Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Birthday Outfit

When I knit Norah Gaughan's Manon cardigan for myself, Iris asked for one of her own, but without sleeves. The pattern is sized for adults and uses aran-weight yarn at 4.5 sts/inch. It could fit a 10 year-old if I used a DK weight at 5.5 sts/inch. I just happen to have some in bright blue, her current favorite color.

Notice that I knit the sweater differently than the instructions. Look at the construction photos of the first sweater. The instructions say to knit the waistband ribbing with the triangle sections. The weight of the triangles drags down the ribbing, which I find rather unattractive. (A non-knitter might never notice.)

I knit the triangles using a size 5 needle and a size 4 needle for the garter edge rows.
Then I did a tubular cast-on with size 2 needles for the first 4 rows, switched to a size 3 needle and knit a band to match the length of the peplum made up of 7 triangles. I picked up stitches for the body of the sweater and knit with a size 6 needle. (My needle collection got quite a workout during this project.)
Then I stitched the peplum to the bottom of the band. The tubular cast-on and cast-off don't quite match, but at least I got the topology right.

You can't see it from this photo, but I mastered the tubular cast-on and cast-off for the cuffs on the sleeves.
You can't imagine the tantrums when I started to knit sleeves for the birthday sweater. She insisted that she wanted A SWEATER WITHOUT SLEEVES! But, I had just enough yarn to make the sleeves and my artistic vision included 3/4 length sleeves. Let her knit her own vest.

We also had a fight on our hands when I tried to retire her last swirly black skirt. It was made of polyester knit and getting too short for swirling. She insisted that there was nothing wrong with the skirt and she wanted to keep wearing it.

I made the new skirt, adding 5 inches in length to the pattern I used last time. Then I put the skirt that she didn't want, a t-shirt I bought her last year that she never wore, and the sweater with the sleeves that she didn't want on her dress form. I finished the outfit late at night, when she was already in bed. When I woke up in the morning, the dress form was naked and my girl was wearing her birthday outfit, 3 weeks early.

Note that I didn't finish a birthday outfit for myself.

She wore the black skirt again today and admitted that she likes this one better. The cotton is softer than the polyester, and she can swirl and swirl to her heart's content with the longer length. She also said that sleeves are OK for a jacket (but she is still waiting for a sweater without sleeves).

Tomorrow, I will surprise her in the morning with a brooch to close the sweater jacket.


  1. what a pretty outfit! (What a pretty birthday girl:) I love the sweater -beautiful color.
    Happy Birthday!

  2. Iris is so cool! If I don't follow instructions from my 9.5-yr old to the letter, the garment goes to the bottom of the drawer never to see the day's light again. Sigh...
    Btw, love the outfit!

  3. Oh my! How Iris has grown! She looks absolutely wonderful in the sweater with sleeves. Great color.

  4. Grrr! When do they outgrow the stage where everything mommy does is wrong and embarrassing.

  5. Oh my how wonderful Iris looks in her sweater, and skirt, sleeves and all.

  6. It isn't a sweater, it's a knitted cardigan with sleeves, a vest without. My favorite color is purple, but blue looks best on me.


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