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on wool

November 19, 2007

It’s an ongoing battle in my house to get Jerry, who is five, to bundle up. Every morning when he gets dressed he always, always puts on shorts. I’ve told you about this once before, when I finished Jerry’s Pirate Sweater. He actually wore that sweater a few times, and it still fits him but the sleeves are a little short and he says it’s too scratchy.

Too scratchy? TOO SCRATCHY?!? How can wool be too scratchy!!!??? Sigh. I’ve never told him that wool is scratchy, lest he begin actually believing that. Secretly, I blame his radical new complaint on the outside influence of cartoons and kindergarten. But it’s probably not some rogue kindergartener or anti-woolly cartoon character who is passing along this nonsense to Jerry. I guess that he might actually feel the scratchiness himself and being five, he’s able to verbalize it quite well.

I was not going to take this lying down, so I devised a plan. More precisely, I designed a vest. Genius! No scratchy wool on his arms. Not too warm, but warmth-providing. With skulls! He’d have to like it if the vest had a skull on it, right?

skull cable vest

Vest pattern: Improvised based on my previous experience with vests.
Skull Cable: Free online chart from Hello Yarn.
Background stitch pattern: Based on this picture.
Yarn: Cascade Eco Wool, color 8063, less than one skein.
Gauge: 4 sts/inch, using size US 9 needles.
Size: 32″ chest circumference, 18″ from hem to shoulder.
Start: Nov. 10
Finish: Nov. 14

The answer to that last question is yes, he does like it. But there’s another question: Does he want to wear it because it has a skull on it? NO. Because it’s scratchy. The neck back, which I did not apply any shaping to, rises about an inch above his t-shirt, therefore allowing wool to come in direct contact with his skin.

skull cable vest

My first plan of attack is to apply by hand some fabric to the inside. I’ll try to make it look awesome on the inside, and undetectable from the outside. Or Ann, from my knitting group, suggested wet blocking the vest again and softening the neck back with hair conditioner. Has anyone ever tried that? I could also unravel and try shaping the back of the neck, but I have serious aversion to spending another four days on a project that only took four days in the first place.

skull cable vest

I love this vest!  I love the color and the fit and the skull and the ribbing and everything!  I really thought that I was making something that Jerry would also love, so it’s a big let down that he won’t even put it on for a few blog pictures.  I failed.  We can talk with our children until we’re blue in the face about the wonderful attributes of wool, but a scratchy neck is a scratchy neck.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. November 19, 2007 9:45 am

    It looks great. Sorry to hear that it is scratchy. Those 5 yr olds can be a bit fickle, you could always try again….

    Happy Turkey!

  2. November 19, 2007 10:05 am

    OMG. That’s the cutest thing evah! I love it!

  3. November 19, 2007 11:00 am

    Oh what a bummer it is scratchy – a nice long soak in some conditioner might do the trick? It’s so cute, I love the little skull!

  4. November 19, 2007 11:52 am

    It’s the best! I’m sorry for you. I admit to using bribery to get the photos. Alas, continued wearing just doesn’t happen sometimes.

  5. November 19, 2007 1:19 pm

    i would try the conditioner too. my kids are only cotton or bamboo or alpaca. i have started knitting everything for them in cotton ease. The sweater is sooo cute. what about a turtleneck under or a mockturtle ?

  6. November 19, 2007 4:12 pm

    I feel your pain. I whipped up a quick hat for my 11 year old Friday night in his FAVORITE lime green color because we went camping this weekend and his response? “Knitted hats are for GIRLS, Mom!” He did wear it, but I was totally open to throwing it in the charity box. sigh

  7. November 19, 2007 5:03 pm

    Fantastic photography – I love how it’s hanging off a branch.

  8. November 19, 2007 5:19 pm

    I do have to say that I too get itchy from wearing wool, so I have to knit items that dont touch my skin in any spot. It does get rather annoying having to do so, but otherwise I wouldnt even attempt to wear anything. I now mostly knit things in cotton to wear, although knitting in wool never seems to affect my hands luckily. I think the vest looks wonderful and I am sure after a little fabric backing he will wear it. Good luck.

  9. November 19, 2007 6:13 pm

    My 5 year old boy does the shorts every morning, too.

    I’m so sorry about the vest, it looks awesome, I hope you can find some way to get him to wear it, because the skull is to cool not to be worn.

  10. November 20, 2007 8:48 pm

    I do notice that some of my knits feel a lot softer after blocking so you should definitely give it a try. It’s too nice not to wear!

  11. friender permalink
    November 20, 2007 11:48 pm

    Damn those five-year-old boys. Mine won’t wear his wool sweater either. I hadn”t thought of a vest, though. I love yours and I hope you can change his mind.

  12. November 21, 2007 2:21 am

    My kids don’t mind their woolies too much, they say the wool is scratchy when I’m fighting it over their head, but after it’s on they forget to notice.

    Maybe get him some mock-turtleneck t-shirts to wear with his sweaters? The idea of lining the neck with something softer is also good.

    Whatever happens, it’s a very cute vest. I hope you don’t mind me lifting all your Pirate knit ideas but I think my boys would love something like this.

  13. November 21, 2007 9:54 am

    My grand-daughter is 1. I spin so she loves to act like she is spinning on my wheel. But she picks up even the coarsest wool I have, rubs it against her face and goes “mmmmmm” I love her! she also screams if her mom or I are knitting and she has not been given the bulky needles and some yarn!

  14. katie permalink
    November 21, 2007 5:23 pm

    Stubborn kiddos. DJ won’t ever wear any of the sweaters I have made him. And AJ sometimes wants to wear what I have made, and sometimes doesn’t. Where in the world do they get this hard-headedness from? Certainly not from us, right? =)

    Maybe he would wear it with turtlenecks? And, by the way, it is totally awesome. I love the whole design.

  15. Shannon permalink
    November 22, 2007 1:07 pm

    My five yo won’t wear wool either. I made him a hat out of lorna’s laces sock yarn which I thought couldn’t possibly be considered scratchy. He wore it as long as it didn’t touch his forehead or ears. I stick with cotton blends now.

  16. November 23, 2007 1:47 pm

    Oh my gosh, that is so freakin’ cute!!! You really did a fabulous job; I’m so impressed with your inventiveness.

    What a bummer, then, that he won’t wear it. I like the idea of adding a little fabric on the inside and seeing if that would do the trick. Katie also has a good idea with the turtlenecks. I definitely would not unravel and re-knit. Surely there is another way…

  17. Anne permalink
    November 24, 2007 4:19 am

    I like the mockturkle idea, might work. Also, I need to sit at your feet and learn photography, you rock!:*) “Wish I could relate to those I am related to” — Jeff Foxworthy. Don’t you just love holiday family gatherings in eccentric families? Are all families eccentric? See you soon.

  18. November 25, 2007 3:59 pm

    Make him wear a dickie. 🙂

  19. November 26, 2007 6:23 am

    I used to suffer dreadfully with eczema and couldn’t wear anything but pure cotton – anything else would make me skin itch, wool in particular. I can wear it now but still not overly keen on it.
    My 8 year old didn’t like woolly socks I knitted for her, said they were too scratchy too.

    I do like the top though, and the skull – love the stitch combinations.

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