that the garter stitch is in no way 2nd class. You do beautiful work, Liz!

Wendy's post, and yours, are fascinating. I find that I like to challenge myself with some knitting but then tend to knit simpler items for myself. It's a nice balance.

I also feel that I have "meditative" projects that tend to be ultra simple -- complete beginner's mind, process-knitting type stuff.

Anonymous said...

i've had the same thoughts about a garter stitch baby jacket, and you know what -- your post is dead-on. it's beautiful, squishy, soft, textured and made with lots of love.

what baby wouldn't be happy with such a gift?

Anonymous said...

that last line says it all . . .

SpiderWomanKnits said...

I am big on the simple knits.

And, you know, they are the ones that I get the most compliments on because they make people feel nostalgic or something. It's not that they are homely I think but rather that they don't resemble anything that is manufactured. Even the non knitting eye can pick up on something that is made with love for the sake of love.

The sweater you made is just beautiful and when paired with little Sadie there will be nothing cuter :-)

Dorothy said...

Amen, sister!!

I love it, it's so cute and pretty. I love all the things you made. I think simple is the best kind of a thing.

carrie said...

that sweater is classic and darling. the buttons really make it shine. i'm kinda obsessed with baby sweaters since my friend is having a little boy. but, i'm sorry, little boys ain't as much fun to knit for.

eyeknit said...

I think you're absolutely right. In a baby garment, the baby really is the star, and the sweater secondary. We older (and more worn) humans seem to need something to jazz us up, but the sweet, round softness of a baby needs very little embellishment.

eyeknit said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

My name is Diane and I live in Vancouver, BC.
I have been searching every blog online to find someone who has knitted this jacket out of the Baby Knits Book. I hope you can help me out with a problem.
I have knit for years (when my girls were born, 22 years ago!) and am now starting to knit for friends and (maybe) grandchildren! I love Debbie Bliss baby patterns, but find her instructions quite vague at times.
I am using The Baby Knits Book, Garter Stitch Jacket and Hat PP26-29.
Instructionson p.29 for Jacket, shaping neck, say to "Inc one st at neck edge on next 6 rows". I know I have to increase 6 stitches, but if I increase at the neck edge of every row for 6 rows, I end up increasing on top of increase...ie increase at the beginning of the row and then again at the end of the next row, then the beginning of the following row, etc for 6 rows.
I am wondering if she means to increase at the neck edge 6 times, which would mean increasing every other row (over 12 rows of knitting)?
When I look at the photo of this jacket, it doesn't seem as if all increases were done over 6 rows, but seem more spread out as if over 12 rows.

Sure hope you can help me!

Thank you in advance


Anonymous said...

These are so easy to knit .............. Iam a big fan of easy to knit