Sunday, May 8, 2016

TA-DA! Isaiah's Sweater Is Completed

In my post for May 4th, titled Isaiah's Turn, I had blocked a knitted sweater for my grandson. The pattern was for a baseball jacket designed by Debbie Bliss and I "just" needed to add the neck and front edging and assemble it. "Just" is a four letter word in this context. There is a lot to do at this stage, taking much more time, and many more tools, than I truly appreciated or anticipated. Gaze upon the tools of the craft I used for this one sweater for a wee boy not yet one year of age.

I had decided to put buttonholes instead of snaps on the front, so I needed to figure out the buttonhole size and spacing and then tweak the front band and collar to accommodate the extra width. I thought that a yarn-over and decrease would create an insufficiently sized buttonhole, so I experimented on a swatch with casting off three (lowest opening), then casting off two, and then using a yarn-over only (topmost opening). There was not much difference visually, but when I inserted the button I down selected to the easiest route, pairing a yarn-over with a decrease which gave a snug enough fit yet allowed the button to pass through.

Then came the jumble of picking up stitches along the front edge (61 of them, evenly spaced), adding stitches from a front neck edge, sleeve, back neck edge, other sleeve, other front neck edge, and another 61 evenly spaced along the other front edge. When you consider that 61 is a prime number, evenly spacing those stitches and button hole locations requires a bit of head scratching and fudging. I managed to assemble one pretty full circular needle while accumulating in a pile the multitude of red, green, and blue safety pins and stitch holders as I removed them. I made sure I substituted those aqua and peach stitch markers to keep track of where I had been. I have quite an impressive mess on the table top of my sewing machine. I work there because it gives me a flat surface that is well lit by two arching Ott floor lamps I have. Although knitting is a portable craft, I needed to isolate myself to concentrate on picking up those stitches. The distraction of another person or TV would clearly be unacceptable during this intense process.

It is impressive how many knitting tools are out. Clockwise from 9 o'clock: plastic and makeshift yarn stitch markers, safety pins, large stitch holders (visible in previous photo), highlighted and annotated directions, size 2 and size 3 straight knitting needles, leftover yarn, notebook for calculations and reminder details, circular needle 2.75 mm size 2, the sweater in progress, buttons going for a test drive within the button hole.

To put on that striped collar, I had to reread the directions about a gazillion times until I grasped how it was embedded in the front neck area; but I finally got it. The Debbie Bliss Baseball Sweater pattern is rated as average difficulty on Ravelry. The sweater is easy except for the collar part and if you follow the instructions blindly without trying to understand them, they do work fine. Not only are my tools a shambles, but look at all those loose yarn ends that need to be discretely woven in! Yikes!

Slowly but surely I started assembling the sweater by joining the raglan sleeves. I find it best to work on a flat surface. I'd complicated this flat configuration to some extent because I'd opted for no side seams on the body, preferring instead to work it in one piece. I could flatten portions at a time to join one shoulder seam down to the armhole with the back support of a work surface.

Here is a wrong side view of one sleeve before being inset and the other sleeve after being inset. The photo is oriented with the striped neck collar down at the bottom. There are lots of yarn ends and knitted component twists, but they can be sorted out and beaten into submission.

The underarm seams were similarly squirrelly but here is an after shot and a before shot of the two sleeves, viewed from the inside. Note the taming of the loose yarn ends.

The final step was adding the buttons. They too had loose yarn ends that had to be dealt with.

TA DA! Here is Isaiah's completed sweater, both front and back views. I made a 9-12 month size and he is 9 months old. Let's hope for some cool spring weather or a stretchy sweater in the fall.

Earlier this week I had told my daughter, "I will have it in the mail tomorrow". It did not get mailed until two full days, after that promise; however, it is now completed and mailed. TA-DA! It is no longer on my To-Do list.*
(previous posts on this sweater are)
Knitting, Queries, Quandaries, and Quiescence posted March 18, 2016 
Isaiah's Turn posted May 4, 2016 

* Credit for the TA-DA versus To-Do concept belongs to creativity coach Katie Fowler.
You can read my review of her book An Artist's Journey through Wonderland at


  1. Congrats on finishing this sweater! Maybe Baby Chambers #3 will be a boy and this sweater will get handed down and get worn again, increasing its wearing time. ;-)

    Your "ta da!" mention made me think of Vivian and gymnastics. You'll have to ask her to do a summersault and say "ta da!" afterwards to get her interpretation of the exclamation.

    1. Fortunately the sweater turned out to be not too small. This does not precluded passing it down however. What a brave soul you are considering baby #3 with two little handfuls under 26 months!

  2. Thank you so much for this lovely sweater; as predicted, it got here right before a considerable heat wave, but we tried it on immediately anyway, and are super excited to use it in earnest once the temperature drops here. I love the color combination and the way it's put together, and I'm excited to have such a sporty handmade look for little Isaiah! The fall colors really remind me of a pumpkin patch, which is awesome.