Six years and 12 baby surprise sweaters ago,this mother brought forth her first non garter stitch knitting project. I knitted up a little chenille stuffed bear for a friend’s daughter. It resembled a wash cloth with ears, but I stuffed it any how, and with awful poly fiber fill at that. (Oh how I have become a yarn snob, tis true… And honestly while it is something I am a tiny bit ashamed of I mostly quite proud. I mean it’s fiber. That’s cool right?) This little pink stuffy took me weeks of painstaking m1 and k2tog, tearing at its short fibers and settling for a knot to reattach, many, many times. The pattern, which seemed like a foreign language at the time was covered in coffee and wine stains at the bind off. Come to think of it, most of my patterns still are… I gave it away with pleasure, knowing though it was intensely frustrating, it was somehow so magically satisfying, and that it would not be the last.
I continued to knit that little stuffy until it became second nature. I think all together I made half a dozen. Miles was small, and knitting time was ample, so I kept at it. I joined a class to learn to knit a baby surprise jacket (bsj) by the charming and witty Elizabeth Zimmerman. I loved it. It was adorable, and fun, and easy to follow. It was all garter stitch, and looked so darn amazing on my sweet little babe. He use to sit in the car seat and nap by my side in the knitting shop, while I chatted and knit with the ladies in the group. When he woke up there were ample and willing arms to hold him, so I could continue to struggle through my too tight knitting project that once again contained many knots. (For you non knitters, this really is frowned upon.)
Since then, I am not sure why, but this project has been my go to so many times. I have knit each and every one of my baby boys one, Jasper even got three if I am being honest. Many a baby showers have been enhanced by this little number, and lots and lots of worsted weight scrap yarn has been utilized in this habit. I just can’t stop. I have knit other sweaters, though not enough. But, this stage of my life just doesn’t allow closely following a pattern, or spending time on a complicated stitch.
Just a couple of examples of my cute models in their bsj’s…
And now, almost seven years later, I knit a baby surprise for my very last baby. My baby girl! I spun the yarn from an anniversary present (Malabrigo merino, ooh la la) Lee got me last year, and completed it with some cat buttons, because seriously.
The job of mothering is taxing in a way I never imagined. It is all twists and knots and tieing together your mistakes when you don’t know what else to do. It is soft and cozy and frustrating as hell. It is settling for the little accomplishments, and letting go of mistakes.
Knitting has allowed me to keep a sense of self during these early years of motherhood. When the days have been a battle, or the mess is piled so high despite all my cleaning efforts, or it feels as if I have done nothing but wipe bums and cut sandwiches, it has given me something concrete to hold in my hand and say, “It is done.”
And I haven’t mentioned the upgrade the craft room has received recently… Guest room no longer! The crafts spilled over! Now, these little creations have a grand setting to await their debut. And last but not least, when briefly looking for some pictures of past bsj’s, I found this blurry gem…