Oh, the Tomten.
I couldn't very well have 2010 be my Zimmermann Year without completing her classic Tomten, now could I? Truth be told though, this project began a long time ago - nearly a full year ago now. It's been slow going, and sometimes - a little on the painfully slow side, I must confess.
But that wasn't the fault of Elizabeth Zimmermann at all. In fact, this pattern was SO clear and concise, I had no trouble at all with it (and the math wasn't scary!). No, the problem with this Tomten lies more in the fact that I turned over complete creative control to someone else.
A year ago, Ezra choose this sweater pattern from my books and a Ravelry browse. He chose the yarn and it's color (it's Peace Fleece). And he requested "no stripes, no pockets, no collar, no hood, no buttons." And that was that. I tried talking him into a stripe or a border or a something a few times over the past year, but nope. He held steady. And of course, I wanted to honor that. But oh, goodness. A whole lot of plain garter stitch kind of got to me after a while. So I'd work on it here and there in bits and pieces.
And eventually...this weekend, I finished. He chose a zipper with me, and I hand stitched it in (Purl Bee has a great tutorial). And then I realized I had hand stitched a dress zipper in - meaning that it didn't separate. Meaning that I had to rip it out and do it again. Meaning that the sweater wasn't done yet. Good times.
As an aside, Zimmermann suggests hand stitching rather than machine stitching the zipper, and I do agree with her (this pattern is in The Knitting Workshop and Knitting Without Tears, by the way, with the latter having a bit more instruction). But for the energetic six year old hands that will be opening and closing this zipper often (because zippers are a musical instrument, no?), I thought a little extra umph would help, so the top and bottom ends of the zipper got a wee bit of machine stitching. I think it's survival chances are increased this way.
The sleeves are slightly on the short side. Because this little guy doesn't love dangling sleeves in the way of playing his ukelele, or his keyboard, or drawing or painting or boxing with his brother or anything else he may be doing (and also because Mama didn't mind finishing the sweater sooner rather than later).
For all the time that it took to complete this sweater, and for all the quiet (and not-so-quiet) complaining I did along the way.....of course, it instantly disappeared the moment that he was standing beside me jumping up and down as I put the (second) zipper in, chanting, "my sweater's done! my sweater's done! mommy, I love my sweater! Thank you sooooooooooo much". Seriously, this kid.
And he was right. The straight blue, with no fuss, is really perfect for him.
And then he wore it all day long, and put it on a chair beside his bed at night, telling me "I'm just going to put it right there so I can see it FIRST THING when I wake up in the morning because I love it sooooo much."
And good gracious. If he asked me in the morning to make him ten more Tomtens, you know I would.
(Maybe with just one stripe?)