Sunday, September 01, 2013

So, September. The world has changed aspect. It’s grey and serious this morning.

Thanks for the thumbs-up on my purchase of the Milano kit, Debbie. I looked at the Relax pattern – it’s written with about 10 cm (4 inches) of positive ease, if you compare chest sizes to the actual width on the schematic. So 20 inches, for Milano, is indeed prodigious. Someone – is this on Ravelry? – turned it into a skirt.

I haven’t downloaded the pattern yet. Maybe I’ll have more to say on the subject tomorrow.

I’m glad to have discovered Carol Sunday. She’s got lots of good things. I’ve signed up for the newsletter.

Now that we’ve hit September, I think I’ll come out with the Constraining Factor I mentioned yesterday, affecting as it does the choices for future knitting. It is this: Jenni and Theo are expecting another baby (a second son) in early November.

Some of you will remember that their first son was born last year, half-way through the pregnancy, just too soon for any real hope of life. He lived for less than a day, and has no name. This pregnancy, needless to say, has been a very anxious time, but we’re now well into viability.

I’ll knit him Kate Davies’ “Rams and Yowes” as a blankie, but that won't be finished for a while. I thought I might knock out a BSJ to welcome him into the world. I have a tattered mimeographed copy of a double-breasted version.  The Sunday Times did a feature on EZ – it must have been nearly 25 years ago, and was the first I had heard of her. You could send in for the pattern.

It is slightly unsatisfactory, in that when you fasten the buttons across the chest, the sides are pulled slightly forward, spoiling the perfection of the geometry. But this is the version I have knit for baby after baby – their names, often in the form of their pregnancy code name, are recorded on the tattered sheet. I think this is the one I’ll do again.

Pakokku sock yarn? I have enough left-over madelinetosh for some nice stripes – but “cold wash, air dry” is a bit demanding for a baby. Whereas sock yarn ought to be able to hack it. And it might be interesting to watch the effect of the yarn change with the stitch count?

The Yarn Harlot published an essay recently (August 22) about whether knitting for unborn babies somehow jinxes them. She thinks not. I think – to employ a favourite phrase of my late sister-in-law’s – that she’s got hold of the wrong end of the stick.

It’s not a question of jinxing. It’s the matter of presuming on God’s grace, if I may put it so strongly. Three of my 13 grandchildren were born with significant defects – one fatal (David and Helen’s eldest son Oliver), one potentially so but for extensive middle-of-the-night surgery at three days (Thomas-the-Elder), and one that now seems trivial (James-the-Younger is missing an ear). And there was also an early miscarriage – perhaps we’re lucky to have had only one.

The idea of a baby shower makes my blood run cold. A Jewish friend (who lost her own first son to a dreadful birth defect) told me once that their practice is to buy the baby from God at the age of a month. That seems a prudent approach. And it doesn’t rule out a bit of knitting before that date. 


  1. I don't have children of my own but I do have godchildren and the idea of a baby shower is repugnant. They are becoming more fashionable here but I avoid giving babies anything until after they have looked out on the world and made up their minds if they want to stay - so to speak.
    What I knit instead is a nursing shawl for the mother - something she can fling around her shoulders when the infant is calling out. And, should something untoward happen, then it is there as a comfort shawl as well.

  2. I have the feeling that when I knit for a baby, it is just that: a baby, not specific. After all, if nobody knitted or sewed until a baby was born, some of them would have a pretty chilly welcome!
    I seem to remember the Sunday Times knitting canter included, in another week, an article about Richard Rutt - I must go and look it up: I still have the pages stored.

  3. Anonymous2:41 PM

    I remember my mother having a rocky time of late pregnancy; in fact, my brother was born at 10 months. I also recall going to a department store with my father to purchase baby clothes so brother could come home from the hospital. My parents had considered it just too dicey to shop before then, so yes, I understand your dilemma.

    God's blessing on all your family.

  4. I knit a little sweater for co-workers newborns. I used to knit them and give to the expectant parent. Twice I gave little sweaters and the child was born within hours. One a few weeks early but healthy. Now I wait until the child is 3 or 4 months and knit a 12 month size. More useful I think.

  5. Also we have a tradition at work to have the baby shower after the baby is old enough to come to the shower then we can admire the new baby.

  6. I was really pleased to hear your news, but have lost track: is Theo your nephew, or great-nephew? Kristie recently knitted a lovely little baby jacket which seemed to reference the BSJ - mitres - but with other elements.