December 24, 2007


New Year's is my favorite holiday, and, with 2008 on the horizon, I've started looking around at what needs to be wrapped up before 2007 ends (besides the Christmas presents, I mean).

From time to time I've alluded to a Secret Project I've been knitting. Maybe not so secret; all of my friends have seen me knitting on this thing over the past year. Well, bless my brass buttons, I got it done -- and here it is, in its completed glory:



This was one of those things that I just was not going to take with me into 2008. Or, as my DF Lizabeth would say, "Haven't you finished that yet? That kid's going to be in college!" I'd intended it to be a gift to welcome a new baby, but it's turned out to be a gift for his first birthday. I'm just happy to have sent it off before Christmas.

The knitting of the vest wasn't hard and didn't take any appreciable amount of time. But the finishing -- ach! After I'd cut the steeks, I'd sit down to knit on it, and think, "Just give me an hour, and I'll have this buttonband done." And of course the buttonband took days. And then I'd think, "Just one hour, and I'll have the armbands done." In fact, picking up the stitches of one armband took about an hour, never mind the actual knitting of it. And so it went, for months, with me thinking, "I'm just an hour away from finishing this," and that hour, once spent, bringing me only slightly, incrementally, closer to the end. Seriously, I believe the finishing work took as long as the knitting of the body.

I cross-stitched down the steeks on the inside of the vest, but my next Fair Isle project is going to have crocheted steeks, a technique that I learned from Janine's class last May. I don't think crocheted steeks take any less time, but you do them earlier in the project, before you cut the steeks and move on to the next step (whether that's picking up stitches for sleeves or bands or what-have-you), and so I'm thinking that, psychologically, crocheted steeks make the project seem to be going faster. You don't have the tedium of cross-stitching at the very end, at a point when you are impatient to be done with it.

The pattern is, of course, the Elephants Vest from The Children's Collection. This is one AS project for which all of the original (albeit discontinued) Campion colors are currently available in the Jamieson's Spindrift line. The brass buttons coordinate really well with the yellow ochre and burnt umber yarn colors, and give a complementary East Indian sort of flavor to the vest.

Postscript: I received a very nice thank-you note from Wendi, letting me know that the vest does fit little Felix now, and she expects he'll be able to wear it for some time.

Posted by Karen at December 24, 2007 09:54 AM

That vest is a thing of beauty. I love, love, love the elephants! Too cute. Congratulations!

Posted by: anne at December 24, 2007 12:32 PM

Absolutely gorgeous! Lucky, lucky baby.

Posted by: Ginnie at December 24, 2007 01:04 PM

Absolutely gorgeous!

Posted by: Ann at December 24, 2007 03:39 PM

Beautiful - AND done before he even goes to preschool! Well done.

Posted by: Lizabeth at December 24, 2007 06:57 PM

So cute, Karen. And I'll bet the finishing was beautifully done.

Merry Christmas.

Posted by: KarenJoSeattle at December 25, 2007 08:55 AM

Congrats on finishing the sweater! It looks terrific. I bet it feels good to have one less project to carry into 2008.

Posted by: Jewel at December 25, 2007 04:01 PM

Well, the bands may have taken longer than anticipated, but I'll bet they're beautifully done. Your work is exquisite.

Posted by: Gail at December 26, 2007 12:02 PM

Where do you order those beautiful buttons?

Posted by: Michelle at January 12, 2008 02:41 PM

The vest is darling. But, have you seen this:

Posted by: PICAdrienne at January 17, 2008 10:54 AM

I've been thinking of making this one for my son...I'll have to stop by your shop now that we live in Seattle!

Posted by: erika at January 17, 2008 07:01 PM

Oh! That is one of my all time favorites! :)

Posted by: Romi at January 17, 2008 09:58 PM