The Making of an Easter Tradition

maddie tea leaves cardiLast year in the wee hours of the night on Good Friday, I wove in the ends of my first-ever knitted sweater, an almost-frogged Tea Leaves Cardigan for my daughter Maddie. It had taken me a year and a half to knit, with an ah-bugger-I-think-she’s-outgrown-it-before-I-finished-it break mid-way. This year, in those same wee hours, I wove in the last ends of a sweater vest for my son (the pattern is the Julian Vest by Raya Budrevich). I think I’m creating an Easter tradition: barely finish a knitted item for a beloved family member with the intention that they wear it on Easter.

Since I completed my son’s sweater the night before he was meant to wear it, I didn’t have time to block it. Honestly, I have never blocked a knitted item before, so perhaps I could have had time? Either way, I didn’t have time to learn how to block it and then block it, so I had to improvise.

Improvisational sweater blocking: smash with a stack of books overnight.
Improvisational sweater blocking: smash with a stack of books overnight.
As flattened as this sweater looks under this stack, the method did not actually work all that well.
As flattened as this sweater looks under this stack, the method did not actually work all that well.

While spending a night under a stack of books helped a little bit, I don’t think it was nearly as effective as actual blocking would have been; the shoulder straps still rolled.  Rolling and last minute finishing aside, the sweater was the perfect Easter sweater, and Max seemed happy to wear it. Maddie’s sweater from last year still fit, too, which is an added bonus!

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Max modeling his newly finished Julian Vest.

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I made a few alterations to the pattern, since I knit the Julian Vest in size 4 and my son is currently wearing a 3T.  Once the vest is split for front and back, I knit the back until it was 15 1/2″ from cast on edge (pattern says to knit until 20″ from cast on edge) and I knit the front straps until they were 16″ from cast on edge (pattern again says to knit until 20″).

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For how trimly the sweater fits, knitting to 20″ length may make it suitable for a VERY skinny, long-torso-ed 4 year old, but it would have been a dress on Max. I think my sizing changes resulted in a good fit, although next time I probably would leave out one row of the “V” pattern in the front, and lengthen the shoulders a bit more. I would have added a few more stitches to the cast-on, too, since my son still has quite a bit of his pudgy baby belly since he’s not yet two years old.

Despite some less-than-pleased comments on the pattern on Ravelry, I really enjoyed knitting this sweater and think that the pattern was well written and easy to execute. I would definitely recommend measuring your child as you knit to make sure that the chosen size will fit well.

Blurry sweatered kids playing before Easter brunch.
Blurry sweatered kids playing before Easter brunch.

I’m pleased that both of my children enjoy wearing their hand-knits, even if they refuse to cooperate for a photo. I told my husband that next year, I will finish a sweater vest for him on the eve of Easter to continue with my tradition. I probably should start now, huh?

 

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