Sunday, May 8, 2011

What I do in my spare time: Alphabet Sweater

Can this be a knitting blog for a day?

Of course it can. . . it's my blog. I can do whatever I want.

Knitting a sleeve: only 8 different
strands of yarn in about 6 inches
In my spare time, I like to knit. When we moved to Norway, and I didn't have a job, I thought "I'll have so much time to do so many things I didn't have time for when I was working. . . I'll knit, I'll read books, I'll bake homemade bread, I'll learn to love to cook again, I'll ski every day, I'll paint my toenails, I'll start a blog, I'll finally finish that journal article, I'll read medical and midwifery journals to stay up to date, and oh yes, I'll take a Norwegian class on top of it all, and quickly become fluent. . . "

Didn't happen. Trying to learn a foreign language--in an attempt to actually master it and become fluent, so one can earn an income, and not simply for fun so one can chat with the shop owners--is my full time job. No homemade bread. Medical journals still wrapped in plastic. But, I have managed to knit a little.

Gazillions of loose ends woven in
I started this sweater in February 2010, making it in a 4 year size, so Greta could grow into it, as I knew it would take me quite some time to finish it. During our 6 week moving process in June-August 2010, I had finished the back and two fronts, and the two sleeves. All I had to do was knit the button placket and the collar and sew the seams. After a few weeks in Norway, I began to assemble the pieces. . . .

I was missing a sleeve.

A few norsk letters: Æ and Ø
ARGGGGGG!!!  I had knitted this sleeve in a number of different locations over the summer (the above picture is at my brother's house in Washington D.C.), but the most likely hiding spots were my parents condo in Minneapolis and my in-laws house in St. Paul. I begged the grandmothers to turn their homes upside down, which they did, but to no avail. The missing sleeve could not be found.

I put this project on the shelf for about 3 months, unable to get myself to knit a third sleeve. By January, I had the energy to start it up again, and while knitting about 3 other projects, finished in in March. Just in time for Greta's 3rd birthday in April.

She really likes the pink "G" on the front. 
For those knitters out there who might be reading this for hints, here are a few changes that I made: I didn't follow the pattern for the colors and letters. If I had, there would have been a lot of repeated letters throughout the sweater. I actually got so anal about it, that I kept track of how many letters I used, and which were underused. I even added a few Norsk letters: Å, Æ, Ø. Some letters were too difficult to fit into the square: K, Q, U, V, W, X, Y.

One clever change I did on one side seam, that I recommend simply for aesthetics: I matched letters and colors along one side seam (would have done it on both, if I had thought of it early enough). For example: on the back right side, bottom row, knit the left half of an "A". On the front right side, bottom row, knit the right half of an "A". When you sew up your side seams, you'll have a (nearly) complete "A". 

So yes, it took me 14 months to complete, but as usual I started--and finished-eight other knitting projects. It was time consuming, but worth it, because it's definitely the cutest thing I've made yet. 


  1. Aren't you just the cutest for including Æ,Ø,and Å...I can't even imagine the frustration in loosing an entire sleeve! You clearly have far more patience (or is it determination?) than me. I'm pretty sure I would have just packed the whole thing away and found it again when Great was old enough to get married. Cute, cute sweater, Emily.

  2. So very impressive sweet Emily!! So glad I got to be one of the many locations where this sweater was knit! The completed sweater is ADORABLE!!

  3. That sweater ROCKS! Bra jobbet! Flink flink flink!

  4. So cute, and once again I will tell you, "Du er så flink!"