Seven months. Seven months since I’ve bound off, woven in ends, and endured the slow torture that is wet blocking. It’s a streak of not-finishing longer than any I’ve experienced in my near-decade of knitting. And I’ve finally broken it.
A couple of years ago, I couldn’t fathom such a lapse between cast-on and finished knit. Few weeks passed without a finished knit or significant progress made toward completing a larger knitting project. That was before Addie, when free time was so plentiful it had no air of specialness and I could park myself on the couch for entire weekends with knitting in my lap and Dr. Who streaming on Netflix. Now the toddler dictates the flow of our weekends and evenings, and she does not appreciate episodic television marathons (except for Shaun the Sheep, which, during her waking hours, she requests no less than every ten minutes). She most certainly does not appreciate lazy afternoons spent knitting row after row of stockinette stitch.
So I’ve traded in my days of burning through yarn yardage for playground outings, coloring, and spontaneous dance parties set to Pat Benatar and Journey(Addie loves her 80s music). The activities that fill in the time I previously reserved for knitting aren’t exactly hard work unless there’s a meltdown involved, but as much as I love playing with Addie, I still long for a few hours of uninterrupted knitting. But for now my dream of a knitting retreat will remain just that, and knitting in the late evening hours and those rare mornings when I ride the bus to work will have to suffice.
It was during one of those late-night knitting sessions that I finally wove in the last yarn tail on this little dress. My first finished knit since January. It’s also the first baby item I’ve knit for someone other than Addie in two years. That someone is a little girl due to make her way into the world any day now, so I could not have completed the dress at a better time. Let’s forget that I knit the 6-12 month size, and that it will likely be a while before the little one isn’t swimming in it.
Can we talk for a minute about baby knits? This particular one, with all its lace and picots and fingering weight yarn, is a bit of a departure for me. Usually I’m a sucker for cozy cardigans with thick channels of garter stitch, well-placed cables, and rustic yarns. For me, bulk and texture signify womb-like warmth; the kind of warmth that is filled with love and best intentions. I cannot imagine anything more fitting for those so new to the world.
I almost settled for knitting one of the cardigans I love so much, but the little one for whom the knit was intended will live in a warm climate where heavy sweaters aren’t terribly practical. Something light and lacy to be worn, perhaps, over a simple onesie, seemed far more pragmatic. Tannis Lavalle’s Sproutlette Dress is the embodiment of light and lacy, without the fussiness I dislike in many openwork baby knits. Worked in a fingering weight yarn, and with just a touch of lace embellishing garter and stockinette stitch, the dress is more sweet than frilly. The only thing I did to modify the pattern was simplify the picot edging, choosing a simple picot bind-off that did not incorporate extra eyelets. Oh, and the upside-down leaf motif at the hem? That was obviously a design choice I knowingly made (see mention of toddler above).
Even though this little hand knit baby dress is not my usual fare, I like to think that in the absence of the thickness and warmth, the rows of tiny stitches and the delicate lace pattern offer a gentler, but no less loving, knitted embrace.