A while ago, my sister told me a story about when she first started knitting. She and a friend encountered a pattern that said to knit in garter stitch. Being new at the whole knitting game, they weren’t exactly sure what garter stitch was. They searched high and low and after consulting as many resources as they could, they found that garter stitch meant simply knit every row.
They had a good laugh at that.
That’s what this baby tomten jacket was. Garter stitch. Garter stitch. Garter stitch. Not a stitch of purl in the whole thing. Which was actually fine with me, if a bit boring over the course of making it. I guess that explains the stripes – a break in monotony. But motononous isn’t really the best way to describe it. I spent a lot of time knitting with anticipation. Get to the armholes. Get to the hood increases. Get to the sleeves. Get to the finishing. A good sort of anticipation, knitting away the hours in plain old, monotonous garter stitch. I certainly gained a greater appreciation for the simplicity of just knitting every row.
Pattern: Modular Tomten Jacket from Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann.
Yarn: Patons Classic Merino Wool (pink & green), Cascade 220 (blue). These yarns were all leftover from other projects.
Needles: US 5, bamboo. I knit back and forth on a circular for the body and hood and switched to straights for the sleeves.
Started: December 23, 2006
Finished (but for the button): January 2, 2007
Those hood increases make the biggest difference. It snugs right up to the back of Maggie’s neck just perfectly.
Weaving in garter stitch was a cinch. It was a moment of pure knitting joy, learning that I could actually do something that I was fearful of doing. The key, I think, is waiting until the children are fast asleep.
The sleeves are green not because of my great sense of color and design, but because of my resourcefulness. The pink was running low, so I switched to green. I think EZ would be proud.
The pattern calls for a zipper, and I decided a button works better for now. First, the NC climate doesn’t really necessitate a baba to be bundled up too much. Second, I think it looks cute hanging open like it does. Third, I really wanted to use a toggle style button. Fourth, I can always add a zipper later if I feel like it.
The sweater is big on Maggie. As she grows, she probably won’t get wider. I’ll hopefully be able to roll the sleeves down and it will fit again next winter. And since next winter she’ll be running around like crazy, maybe I’ll replace the button with a zipper so the jacket stays on her better.
When I first finished this up back at the beginning of January, I couldn’t stop looking at it for, like, three days straight. I kept laying it out on the floor and calling every family member over to ask them how great it was. The glee of the project has worn off, and I’m left with a great sense of accomplishment. Seriously. It was so simple to make, but it is so beautiful and useful.
Wait, I feel that glee coming back. I’m going to go lay it back on the floor to look at it again…
Garter stitch rules!