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Jerry’s First Handknit

September 12, 2006

When Jerry was born, over four years ago now, I was not a knitter. I was crafty, sure, but I had never picked up the sticks. Even though I had not yet begun my love affair with the knitting, I knew this was something special when I received it as a baby gift for Jerry:

blue-sweater-set.JPG

This sweater, booties and bonnet came from the knitting mother of a friend of my mom’s. The knitter in question is in her eighties and I have never met her. I’m not sure when I got it – if it was at my baby shower or if it came in the mail. I thought it was beautiful and was touched that someone would give me something handknit, but frankly, it’s not really my style. I loved it because it was so thoughtful, but Jerry never wore it. Ok, maybe I tried the bonnet on him for laughs, but that was it. The gift was stashed in a plastic bag and stuffed in the box with all the other baby clothes when Jerry outgrew them.

Even once I started knitting, it was months before the memory of this handknit sweater crept into the back of my mind. Actually, I can’t even remember remembering about it. Maybe I was looking through the baby clothes bins to find hand-me-downs for a new nephew. Or perhaps I was just culling things out, as I have a habit of doing sporadically.

When I came across the sweater, it was a moment. I was in total awe. I think I inspected it closely for about thirteen minutes. I felt bad for never really appreciating all the details.

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Like I said already, I have never met the knitter. For all I know, she might make baby sweaters exclusively and has a collection built up so she can send them off as soon as she hears of an impending arrival. Maybe she has only ever made baby sweaters. Or maybe she makes all sorts of things, and knits and knits and knits and knits. WHO KNOWS??? Did she use a pattern for the sweater? How long has she been knitting? Do her children knit? How fast does she knit? Does she knit while watching TV? I don’t know the answers!

Here’s what I do know: The sweater is knit in pieces. It’s seamed up the sides and the sleeves look like they were picked up from the armhole and knit down. It’s acrylic, but soft. The button band is crocheted. The shoulders are not grafted, or even bound off – it looks like a length of yarn has just been threaded through the stitches, alternatively one stitch from the front, one from the back, etc (bottom right corner pic, above). There are little flips and floops here and there, little imperfections.

You know, maybe another reason Jerry didn’t wear it was because he grew so fast.  He weighed 17 pounds when he was just two months old (Maggie just hit 17 and she’s 6 months old, and that’s still above average!).

Anyway, I’m not really sure why I’m talking about this.  I guess I feel a little bad that this beautiful handknit baby set has been stuffed in a Rubbermaid for four years.  And even though I don’t really like the style, color, or yarn…I love it anyway.

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