Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn Crawlย is on through Sunday, September 25.

Take Time To Save Time

Dear Ann,
Wouldja lookit this sweet little cardi? I adore this pattern, and can’t understand why it took me so long to finally make it. It’s the Square-Neck Cardigan from Little Badger Knitwear, a book from 2000 that I like very much. Several of the designs, like this one, could just as well have been knit in 1904 as 2004. They have the old-timey look I find so compelling, yet they are clean-lined clothes for the ultra-modern baby of today.
What I most admire about this pattern is its breathtaking defiance of the Gospel According to Rowan. As it is written in the Book of Hargreaves, Ch. 2, verse 6-9: “Verily thou shalt add a buttonband after the raiment be compleat in all its parts and in all its pieces. And the righteous among ye shall knit the band on needles so small that a camel cannot pass through them any easier than a rich man can attain the Kindgom of Heaven. Unto every generation, thy children and thy children’s children shalt slightly stretcheth the band. Then shalt be picketh up the stitches for the neckband. Yea, thou shalt picketh them up in great numbers, whereas the lilies of the field shall just sit there without a worry in the world.”
When I was a child, I spake like a child. With the wide-eyed innocence of one barely 40, I asked the Rowan chat board, “Why, Sister Rowanettes, can we not just knit the button bands on as an integral part of the sweater?” It was explained to me that if the bands were not knit more tightly than the body, they would be loose and ruffly, and I would go directly to hell.
This little sweater is the New Testament of cardigans, all forgiveness and grace. Look how sweet the bands are, and they are knit right in, at the same gauge as the rest of the sweater. Look at the back, with its lovely touch of moss stitch–not so much moss that you get sick of knitting it, but a quietly elegant statement. I like this sweater so much that I want to crank it into the Sweater Wizard so I can make one for myself in that Tango Linen Drape I’ve been hoarding.
So why the title of this post? Here’s why. I made this sweater in Size 1-2 years for a baby girl. The baby was born in July 2004, but I like a baby cardi to be big enough for the baby to wear when she reaches prime sweater age. But not this big.
I’m to blame for an inch or two of this mess, because my gauge, while starting out at a prim and proper 28 stitches/4 inches (for at least the first 20 minutes), turned out to be 26 stitches when Hans Blix did some unannounced inspections. Although my measuring tape warned me of the danger, I dug in my heels and refused to believe that I needed to use size 2 or — gasp! — size 1 needles to get gauge. The rest of the problem is down to the pattern, which does not give the final measurements, but if you do the math (as I should have done beforehand), comes out quite big for a toddler.
Seriously, although this cardi fits my almost-8-year old, a size 3-4 sweater probably would also fit her, except the sleeves. Tell me, should I give it to an older baby girl? And then knit the smaller size of this one, on the correct needles, for the new baby? I have enough Rowan 4-ply left, and it was a quick knit (one week, from cast-on to Rowenta’s final blast). But somehow I’m not in the mood. Babies grow fast, right?
Just Because It’s Monday
I finally took some pictures of two of the afghans we sewed up at the party on September 12:
The Blue Afghan
The All-Noro Afghan
I’m in awe of what Community Knitting and Self-Taught Sewing (and a drop or two of Knitting Water), can achieve. (The Red Afghan is not quite ready for its close-up yet.)
Thanks, everyone.
Love, Kay



  1. The gauge thing happens to me all the time and I’ve to adopt the ‘Babies Grow Fast’ philosophy. I’m sure the mother will appreciate it. The afghans are simply breathtaking!

  2. The cardigan is adorable! Babies do grow fast, and the present will be appreciated. I had a baby myself in July, and some of the clothes I’ve been given as presents for the baby will fit her next summer or so. It’s good to get clothes in different sizes! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Oh and by the way the gauge thing happens, often does for me too. As long as it’s too big for the baby it’s OK. (Well, too small clothes could be used for dolls, I guess…)

  3. I have done this cardigan too – it ended up going to the Mother of a one-year old, and not the Mother of a 3-month old, for whom it was intended. You are not alone…..

  4. That’s very funny !
    It’s a beautiful cardigan.Stunning in it’s simplicity.
    Garter and moss stitch bands can be knit at the same time as those stitches naturally pull-up a bit,compared to stockinette.It’s the ribbed bands that cause the angst.I avoid them !
    The style will be perfect for you in Linen Drape.Have you started yet ?

  5. your cardi is beautiful. i just love the moss stitch and the simple lines. and you’re right, baby’s do grow fast. and usually you get a lot in the small sizes and not so much for later on. and your afghans a amazing!

  6. I forgot to say how fantastic the afghans are !
    Fabulous !

  7. The cardigan is absolutely dreamy. And I think you know what you have to do. Babies grow fast, but most really do seem to take a couple of years, at least, to reach the size of a petite 8-year old. Sigh.

  8. Aw, the bwankies look terrific, all intentional and great. Can’t wait to get some more of ’em stitched up here in Nashvegas.
    And I totally 100% adore that semi-wee sweater. I’m all about moss stitch at the moment–crank that thing in Sweater Wizard, willya? It’s so sleek.
    And, on another topic, I am relieved to see that Pumpkin Butt has made his return to Found Objects. I’ve been finding some scenic autumn moments recently, but nothing will ever come close to Pumpkin Butt.

  9. Oh! those afghans almost made me forget about how hard I was laughing and how much I was enjoying your “scripture.” Da bomb. Don’t ask me about the sweater. I just love it. I always bought things so my daughter could “grow into them.” In retrospect, she must have looked a lot like the Michelin man most of the time, with rolled-up sleeves and pantlegs — to a ridiculous degree sometimes!

  10. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the four-ply, I will fear no knitting, for thy words they comfort me. Thou layest a feast upon my blogging table, and I am satisfied!
    Bravo! Bravo!

  11. The afghans are too beautiful for words! I love their bright, crazy colors.

  12. That is a gorgeous cardigan-I want one in grownup size!

  13. kay…. never fear…it’s the sweetest cardi ever…. and thinking BIG is the only way to go, what with all the SNACKING going on these days!…..i’m positively “breathless in L.A.”, swooning over the afghan beauties… such TLC really makes the world go round…

  14. Sweet little cardi. I always liked my kids in stuff that was a little big, and it was nice to have things for them to grow into. The afghans are gorgeous.

  15. Whee, I can see at least one of my squares in the blue afghan! They look wonderful. Excellent job, sewer-uppers.

  16. It was well worth waiting for close up of the first finished afghans. The results are stunning. I love the toddler-to-age 8 cardigan too: simple and charming.

  17. Oh Kay, I’m reading this very late at night after a weekend away with the menfolk (half asleep now) and started chuckling with enough of a semblance of life that my husband had to look over and see what had woken me up. I couldn’t really begin to explain why the Order of Heretical Buttonbanders would do it…fortunately, the Pumpkinbutt made its annual appearance on the sidebar and that satisfied him as being reason enough to wake up.
    But yea, verily, I hear you, sister.

  18. Thanks to you, I’m quite sure that my neighbors across the way (who can see me through the open blinds if they get Peeping Tom-ish) must think I’m “that crazy foreign lady who laughs at her computer”.
    What a beautiful and classic cardi. Fine gauge, soft yarn, subtle color. Sheer class. Verily, I say to thee, thy rockest.

  19. Such good news… No need for separate button bands – as long as we keep to garter or moss stitch. Hurrah! I need never again try and slip-stitch a moss stitch button band or work out exactly what is meant by ‘slightly stretched’. Verily, this is a happy day.
    Lovely cardi by the way – and those blankies are priceless. Actually I want one. No change of a Sarah-a-long is there?

  20. That cardi is magnificent! I would be so proud to have knit something as lovely.

  21. Gift it! It was meant to be. I had to get some tissues to wipe the tears of laughter as I read this. I’m off to drag out my copy of that book…

  22. Aw, Y’alls, thanks for being so supportive. I can see now that it’s just another one of those ‘errata’ that plague the knitting books: The size I made actually should say: 12-96 months, and hey—I did a perfect job of it! (LOL Laura!)
    I also confess that, for the first time that I’ve noticed, I had a ‘biasing’ problem knitting this 4-ply cotton in stockinette. Meaning the stitches were all leaning to the left, as if to dance the Hokey Pokey. But I had faith in the Power of Blocking. I ran it through the gentle rinse cycle, spun it until damp dry, and laid it out overnight. Now they’re all straight.
    I did cast on another one of these. Still undecided, but I did cast on. This would be a first for me, re-knitting the same pattern, consecutively. Seems kind of mentally unbalanced (symptom: perseveration), but here I am. COMING SOON TO A BLOG NEAR YOU: The same sweater she knit last week!!!!!! xoxoxo Kay

  23. Kay, you little church lady you! I did not see the blue afghan at the sew up…and I must say it is the most beautiful. It looks like knitted licorice allsorts!!

  24. Gorgeous sweater. The afghans are simply incredible!

  25. The afghans are breathtaking. The cardigan is elegant and beautiful. Your scripture is PRICELESS! Amen, sister, preach it!! And I’m giggling at Becky’s “thy rockest.” Tee hee.


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