Iain’s Birthday Sweater

The general consensus seems to be that work-in-progress posts are always welcome.

I hear and I obey…

This is the sweater that I’m currently working on for Iain’s birthday.

Those of you who have been around for a while will know that not only do I have 4 children to work on Christmas crafts for, but I also have not one, but 2 kids with a birthday a mere 11 days after Christmas. This year, in particular is a big one. We have one child celebrating her first birthday and the other his tenth, on the same day. In order to pull off the kind of heartfelt, home-made celebration that I want, I have to start working really early and start planning even earlier.

I’ve been thinking about this sweater for over a year now and I’ve had the yarn set aside since February, but I only started actively working on it over the last couple weeks. I originally chose this pattern, but then started to dither. When I was finally ready to cast on, I still hadn’t decided, so I confessed my plans to Iain and asked him if he wanted to pick the pattern or have it be a surprise. He opted for the surprise (surprisingly). So, I’ve been doing my best to keep both wool and pattern hidden away.

The yarn is Northampton by Valley Yarns in Apple Green. After years of wanting nothing but light blue, he’s been on a green kick lately, so I’m hoping he’ll like it. For the pattern, I finally decided on the Child’s Aran Sweater #19 by Melinda Goodfellow of Yankee Knitter Designs. I’m making the size 12 cardigan and adding to it a bit in length since Iain is on the tall side.

Way back when I was working on this sweater, Iain mentioned how much he liked those “twist-y stitches” and I’ve been wanting to make him a cabled sweater ever since (as a side note, eee-gads those are some cruddy photos!). I don’t tend to do that kind of knitting though. Not because I can’t, but because I tend towards more practical knitting. I knit a lot and I knit it very quickly, so that my children can be warm. I pick projects that I know I can churn out in no time, even while doing a variety of other things (including yes, reading). Which means a lot of simple, straight forward knitting that doesn’t require much attention at all. I don’t always love working this way, but it means that little wardrobes get filled up with things that might other wise be lacking (I can make a soaker or a sweater for ever-so-much less then I can buy them). I generally console myself with the thought of all the time I’ll have to knit intricate and fussy things for my grandchildren. But 10 feels like a really big deal. Double digits! And after last year, it’s really important for me to make this birthday extra special. I want to put a lot of time and care into his gift(s). It is very much worth it to me.

So far it’s going well. I figure I’m around 2/3 of the way through the back. It took a little while, but I’ve gotten into a groove with it. I’ve pulled all the stitch markers and I’ve now got the 8 row repeat memorized. My goal is to do at least one repeat, each night, while the kids are in bed. I think I’m making good progress and hopefully I’ll be able to have it finished up and set it aside long before the craziness of the holidays sets in.


12 thoughts on “Iain’s Birthday Sweater

  1. nytesong

    I will take inspiration from you on your foresight about planning for the holidays. I'm still a new knitter but the last couple months I've gotten a wee more confident and I think this year at my '1 year anniversary of knitting' I'm ready to use that skill for a few gifts. But I'll have to plan ahead–does it sound silly to say I'm planning right now to plan ahead?

    I think the sweater is going to look amazing especially in that color yarn. That's such a fun, bright color and it's going to look so cheery in the cold winter months. =)

  2. Anonymous

    Oh, Melody, the sweater is going to be absolutely gorgeous!!! Aran sweaters are by far my favorite. There is a lovely lady here on Martha's Vineyard that knits Aran sweaters and sells them at a local church fair. I've bought quite a few from her over the years for my children (ages 10, 8, and 3). My daughter and I have just started to teach ourselves to knit. It will be a long time before I'm making such beautiful and intricate sweaters. I love your website… you are such an inspiration to me.


  3. taimarie

    It looks beautiful! I look forward to seeing the birthday boy bundled up in it! Planning ahead is not exactly natural to me, but I just ordered my christmas knitting yarn a couple days ago, so I am feeling pretty proud of myself for that!

  4. Julian

    wanted to tell you how much i am enjoying your pics lately. Sweet little rosebuds growing so fast, and the boys are so handsome! Love the color of the sweater! You are so talented! When all else in your life fails, knitting is calming. I crochet, but have found its rythm to be soothing. Blessings,

  5. Priscilla

    Wow that's a beautifull cable pattern! 2 birthdays on the same day, how special… and not just special, double special.. a one and a ten! Wow! Will you make a birthday sweater for Mairi too?

  6. AndieF

    OK, I think that you have finally inspired me. I've wanted to learn how to knit FOREVER, but particularly in the last year. I do know how to crochet. I have a newly 10 year old girl, a almost 8 year old girl, and a newly 5 year old boy. I, like you and many others, need to be able to make things quickly but cheaper than I can buy. I'd like to learn how to knit well enough to knit hats, mittens, and simple sweaters. How would you recommend that I learn how to knit?? I've asked around to my friends, and none of them know how.


  7. Melody

    Priscilla-I'm planning a knitted dress for Màiri. :)

    Andie- Well, I taught myself to knit with books from the library and a lot of experimenting. Obviously, it's easiest if you can find someone to teach you. Your local yarn store is a good place to ask about this! Even places like Micheal's run classes from time to time. But even if you can't find outside help, it's by no means impossible to learn on your own. I find wool and wooden or bamboo needles to be the easiest to work with. There are lots of books for beginners and now a days there are also tutorials and videos all over the internet featuring various techniques (everything from very basic to highly advanced). The books that I learned from were mostly really old ones, but I know that the beginner books by Debbie Bliss are really clear and detailed. Good luck!

  8. Lizz


    Nice to see what you are doing with that yarn. I love the color and it look shiny and nice. I'll have to check them out.

  9. Melanie

    gorgeous green wool, and gorgeous sweater! I am anxious to see it on your handsome boy. . .out of curiosity, what color are his eyes?
    My littlest son (2 1/2) has sea green eyes, and when he wears that color it's amazing!

  10. Melody

    His eyes are a beautiful, clear blue. :)

  11. Carrie

    I love the color! All my children (blonde and blue or green eyes) look fantastic in it!

    My twins were born 5 days before Yule and 9 days before Christmas. So I feel you on the pressure! I feel like I have to make an extra special effort to make their birthdays stand out and not be overshawdowed by the holidays. But then again, they are only going to be turning 3…..


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