I knew this winter a priority in my knitting was to make something substantial for my nephew, Willem. Over the years I’ve made small things for him – socks, hats a vest or two but I hadn’t ever made a proper winter garment for him. By proper I meant a jumper or cardigan, something significant, with sleeves. A few months ago RoseRed made a jacket for her son (a test knit) and she told me the pattern would go up to size 8. I snapped it up and knew it was the one. The pattern is the Alex Jacket and I gave it to Willem on the weekend after a fairly intense few weeks to get it done.
He happily modelled it for me.
I loved knitting this for him. I started knitting properly around the time he was born and so he’s grown up watching me do it. He just knows that it’s what Aunty Bells does and he’s always been a responsive and loving recipient of my efforts. It makes for a very gratifying knitting experience.
The yarn is Cascade 220 and the colours were chosen for me by RoseRed who picked it up for me when she was in Berry a couple of months ago. I’d asked her to look out for what they had and she called me and suggested the chocolate and blue and what a great combination it is. I love it. It suits my blonde haired boy so well.
The pattern is a great one. It’s knitted in one piece, starting with the hood and then down from there. Couldn’t be simpler.
Designer Celia Ng has provided a lengthy document with several options (you can knit it with or without stripes, with or without cables, hooded or hoodless and with a variety of finishes). She also provides suggested striping options – I chose one of the reverse fibonacci stripe patterns and my sister Adele suggested making the chocolate the dominant colour because, as mums of boys well know, it’s likely to last longer between washes if it’s a darker colour!
In all the photos we took of him with the hood down, he is holding his neck and it was only afterwards I figured out why.
He said the wool is a bit scratchy. I must have sounded very disappointed because he put his arm around me and said ‘Don’t worry, I’ll still wear it.’ What a trooper. I thought it over and well, yes, cascade 220 can be a little scratchy I think and it does soften on subsequent washes but I think the weight of the hood must make the neck drag a little at his throat. I think when he’s got the hood down he’ll be ok if she opens the top button. It should help. But honestly, hearing those words ‘it’s a bit scratchy’ is just horrible for a knitter isn’t it? It’s the last thing we want to hear!
I modified it a little at the sleeves – in the pattern the sleeves are very loose at the wrist and though I think it looks great, I just wonder at the practicality of it. I could just see Willem dragging loose sleeves through just about everything and so I opted to make the wrist cuffs more fitted.
And here is the obligatory ‘crazy’ shot that kids are so fond of doing.
Willem just got glasses for the first time last week. I believe these are the first photos of him wearing them. So very handsome.
So in summary, the nearly three weeks I took to make this were a joy. The hood taught me a few lessons in working short rows (a perennially loathed knitting technique of mine) and I think it turned out pretty well. A lot of wool goes into that hood – a whole skein of Cascade 220! It has panels of rib down the side (couldn’t get a decent photo of that) which allows room for growth which is a great idea!
I know this is a pattern I’ll return to again. Willem will be too big for the pattern in a couple of years but I know it’ll get dragged out for newborns and toddlers alike in years to come, boys and girls, because it’s so very versatile. Can’t ask for much more than that from a kids’ pattern can you?
From the leftover yarn, I made a cardigan for Alice – photos of that to come!