I must preface this post by saying Ash and Turner, I love being able to give dear friends handknits and the all the griping that will follow this disclaimer is mainly for posterity's sake, just in case I ever feel tempted to make my own child a sweater like Alexander's. Which is to say I loved the finished product. It was just the process...
Everyone on Ravelry who noted that this is the most BORING and ETERNAL knit ever is right. I am still trying to figure out why this is the case. In terms of product, the sweater - an online freebie from Drops called b14-27 Jacket - is a clear winner. It is wearable. It is effortlessly unisex. It is adorable. It is not without reason that it's a reasonably popular knit on Ravelry. In terms of process, the sweater has novel, clever construction, being knit sideways from one buttonband to the other, and yet it is simple enough to knit while listening to music, watching movies, etc. It is easily adaptable to a wide range of yarns. It is endlessly customizable. All of these things make it potentially a great knit. And yet...
The pattern is written for alpaca, but I used Zara merino on a size five addi circular. Zara has more stitch definition than alpaca and I think it worked quite well with the pattern. However, the sweater is a huge yarn hog - it consumed nine balls of Zara and is quite heavy as a result. This is not really a problem for a sweater knit for a Canadian baby, but I think the fact that it sucked up yarn and never seemed to grow may have been the reason I felt like I would die before finishing it. It was boring right up until the last green stripe, which is saying something since I had exactly this much green yarn left:
So broken was I by the end that I didn't even care that it was looking likely that I was going to have to buy more Zara in a no doubt different dye lot. I think maybe I believed that there wasn't enough green yarn left in the world to finish the sweater and it therefore wasn't worth getting upset since I was clearly going to spend the rest of my life and my child's college fund searching for and purchasing ball after ball of green yarn. And when it turned out be just enough green yarn, my immediate thoughts were more along the lines of "Now where are those damn brown buttons...?" rather than any elatedness over having completed the green stripes without having to switch dye lots.
The last third of the sweater was knit over a one and a half day marathon session immediately following the submission of my final grades. I took a good hard look at the sweater and then my belly and realized that if the sweater wasn't finished before my baby came, it was NEVER getting finished. And then I grabbed two seasons of Buffy and sat on the sofa and only got up to pee (a somewhat more frequent occurrence these days) and order food for delivery.
The ends were woven in and the buttons attached sitting in Central Park on a particularly golden day. My brain was possibly not entirely recovered from the marathon knitting session because I sewed on the three buttons and held up the sweater to finally, FINALLY admire the finished product only to realize that I had sewn the buttons on the wrong side of the sweater.
But the good thing about knitting is mistakes are always correctable, if not always painless.
The postal service employee I dealt with when I finally got the sweater boxed up and sent to Canada was uncharacteristically spectacularly helpful, so at least the door didn't hit me in the ass on the way out. And it really is a beautiful sweater, and it will look smashing on Alexander, so all is well that FINALLY ends well.
Except in the course of knitting this sweater I have also sadly learned that my love for my unborn child is not quite up to the boundless maternal ideal since I am absolutely certain that I will not suffer this sweater again, even for my own flesh and blood. Oh well. Better to know one's limits sooner rather than later, I guess.