This past weekend, I attended a baby shower for one of my favourite people in the whole world. You may remember back at the beginning of the summer, I shared a turquoise and tangerine baby blanket, carefully crocheted for my best friend's baby. These days, the little one is a mere month away from joining us in the world of light and oxygen.
Of course, I should have saved that crocheted baby blanket to give to J on Saturday at her shower. But... I was impatient and excited. I gave it to her way back in June, right after I finished it. Any excuse to start something new, I don't mind. Shortly after I gave up on my gray sweater, I cast on for a sweater of a more manageable size.
I found a free pattern for a little baby cardigan online and got to work with some super soft baby bamboo yarn by Patons. It's a simple pattern, knit from the bottom back edge, then split for the neckline and fronts. You pick up stitches for the super simple sleeves, then pick up more stitches along the edge for the neckline and button band. I managed to finish the knitting in a mere week. Getting around to sewing up the seams and putting buttons on - that took a little longer. I hate those parts of a project.
I was nearly finished with it. Cute little ladybug buttons. Two more ends to work in. Then, on the Sunday the week before the shower, we came home from church and found it on the floor, the buttons ripped off and chewed to pieces, a few broken strands of yarn poking out around the button holes. I was devastated.
(Oh, dogs. I love you, but.)
But, perhaps it could be saved, I thought. I carefully cut away the remaining bits of the ladybug buttons, picked out the frayed edges of yarn around the one button hole, tied a few knots, and gave the little buttonless cardigan a quick, gentle wash. I worked in all the tiny little ends, found new buttons, and carefully sewed the pretty green circles onto the cardigan's edge on Friday night, the day before the shower.
A critical look over my handiwork. It's not perfect. The seams don't line up perfectly and my increases and decreases for the neckline turned out a little lopsided and uneven. But, as I handed my gift bag to the mom-to-be, I knew she wouldn't care. My critical eye notices everything. Hers, I hope, will notice nothing but how much I already love her little one, the boy or girl I will always consider a niece or nephew, though we have no blood relation. Those imperfections don't matter in the least. Sure, the construction of it might not be as perfect as the sleeper I picked up at Baby Gap to go along with it in the gift bag, but there is so much of me in each stitch of that little cardigan.
And maybe the baby will never wear it. Maybe it will turn out inconvenient to wash, and impractical for a little baby. But that's ok - I bought some other practical things for the baby to use. In many ways, creating that little sweater was a task meant more for me than the one it is meant for. There is nothing quite like creating something for someone else that forces you to think rather deeply about that person.
Dear J: I can't wait to meet him or her. I can't wait to become 'Tante Nettie'. I love you and your little family!
(Photo credit for the last two pictures goes to J's mom and the soon-to-be Grandma for the first time. I realized as we lounged with our feet up after most of the shower guests had left that I hadn't yet taken photos of the final product and I didn't have my camera with me. She was happy to snap a few photos for me.)
(To see more details and project notes, check out the project page for this one on Ravelry.)