A birthday sweater for Asa

by exercisebeforeknitting

Showing off the whole sweater

Hooray for finished sweaters! Sadly, this is the first sweater I have finished since my Central Park Hoodie in June! This darling little sweater is not for Beatrix – it is a birthday present for B’s very first friend, Asa. The kiddos were born two weeks apart and Mr. Asa is about to celebrate his second birthday. I actually bought this yarn to swatch Aaron’s Aran but since I settled on Ram Wools Selkirk for that project, I had a whole skein of Harrisville Highland leftover. I intended for this to be a stash busting project but of course, I ended up needing a second skein!

A birthday sweater for Asa

Pattern: Baby Sweater on Two Needles (a.k.a. February Baby Sweater) by Elizabeth Zimmermann, knitting stockinette instead of the gull stitch pattern

Yarn: Harrisville New England Highland

Needles: US 8

For the record, I made EZ’s 5 sts/in gauge and the sweater fits my two-year-old. EZ was fond of saying a baby sweater will fit eventually but I admit I think that’s a bit of a cop out – I want a general idea of what year in the child’s life the sweater will fit. Is that too much to ask? Luckily, I did the math before embarking on this project to determine the proper fit.

This is one of my favorite worsted weight yarns but because it is so wooly, it breaks easily when pulled. I desperately wanted to use metal buttons but I was certain the yarn would not support heavy metal buttons with sizeable button shanks. Not to mention toddler wear and tear! This is what Beatrix did as soon as I put the sweater on her:

Button frustration

Right. Just as I suspected. Luckily, the owner of my local fabric store (where I bought the buttons) sent me home with a half yard of twill tape to sew onto the back of the button band. She agreed that metal buttons were a must for a little boy’s sweater and she assured me that the tape backing would provide support for the buttons and relieve most of the stress on the yarn. Only “a little hand sewing” was required.

What? Hand sewing? I dread hand sewing fabric to a knitted garment; the resulting product always appears sloppy and flimsy. Nevertheless, I dutifully pinned the tape to the back of the buttonband before skeptically stitching it by hand.

Preparing the twill tape reinforcement of the button band

And to my shock, it looks great!

Twill tape sewn to the reinforce the button band

Most importantly, I think those buttons are now able to withstand the abuse of a two-year-old.

Your cranky model

Beatrix agrees. That is a look of pure toddler annoyance.