Thursday, April 9, 2020

Baby Yo-don't

My sister is expecting her fourth child very soon--she has a c-section planned for April 13th. It's a little colossally nerve-wracking to be having a baby right now, not to mention being very strictly quarantined, and trying to work from home, alongside your already-working-from-home husband, your suddenly-homeschooling first-grader, and your five- and two-year olds. It's a lot of chaos. The happy bits are that 1) my sister's in-laws live right down the street from them, and have also strictly quarantined, so they can jump in to take some of the kids (AND visit the new baby, which makes the rest of us, who are so much farther away and not supposed to travel, nor would we still be under strict enough quarantine to be near the newborn if we did, jealous) and 2) my sister deals with chaos enormously well.

She made a onesie for the baby that says, "I was born during a pandemic."

I made the baby a lovely crocheted baby blanket that's five ombre shades of cyclamen. The yarn is this gorgeous washable merino, soft and warm, which I was saving a special project. My husband suggested that before sending the New Baby something quite so sensationally pink, I wait to see if my sister had a boy or a girl (she doesn't know). He thought I should make a different colored blanket if it was a boy.

I mailed it. If she has a boy, that'll be four boys. If a pink blanket actually tamps down some of the testosterone in her house it would probably be a good thing.

Anyway, I immediately looked for something else to knit for her. I went on Ravelry, and found the best--oh, the best--little Baby Yoda sweater pattern. My sister's family are huge Star Wars fans. I consulted my extensive yarn stash, and found bulky (the right weight) yarn in exactly the right colors, left over from Christmas stockings I knit years ago.

I set about knitting. First I made a cunning little green hood, appropriately slouchy. Kitchener-stitched the top seam, and usually I struggle with Kitchener stitch (I know, I KNOW,  it's not that difficult. We all have our weaknesses) but it came out perfect. Next I made a Right Ear and a Left Ear, to be eventually sewn to the sides of the hood. They, too, were perfect, and they made me laugh.

That was it for the green yarn. I started in on the main body of the sweater. Got to the armpits, set that aside, and made two sleeves, also to the armpits. Then I knit the sleeves onto the body of the sweater, and that's when everything fell apart.

First, I screwed up the sleeve placement, but that's an easy, though annoying (can't you count to fifteen, Kim?) fix. No, the real problem came next, when I picked up the remains of the skein of yarn for the body, and realized that lo, it was almost gone.

I set the little not-finished sweater down. I read through the rest of the pattern. I looked at the shoulder shaping and the neckband and the number of rows still left to knit. If I'd wanted to get fancy I could have weighed the remaining yarn, and the partially-finished sweater, and done some math and figured out exactly how much yarn I had left, but it didn't really matter because the non-mathematical answer was: not enough. Not even close. Not even maybe-you-can-knit-the-neckband-out-of-the-green-yarn close.

I went back to my stash and rummaged through it looking for more of the yarn I knew I didn't have, because I remembered buying it in the first place, and making those Christmas stockings, and I knew there weren't extra whole skeins lying around. I found a different yarn in the same color, lightweight (but maybe I could double it) and oh so much softer. I contemplated a sweater that went along in bulky, hairy, somewhat scratchy wool until just after the armpits, when it switched to softer, lighter, finer stuff. I thought, well, it would be good that the neckband was softer. A neckband of that other stuff would really be irritating to a sweet little baby.

Then I realized that I was making an entire sweater for a sweet new petal-skinned baby out of yarn that I, a confirmed wool lover, would find intolerably scratchy even if worn over a long-sleeved shirt.

I thought, well, my sister could bundle the baby way up. Several layers and the baby would probably be fine. Except, of course, that it would be so hot it would be miserable. Plus it was pretty stupid to imagine a newborn wearing a cap beneath a hood, so that the hood wouldn't scratch its little head.

Then I happened to be walking down my own hallway, and noticed the framed newborn photograph of my sister's second son--wearing a Yoda sweater. In short, she already has one.

That was the nail in the knitterly coffin. My scratchy half-finished sweater is now destined for the frog pond, which is what knitters say when they plan to frog something, which is what knitters say when they're going to rip-it, rip-it. The yarn will return to the stash, and maybe I'll use it for another Christmas stocking or something else that won't be worn against the most delicate possible skin.

Sorry, sis. In the meantime, I'll get busy on something else.

P.S. He's here. He's perfect.

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