Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Sweater for Miss J.

Here are some finishing photos of my cousin's daughter, sweet J's sweater.

Upon blocking, I realized that the front and back pieces were each four inches too wide! I consulted the knowledgable ladies at my knitting guild, who informed me that I would have to *gasp* cut the sweater. As luck would have it, the topic of the guild meeting was steeking. So I got to watch it in action before actually doing it. But first I had to sleep on it.

The ladies assured me that "all" I needed to do was to sew a line just inside where I needed to cut to reinforce the stitches. I carefully measured from the center of the sweater out, drew my line, and put my sewing machine to work.Ok, that was easy enough. Now for the cutting. Haven't you heard? It's all the rage. Amanda did it just this week. Steady, girl.
When it came time to the actual cutting, I was surprised to find that it was kind of fun. Tres risque'. And the best part is, nothing fell apart or unravelled. I felt very bold throwing the excess pieces in the trash, as if it was no big thing, as if I did it all the time. An added bonus was that I didn't have to weave in ends!

Then came the tedium of sewing the pieces together. I won't bore you with any pictures of that. Remember, I'm a knitter, not a seamstress.

And what have we here? A finished sweater, my pretties! Specifications:
Pattern: Off-to-Class Guernsey Pullover from Hip Knits, child's size 10
Yarn: Bernat Cottontots, 100% Cotton, 5 skeins Sunshine, 1 skein Wonder Dreams
Needles: Size 7 straight
Modifications: Mom preferred a longer contrasting ribbed hem and sleeve cuffs rather than the same color garter stitch edge called for in the pattern.
The sweater fits me perfectly. If little Miss Thang ever grows out of it, she can hand it down to me!
I want to tell you why knitting this sweater meant so much to me. Sweet J. is the daughter of my favorite cousin and the granddaughter of my favorite uncle. My middle son was named after them. I never got to see Miss J. in person until we gathered together in Arizona for my brother's memorial. Her daddy looked so handsome in his Marine dress uniform, and sweet little J. looked pretty as a picture in her little dress. When I first laid eyes on her, she looked just like my uncle, whom we lost years ago. She was shy at first and I tried to give her time to warm up, but it was hard because of her resemblance to her grandfather, and because I was missing my own little Girlie at home, who is just about her age. And I was very, very sad about losing my brother.

Between the funeral and the reception I lost it. It's quite a story, but one for a later time. I made my way to the ladies room, collapsed on a chair, and cried and laughed and cried again. Miss J. was there in the room not quite sure what to make of this hysterical girl whose size sometimes makes her seem more like a child than a woman. With some urging from her dear mom, she made her way to me and put her arms around me. It was like being held by an angel.

Then during the reception they started showing pictures of my brother's life on a screen. I felt myself start to lose it again, when a sweet voice from the chair next to me pulled me out of my reverie with one question. An innocent question that reminded me of a simpler, carefree time. Miss J. asked me what I was for Halloween. One little question that doesn't seem like much, but it was enough to pull me out of the darkness back into the light. I answered her that I had been a princess, and wouldn't you know it? She was too. An instant bond was formed then and there. From that moment on until she had to leave, we were inseparable.

When her mom (whom I adore) asked me to knit J. a sweater for her birthday, I was honored. I didn't quite make it in time for her 8th birthday, but I tried!

To me, this is not just a sweater. It represents my expressions of love and thank you to an angel who helped me get through one of the saddest days of my life. I will always remember your sweetness on that day. I love you, little princess.


Anonymous said...

Hi- i just found your blog. That is a wonderful story, I hope she loves the sweater!

Good work with the steeking, I have not tried it but think it might be in my future soon.

Isn't it great to have a knitting guild with knowledgeable ladies!!

Sly2017 said...

"When her mom (whom I adore)..."

Got the *wool* pulled over your eyes.


Kim said...

Children save us often, don't they?

msubulldog said...

What a wonderful story!
And your cutting was WAY more scary than mine. Yikes. Did you wind up sewing the pieces together by machine or by hand?

Angela Martínez said...

Wow! You sure to know how to make me teary eyed! You have a way of drawing your readers into the situation, Katrina. Thanks for sharing the story with us.

The sweater is lovely, and I know that little miss J is going to feel so special getting it from you.

And wow! There's a whole lot of steeking going on, isn't there? Now that you say that about not having to weave in any ends, it may become my preferred method of finishing a garment! :)

Jennifer said...

What a sweet sweater for a sweet little one. And you're so brave for steeking it!

BTW, you've won my Oscars blogiversary contest! Email me your address. ;-)

Donna - from TKG said...

The sweater turned out beautifully! Congratulations on the steeking.

Thanks for sharing the story too. She sounds like a really special girl!

Anonymous said...

J. IS a special girl.

Amanda--I stitched the pieces together by hand. Can you do it with a sewing machine? I'm more confident with my knitting/stitching abilities than sewing machine abilities at any rate.

knittinmom said...

This post is like an Oscar-winning movie - we've got thrills (cutting of the knitting), successes (completion of a fabulous sweater) and a heart-touching tear-jerker of an ending. You should start writing screenplays, my dear!

Tricia said...

Beautiful sweater and story. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing story!! Thanks for sharing.