Monday, February 19, 2007

Kimono Reflections

236 yards Lion Cotton, on sale at Tuesday Morning: $1.99

One stripe Sugar & Creme Swimming Pool: pennies

One butterfly button: $1.50

Onesie and overalls from the Target clearance rack: $4.00

The cutest damn baby gift of all time? Priceless.

When you're expecting a baby, everyone tells you that having a child will change your life. When Mr. D was born, I experienced the rollercoaster-speed identity shift of becoming a mother. I wondered, then, what baby #2 would bring. Would I become Mother 2.0?

Not exactly...I became a knitter.

Last spring, I ordered--on a complete whim, since I had vowed Never To Knit Again after some Hat Catastrophes in college--Mason-Dixon Knitting, the book. The idea of small loops and yarn seemed attractive to my hugely pregnant self. This book ignited a renaissance of interest in knitting and I have hardly gone a day without knitting since.

As Baby E nears her seven-month birthday (wow!), we have two sets of friends who are expecting babies. This used to mean I would make a baby quilt. Now that I'm a Knitter, this means knitted gifts. So I dusted off the Mason-Dixon Knitting book and cast on for a baby Kimono.

This was, not so incidentally, the very first objet d'knit I attempted when picking up the needles last spring, attempting to put my insomnia to good use. And what amazing things I learned by revisiting the pattern!
First, I learned that needles and technique matter. Notice the larger size of the pink kimono underneath Baby E's. I was knitting so tightly that my hands would hurt; I also was throwing the yarn clockwise rather than counter-clockwise, which I think makes a smaller loop. Kimono 2.0 is soft, pliable, stretchy where Baby E's was thicker and less flexible.

I started 2.0 with the same (cheap, plastic) size 6 Lion Brand straights. They flexed so much with the cotton yarn that I was knitting at a snail's pace. I switched to knitting flat using my 24" size 6 Addi Turbo circular and suddenly I was off to the races. The moral: Don't buy cheap needles.

I've also learned to pay attention to small details, like when to join a ball of yarn (i.e. NOT in the middle of a row!).

No matter what I think of the technique now, I love this sweater, because it was the first garment (of many, I hope) I made for my sweet Baby E. And now her friend Cecilia Jane, born Saturday, February 17, can share in the kimono love.

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