The Art of Overthinking

A lovely little person I know turns one in early March. Her birthday party, a nice little affair down by the lake, will be held at the end of February. I’ve known this is coming for some time and do you think I have been able to decide what to knit?


Alice at Essen

I am, in my mind, treating this knit like it’s the most important thing I will ever do. It’s got to be perfect. It’s got to be right. It’s got to be something she’ll not outgrow immediately. It’s got to be something she’ll get wear out of at once, but also in the coming winter months. It’s got to be pretty and delicate but also practical for a little girl who’s learning to walk.

It’s also got to be knit from my stash, which, although a pretty extensive stash, appears not to have just the right yarn in it. If you’re on Facebook or Twitter you’ll see I’ve agonised publicly about this today and have had some very nice and helpful suggestions along the way. Now, because apparently I’m more neurotic about this than I thought, I’m writing about it here.

I know, really, that it’s just a first birthday, and that she won’t know or care what I make. And her parents will love whatever it is.

Cardigans. Dresses. Hats. Toys. 4ply. 8ply. Cotton. Wool. Bamboo. I’ve gone over it all again and again and am now at the point where I have retraced my steps and come back to the first patterns I was considering and ditched some and found new ones and wondered and planned and stash dived and yet….I come up gasping for air with no clearer view in mind.

I know what I want to knit later. I know what I want to knit when it’s winter and I need something quick and simple. I have visions of what to knit as next spring rolls around. But now? For her first birthday?

Not a clue.

It’s exhausting in my head sometimes.



30 thoughts on “The Art of Overthinking

  1. Pingback: Special Knits « Bellsknits

  2. Helena will be perfect – I was going to suggest a Woldolf Doll (buy her:) and make her little clohes:)

    Looking forward to seeing it on the needles and off of course:)

  3. You are so adorable to agonize over this to such a degree. Why does it have to be perfect? Is good enough not good enough? I say just make something. And then make something else after that. Etc. The culmination will be perfect – each thing doesn’t need to be.

  4. late to the party, but for my two cents, I’d say a doll or a toy animal, or a blanket, becuase it is going to last and last, bring enjoyment to a beautiful little girl, and potentially become a favourite. Years down the track she will have tucked it away for safe-keeping until that special day when she brings her own babe home, and whispers “this is for you, Aunty Bells made it”

    and it will be loved all over again

  5. Glad you have solved your imdecision. My immediate thought was an A-linre dress that would become a top over time but looking at Helena I can see the appeal!!

  6. So, you’ve made a decision. Good. I hate that feeling. I love what alwen’s grandmother said about having too many choices. I think that often when I go to the grocery store. Too many choices….

  7. My great-grama called this state of mind “spoiled for choice,” in the sense of the old story of the donkey starving between two bales of hay.

    Every time I get wound up like that, I can just hear her voice in my head, “You’re spoiled for choice, young lady.” All those choices on Ravelry or the internet at large just make it harder!

  8. I think – knit the first thing you thought of it’ll either be right or inspiration for the ‘right’ thing will strike while you’re making it and then you’ll have two things πŸ™‚ Or you could go to a yarn shop and make yourself chose from what they have there – that worked for me when I couldn’t decide on a baby pattern – and now I will stop because probably you don’t really need more ideas!

  9. LOL! Definitely a doll or a lovey. At one she’s going to outgrow everything so quickly (unless you do a nice little a-line dress with adjustable straps — that can be worn with an undershirt and leggings for winter and when it gets too short, you can call it a tunic and wear it with pants. Easily good well into her twos.) Now you’ve made MY head more cluttered thinking about what do do for Alice!! GAH! You’re contagious! πŸ™‚

  10. What about Alison Brooksbanks’ (6.5 stitches) ‘Mulberry Bush’? It’s too warn to wear for the next couple of months, but I think it is a lovely ‘special occasion’ kind of knit.

  11. How about the Bobbles and Ruffles pattern that I made G for Christmas? I used Elsabeth Lavold Silky Wool (much less than it called for), and it was perfect for Winter, yet light enough for spring. Totally cute. The smallest size is 2, which should be perfect for some sleeve rolling and growth. Just a thought…. I cannot believe she is a year old already!

  12. I do the exact same thing! It’s terrible, isn’t it? Not sure if you want us to pile on with ideas, so ignore me if you don’t, but I ended up deciding on Susan B. Anderson’s Flower Cardigan and hat set for the girl present occupying my brain waves… Check it out – it’s very cute! (Though I loved the kimono dress you faved, too!)

  13. a doll knit her a doll – imagine yourself at that age getting a doll which gets clothes to match at xmas and following birthdays…

    matching cardies, dresses the list is endless

  14. all great suggestions above, and i wish i’d taken as much care in thinking about a first birthday present for my kids! a hemlock blanket as suggested by shellauw would be a lovely gift (i’d like that myself!). if you are thinking clothing, i like the idea of bloom and how it grows from a dress to a top as the child gets bigger. i understand the indecision, but i’m sure whatever you choose wil be perfect.

  15. I was actually thinking of a blanket or Elijah as well. (And tea is also a good idea).

    Maybe a Hemlock or Girasole in 8ply cotton that she will still be able to for another 20-30 years. I know I’ve still got the blanket that was made for me (out of acrylic, but that was 1983) for my 1st birthday. I love it and it is a type of knitted hug, even though my gran has long gone.

    Or a toy. Something that she can keep with her, hug, travel with, cry on, snuggle up to, and share secrets with. Elijah is a perfect idea in that respect.

    But Kylie is also right. Whatever you make will be perfect because it will be filled with love. Every little stitch will be for her, and she will grow up knowing that.

    You will be fine, and make the perfect present. I know youwill.

  16. I was just going to say the same thing as Ailsa, Elijah the Elephant would be perfect for her. I also like the whirligig shrug too which looks rather cute! I am sure you will knit the perfect present for your gorgeous niece.

  17. I think something that she’ll treasure as she grows, a fun colourful blanket or a lovely knitted toy, you know how lovely a treasured, worn childhood toy is or your favourite ‘blanky’. When she’s all grown up she’ll still want to carry it around with her as a treasured childhood friend. I’m not a knitter, but I do know that at 20 years old Cal still adores his ‘Lucky’ the bear he got for his first birthday. Whatever you knit will be lovely, just thought I’d add my 10 cents worth. xx

  18. I don’t know whether you’d prefer a suggestion or tea and sympathy.

    Suggestion: Elijah the elephant.

    Whatever you decide will be the perfect thing – although I would suggest something that won’t take too long ..

    Good luck, keep us posted..

  19. And here I was hoping for a happy ending to this story (ie a decision!!). I can understand your dilemma, but you know you could knit her a paper bag and it’d still look really cute!!

    I reckon go back to your first idea, and do that – it’s probably the right one!

    (or, you know, maybe you could, gasp BUY her something!!) (tee hee!)

  20. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, whatever you knit will be perfect because it will be made with love. And it doesn’t have to be your Alice masterpiece because you have so many more years of Alice knitting to do, and you don’t want to peak too soon! Of course, doesn’t help you today tho, sorry!

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