Eldest

Published on Monday June 4th, 2012

Little baby things have been flying off the needles around here, as I’ve wanted to be sure this second child would have some special garments created just for him/her. It’s also the only way I know to get ready: make stuff. And a soon-to-be-big sister mustn’t be forgotten in the flurry of preparations, so on a whim I cast on a little top a few weeks ago. It’s a sweet pattern called Neighborly; I snapped a hasty photo before Ada wore it to school in case it came home covered in glittery fingerpaint:

Pardon the bouffant that happens when Daddy gets fired up about brushing those curls. Not my favorite look for her. And yes, apparently we like to pose for photos with spinach — her idea. My little schoolgirl is not often so formally attired, though. When the vest survived its first foray to Montessori nursery (it was a water table day, so Ada’s clothes needed some drying but were otherwise unusually clean) I took some new photographs that show Neighborly as she is more likely to be worn:

(Hair is back to normal, too.)

Now you can see the chief detail, the ’60s-style button at the neck. Since I scaled down in yarn weight but still followed the pattern (it’s a single size intended for a child of 3-5 years, so I just crossed my fingers a DK version would fit a toddler), the button band is less prominent in my version and the neckline is tighter. This was intentional; I wanted a summer-weight vest we could throw on over cotton shirts on cool days, and for someone who’s less than two a big open boatneck would just be slipping off a shoulder or trapping stray food more often than not. I used Manos del Uruguay Serena, an alpaca-cotton blend, in a color called “sea urchin” that I couldn’t resist. It reads as grey, but there are pleasing undertones of purple — just the thing to bring my girl’s burgeoning wardrobe of pink hand-me-downs back into a realm Mama can tolerate. When it came off the needles it looked tiny and I thought we might have to gift it to our wee new friend Ingrid to wear as a dress when she gets to be six months old or so, but it blocked out to the perfect size for Ada.

I’m going to see how it wears before passing judgment on the yarn. It’s sheddy up front, releasing a lot of short alpaca fibers in the bath before blocking and still having enough left over to adhere to a small damp chin at first wearing. But when she wore it today I didn’t notice any problems, so maybe it’s let go of all the fibers it needed to. The drape and hand are undeniably pleasant. And the color range is strong. If the shedding problem doesn’t persist and it doesn’t show a strong tendency to pill at this loose gauge (I used a #5 needle, I think), I’d be tempted to use it to knit myself one of those drapey, open cardigans that seem to be so fashionable.

Oh, my not-so-big big girl. How is it you can count and read letters and load the dishwasher and tell yourself the stories in your favorite books and cross the suspension bridge on the play structure at the park and sing me little tuneless songs about slippery fish while still being so small? Will you suddenly seem like a giant in a few days or a week when you become my eldest child?

I’ve loved your babyhood, dear one. I’ll love your girlhood, too.

9 Comments to “Eldest”

  1. Sandy Comment Says:

    She is so unbelievably beautiful. Such pretty curls! The vest is very pretty as well.

  2. Max Comment Says:

    Yeah, that big but small feeling about these youngsters is familiar. They seem so complete at that age. It will be really different with another one, won’t it?

  3. Kristyn Comment Says:

    Awww she is so sweet. It always amazes me how dirty my son is everyday when we pick him up from pre-school. Last week they were taking the sand and throwing it in the air right over their heads. Our bathtub was filthy that night 🙂

  4. Ingrid Comment Says:

    So big and yet so little. She is gorgeous. The vest is also lovely, and a new to me pattern.

  5. mia Comment Says:

    sniffle sniffle. they grow so fast. W has now peed in potty (not entirely on purpose but sort of) 3x in 2 days. I’m not sure he’ll ever do it again, but it was pretty shocking none the less. Ada is lovely and I miss her and you a lot! xoxox

  6. linken Comment Says:

    Ada is beautiful. 🙂 And her lovely knit vest too.

    As much as you worry how the workings of your family will change when you add another child – there is a wonderful surprise. It always works. *grin* Some days better than others. And sharing milestones of the new babe with your first born – is amazing. There are lots of ‘rember when’ talks, the oldest child will get excited to point out something new they see the baby do. There are some poignant moments that you realize one child has outgrown something they liked, would say, or do -but then you find another special thing to enjoy with them because they are now old enough. 🙂 (As I’m typing this and thinking next year I will be alone for half a day – for the first time in 10 years- as my youngest goes to kindergarten. Wow. Time moves quickly when you least expect it too!)

  7. Kristen Comment Says:

    Such a beautiful big little girl! It’s astonishing how much bigger they seem once you have a new little one, and how amazing that you’ve already forgotten how small a baby actually is. My big one is SO big now – almost bigger than I am – but he was once a tiny wee thing, smaller than any human I’d ever seen before. And then the next one came and he looked so much bigger. And now my youngest is seven and petite and seems tiny because she is my smallest and last and he seems so big both because he is big and because is the first and the largest. Ada is a wonderful girl and I’m so glad for your family to welcome its next precious member. Many, many hugs!

  8. Seanna Lea Comment Says:

    Ada looks so adorable. I love her hair, bouffant or not.

  9. Jodi Comment Says:

    Aw, what a sweet kid. The vest looks cozy and very classy!

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