Tomten, with collar

Maggie’s Tomten is getting a collar this time, not a hood like last time. You can’t really tell but the collar is done, and the very next thing I will do is start the first sleeve!

I’m knitting this from the pattern that appears in The Opinionated Knitter. The yarn is Cascade Ecological Wool and on a US 8 needle it’s knitting up at 4 sts/inch. Therefore, I am following the pattern almost exactly as it appears in the book. The finished size should be about 27″ and Maggie’s actual measurement is 22″, allowing for positive ease and room for growing.

I’m following the cast on numbers, but I have have made a few small modifications. My pockets are 18 sts wide (the pattern says 14; I wanted them bigger). Also, as the pockets are wider, I needed to make them longer, too. The pockets are 15 ridges, and I inserted them at 22 ridges. I made the body longer by 8 ridges to accommodate my growing girl. I always say that she has a long torso, but I really have no idea if this is true or not. It seems as if she has a long torso so I made the sweater longer. I also calculated how long the sweater would be if I followed the pattern, measured Maggie from her shoulder to her waist, and decided two more inches would be perfect.

EZ directs you to cast off the underarm stitches, but Meg’s note on the page says she leaves them on a thread and incorporates them as she knits the sleeves. That’s what I’m going to do.

You can see the red yarn that I’m using to hold stitches; I think I will use that color for an i-cord edging and to finish the pockets. I really can’t wait to finish this and try it on Maggie. It’s such a cute sweater. I am perpetually amazed by the genius of Elizabeth Zimmermann. Garter stitch FTW.

Old Tomten

Time passes quickly, doesn’t it? It is hard not to be weepy as I search out these old pictures and put them into this post. My babies aren’t babies. They’re actual people with thoughts and ideas and personalities and insight into the world. Life just flies by.

The dates for the pictures are below each one.

Just learning to walk. January 14, 2007 (original post)

tomten: unzipping
Still zipped (from the “Zipped, Unzipping, Unzipped” Series) September 11, 2007

handspun mittens
How big is Maggie? SOOO BIG. (post about the mittens) December 3, 2007

Tire Swing
Tire swinging. April 7, 2008

the sled is bigger than Maggie
Big snow, with Tomten (you can see the hood) under the coat for warmth. January 20, 2009

Still fits. January 9, 2010

What a sweater! It’s part of Maggie’s life, and a dear part of my memories. She hasn’t worn it much over the past year, but I’m pleased to see it still fits. It desperately needs some zipper attention. When I put the zipper in, more than two years ago, I had not yet developed my patience for finishing.  If I were to fix the zipper, I think I would take it all the way out and start over.  Do it right this time. Maybe even get a better zipper.

I wonder, will it fit in another year? I hope it will. Good old Tomten.

it’s a shirt yoke

While knitting the body and sleeves of Jerry’s striped sweater, I pondered how I would finish the top. I love going seamless, because you can pretty much leave those big decisions ’til the end. After much thought I ended up going with a Seamless Saddle Shoulder Shirt Yoke Sweater.

The shirt yoke refers to this horizontal patch of knitting across the back of the neck.

shirt yoke

Yesterday morning I cut the tiny v-neck steek and opened up the sweater, which finally allowed me to see if everything “worked.”


Phew. Having never knit this style of seamless sweater, and adjusting EZ’s pithy directions for an adult size sweater down to a kiddo sized sweater, I wasn’t really sure if my calculations would be right. But after looking at my own math and sketches a million times over, I ended up going with my gut and hoping for the best. It’s really hard to be light and breezy about it when there’s a steek involved.

But it all worked! Yay!  The neck opening was really large before adding the ribbing.


So last night I sat down and finished the neck. I had left two stitches at the bottom of the v live, and made sure to pick up stitches evenly around those two.  After working the stitches in pattern for one round, I decreased on both sides of the center on every round (including the bind-off round).

(looks funny without a shirt underneath – and with unwoven ends flying about)

Then, instead of waking Jerry up at 10 pm (I really, really wanted to know if it fit!), I waited until this morning to try it on him.  It fits!

my boy

I know he likes it, too (he has repeatedly and enthusiastically told me throughout the knitting of this one, “I love the design!”), but he probably won’t wear it much, being the warm natured creature that he is. That’s okay with me, I told him, as long as I get good modeled shots after it is all the way done and blocked.  I can sense that he is really pleased that I’m making something just for him, even if we both know he won’t wear it.


Jerry is at Ju-jitsu camp today (hence the yellow belt). We’re missing him. But I will be busy with my darning needle.

the road ahead

And that’s just the sleeves!