I know, I know, you’re all geared up to see the Christmas knitting, and dudes, I’m wild to show you. Coming back to visit the holiday knitting doesn’t even seem all that late to me, since there’s still a big honking Christmas tree in my living room. Usually I take it down on the 6th – the Twelfth day of Christmas, but this year, that just didn’t feel possible. We were supposed to arrive home on Sunday night, but the cold caused havoc here at the airport. We were delayed out of Veradero for de-icing in Toronto (that should have been a clue) and our plane landed at 2am. The fun was only starting though, and we were held in the plane on the tarmac for just over four hours, waiting for a thawed gate. Another delay getting luggage, another delay finding a taxi, and we ended up staggering in the door at about eight in the morning, and after being up all night taking down a tree just seemed… ambitious. I decided it was still pretty and left it. (For the record, the delay was easy to tolerate. There’s only so crabby you’re entitled to be about problems caused by the cold when there’s still Caribbean sand in your underpants.)
This year I knit lots of things, and I’ll show you a few more tomorrow, but the big winners this year were the littlest, my niece Myrie, and my nephew Lou. Both have sets of parents who appreciate knitwear, and a big investment in them always makes sense. Sure, they won’t fit for long, sure – there’s a fair to middling chance that someone is going to puke on my work, but they’ll be worn and adored for every minute that it’s possible to do so, and that inspires me to no end. Luis was the first on the list.
I’ve wanted to make Lou a cheerful red sweater for a long time. Well, not that long, he’s only 22 months old, but for most of that time I’ve dreamed of a cozy red sweater, cabled and warm, the sort of thing that you can put over almost anything for a romp in the park, or in the house, or a layer under a coat, or as a jacket in the spring and fall. I knew exactly the sweater and yarn I wanted, and I just had to find both.
In September I went to the Fingerlakes Fiber Fest, and Jill Draper was there, and whammo. There it was, the perfect yarn. I bought two skeins of her Mohonk yarn in Heritage Tomato and knew just what they would be. I think I even stood in her booth and described (in excruciating detail) just what my plan was.
The yarn’s a deliciously squishy, bouncy cormo, and I was after cables. I thought about designing something, but while I was kicking the idea around, I saw Ellinger, and suddenly, things were easy.
The last time I knit him a sweater, I miscalculated. His mum and I aren’t sure what went wrong, Kate measured him, and I knit to those measurements, but the sweater was too small, and it only fit him for about thirty-six seconds, if that – and as much as I like knitting for the kid, the payoff is that he wears them, and so this time Kate and I were both determined that it would be big – fit him for a long time. Kate measured him with a generous hand to the tape measure, and I did the same when I knit.
Success was ours. This sweater fits just the way I’d hoped. Roomy, with the sleeves rolled up now, with tons and tons of space to grow into, which is fabulous, because right now the kid is growing practically in front of my eyes. He makes the way beans grow look like they’re not really trying, and this will fit forever, or three months, which is really the baby version of forever.
His mum was thrilled (and that matters too, when you’re knitting for a baby) and I love how it’s an "old man" sweater, if you know what I mean. There’s something charming about a wee lad in a garment with grown up styling, and I think the combo of his natural charm and what the sweater grants him is deadly.
He looks just like I’d hoped. Cozy, happy and our little Lou who.
PS – My thanks to Carlos and Kate for the beautifully executed photo shoot. He’s a fast mover, getting pictures is tough.
PPS – Do you think his Nana loves him?
PPPS – People have asked if it was hard chasing Lou on the beach while on holiday, and the answer is no.
Uncle Joe totally had a solution.