One day last week, I was browsing the yarn section at Ben Franklin. My daughter, G, approached me with an armful of bright green and yellow acrylic yarn and asked me to knit her a sweater. I replied with “Who are you, and what have you done with my daughter?”
Knitting for Kids
I think many of us begin knitting because we want to make cute, one-of-a-kind, handmade items for our babies. Adorable booties. Endearing little baby sweaters.
I began knitting long beyond the kids’ baby stages, but I still enjoy creating hand knit items for them. Especially for my tween daughter. The problem is that she doesn’t appreciate wearing these items quite as much as I enjoy making them for her.
I’ve knitted several items for G, like this top and this sweater, only to have them end up at the bottom of the dresser drawer or passed on to a cousin. And forget about having her try them on during the production process. It’s like trying to squeeze a pissed-off cat into a pair of Barbie pants.
Which is why I about fell over from shock when she asked me to knit for her.
The yarn is Cherub Aran by Cascade Yarns, a soft and squishy blend of nylon and acrylic. The bright neon colors made me wonder if G was trolling me into making an ugly sweater. However, it turns out that she wanted to assume the image of the character Chara from the video game “Undertale.” Yeah, I’d never heard of it either. At any rate, it should make a great cosplay for next year’s ComicCon.
After obtaining the details from my daughter and the internet (wide yellow stripe, set-in-sleeves, rounded neck, etc.) I pondered my construction method. I knew I wanted to knit it top-down.
My first attempt involved Barbara Walker’s top-down simultaneous set-in sleeve method. It was a disaster. (It was me, not the method.) I frogged it. I tried Susie Myers’ Contiguous Sleeve Method next. This worked out much better. I loosely followed Isabell Kraemer’s Driftwood pattern (without the button placket), for sizing and construction.
Knitting something that kids want
I finished the Chara sweater. G loves it. Now I have a plan to follow when I want to make another item for her.
- Let her pick out the project.
I would never have made this sweater. Or picked out this yarn. This was all G’s idea.
2. Let her pick out the yarn.
Even if it’s neon and bulky and acrylic and not the natural-colored sock weight wool I usually like to work with. Come to think of it, I suppose I should be thankful that she didn’t pick out a sock weight wool for this project.
3. Let her be involved in the design process.
G gave me all the details on how she wanted it from the sleeve type (set-in) to where exactly the stripe goes. At one point I had to frog back because the stripe was too low.
4. Make it fun.
This wasn’t just any old sweater. And G actually enjoyed trying this on as I was knitting it.
Despite not being something I would normally make, I had fun with this project. The yarn was nice to work with. The pattern was easy to follow. The colors almost burned my eyes out. But G will actually wear this. And the big grin on her face as she helped with it made it all worth it.
I can’t promise I won’t design anything else for her that she has no desire to wear.
At which point, I’ll be back trying to squeeze the aforementioned cat into the tiny doll clothes.