Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Planting ahead

Busy ant that he is, H has begun the winter crops:  kale, chard, radicchio, lettuce, garlic. Some of them are or will be outdoors under a heavy mulch wrap; others, like the lettuce, will be in the unheated hoop house. This is the first year he'll do lettuces there, and we are interested to see how long they can go before frost nukes them. Above photo is of two kinds of kale, still looking summery, as there hasn't yet been cold here to nip surrounding vegetables, and the straw mulch is yet to be applied.

My philosophy of knitted baby clothes is similar to that of the Master Gardener, inasmuch I prepare ahead by knitting everything for recent arrivals on this planet in size one year. It doesn't bother me that a sweater may be on the large and loose side.

Ted here is comparable in length and width to a three-month-old baby, but he thinks this oversized shetland-wool sweater looks fine on him, and doesn't mind the rolled-up sleeves.  He's loath to relinquish it, but it must be mailed tomorrow to Sofia in Berkeley, California, who was born in July. For those of you unfamiliar with Berkeley, it, like many coastal cities, has its share of morning mists and cool days, and we anticipate that Sofia will wear the sweater, in good health, for more than a year.

I've knitted this pattern once before; it's a free download that you can access here (scroll down to the bottom of the page) and was the ostensible subject of my very first ever post last year. The pattern calls for cotton yarn; I did it in wool and think the gauge may be larger than with cotton, but I didn't measure. That's one of the pleasures of knitting baby clothes--it's so not an exact science that it feels improvisatory. Too large is not a problem. This pattern is extremely clever--everything is done in one piece except for the button-on center panel. Thus you may knit several panels if you choose, for variety and to save washing the sweater too often. The pattern was designed by a mother of five, so she knows.

Speaking of which, a young woman came to the Langworthy Library Knitting Association meeting a few weeks ago with a ball of fingering weight white cotton yarn and size six needles she'd recently purchased. She didn't know how to knit but planned to make a sweater for an infant. I wished her much luck.


  1. As I embark on a book of designs for baby, I will take heed of your excellent suggestions!

    I love the color of the sweater-- I have a kale that has veins in purple like this.... Keep us posted on your greens and the fall crops.

    All best,

  2. Well, thank you very much! Babies have so many off-putting behaviors that the only reason we love them is that they're so cute. Rule number one in knitting anything for a baby: Not White. Guaranteed to stain and look awful, especially around the collar and the seat, no matter how washable the fiber claims to be. This is true of many pale pastels as well.