Good news: The Learning Sweater is done! Not assembled, but done. I will put it together next week with the help of my knitting teacher. I won't be able to wear it till fall. Since the joke at the shop is that it was a "Two-year sweater project," it's probably better that I have a season to let the sweater sit.
So, on the Project List, we can cross off TWO items! Well, one actually done: the hat pictured here. This is for Kid One; Kid Two's hat is on the needles now. It looks small, but it's a beanie hat, from Knitting for Him by Martin Storey & Wendy Baker. I did it in 3 colors of SandesGarn "smart" super-wash wool. Since the kids do their own laundry, it's bound to happen that a hat will end up in the wash. And if it's in regular wool, it'll be a Barbie-hat!!
I didn't want my hard work to go through the rinse cycle, and I wanted the hats to be warm and durable. Acrylic wasn't an option. My LYS owner suggested this superwash, which is kind of a unique feel to me, since I've lately been knitting with either a cotton/merino blend or a pima cotton. What a "scratchy" yarn, I thought. Till I washed it. It softened up really nicely.
Kid One wanted "browns and greens." Kid Two wanted something to sort of match his winter coat. His will be navy as the base color, tan to match his coat and gold. So far, I think I honestly like the first version better, but maybe that'll change as the second hat moves along. Remarkably, it's knit flat, and seamed. All in all, it's a super-quick hat - a faster knitter would've had it done in a weekend. I carried the colors up the side, since you change every 2 rows. No sense spending time and effort weaving in a gazillion ends. I thought about ripping Kid Two's hat out and starting with tan as the base color, but I really like the idea of a darker base color.
And the leftover yarn will be used for (insert drum roll here): my new great-neice or nephew! My sister is beating me to the Grandma-Train, which is certainly fine by me. She couldn't contain herself, and told me. The kids are happy with the news and will wait a bit to announce to the family at-large. So, after the announcement, my Inner Granny (which I thought was somewhat dormant, but I guess after the afghan and quilt I did for friends' kids, and the bib/burp cloth combo, that Inner Granny does stir once in a while) --- well, my Inner Granny went nuts.
I have a list of things which will be knitted for the wee one: I'm using the leftover hat yarn for some simple booties; the colors are kind of non-gender-specific, and even if I only use the gold and tan, they'll be nice additions for the youngster. I'm also doing a car-seat-sized afghan in a really pretty (but not girly, just in case) lace pattern - which will probably be done in the pima cotton for ease of care. And I'll do a bonnet and mitts. Those are also non-gender-specific, because they'll be a simple basket-weave, if I can find the flyer I'm looking for!!
The flyer was a hand-over from a nun friend of mine. When her mom died, she left an abundance of crochet hooks and knitting needles, a selection of old (I'm talking 40+ years old) patterns and some stash. I used the stash as pet afghans, which were appreciated by the dogs that got them. I have been using the needles and hooks, and the baby patterns will now come in handy - but I have to find them!!
If I get really ambitious and ahead of schedule, the little one will also have a simple quilt.
My kids have already announced that I shouldn't wait for grandkids. Kid One announced it first, and said to Kid Two: "It's all you, buddy." Was my world rocked? Not really. I like to think that I raised my kids to live their own lives. I'm not pining for grandkids. I can be the crazy great-aunt who knits for the rest of the family.
Kid One already said he knows he's not "father material." And yeah - that can change if he meets the right girl and the circumstances are right. The only thing I told him was to keep an open mind and make sure that there were no instances where he was "surprised."
Kid Two has a while yet. :) He may or may not follow that path, and I'm ok with whatever they decide. My wish is that they have a job they love, income enough to be comfortable, and with any luck: someone to make them happy.
I like to think that my Inner Granny is channeling my own Grandma. This August will be a year since she died. It was at least 6 years prior to her death that she laid down her needles and hooks, and gave in to the blindness that caused her so much pain. I'm the only grandkid who picked up the implements and I feel like I'm carrying on her legacy.
Grandma, you'd have loved to have been a great-great-grandma! I'll keep you in mind as I knit these things for the little one to come.