Monday, 22 August 2011

Fulfilling Little Girl Promises


I washed Gemma-Rose’s favourite cardigan and her face lit up. She’d placed it in the hand washing pile a few days ago and I guess she expected it to remain there a little longer. You see, I’m not always good at getting around to doing things.

I knitted that particular cardigan a couple of winters ago. It was my second cardigan of the season. First, I made a Sophie a pale pink creation with a shawl collar and pockets. I asked Sophie, “What size do you want me to knit?”

She thought for a moment and then said, “You’d better make it a size ten. You don’t always finish things quickly.” For an eight year old girl, she was very wise.

But I surprised myself and Sophie, and a few weeks later, well before the end of winter, I’d completed the cardigan. It was all sewn up, buttons had been added and it was ready to wear.

“It’s a little bit big, Mum,” observed my number 4 daughter.

“Well that’s because you had no faith in me. You thought I'd take forever finishing it.”

Encouraged by my success, I bought more wool and cast on stitches for a cardigan for Gemma-Rose, and she in turn was very surprised when a month later she was trying on her pink blanket-stitch edged, zip-up-the-front garment. Perhaps I was acquiring a new image. Maybe I was gaining a reputation for being a reliable and persistent worker and a fulfiller of promises.

And so another winter came along and again I brought smiles to young faces with my woollen creations. Just before the season came to an end, with my confidence overflowing, I purchased some extra soft white wool and a pattern for a ¾ sleeved cardigan edged with knitted lace. Gemma-Rose looked longingly at the picture. Yes, she could see herself in such a cardigan. It would be perfect to wear over her spring dresses. She’d feel like a princess. I had time to make it. Spring was still a little way off.

Back, fronts, sleeves – all were completed. Just the lace to go.

Then I made a fatal mistake: I created a blog. I stopped knitting and I started writing. Instead of getting out my needles whenever I had a spare moment, I’d head to the computer to write or read or (I will admit it) waste time.

So spring came and went and Gemma-Rose didn’t receive her new fairy-tale cardigan. Summer arrived and everyone knows cardigans aren’t needed over the warmer months. I promised myself that I’d finish the cardigan before the cooler temperatures of autumn appeared. But I didn’t.

Several weeks ago, I gave myself a stern talking to. I closed the computer and hunted out my needles and started knitting and purling.

“You’re knitting my cardigan.” Gemma-Rose looked delighted.

I worked hard. The lace grew into a long, long strip. I sewed it to the edges of the cardigan. Gemma-Rose was getting excited. Just the sleeve edging to do. And then I had a thought: perhaps Gemma-Rose should try it on.

She slipped her arms into the sleeves and wrapped it over her chest. No problem. But then I noticed her exposed tummy. The cardigan is much too short. It is a size too small. I looked at Gemma-Rose. How would she react?

“Oh well, never mind, Mum. You can give it to Emma.” (A younger friend.) She accepted the situation easily. She should have had a huge disappointed look on her face. But she didn’t. I don’t think she really expected the cardigan to fit. She’d probably given up on me months ago. My youngest daughter had stopped believing she was ever going to wear that pretty lacy cardigan. I have regained my reputation for never finishing things, never fulfilling little girl promises.

How sad.

I say, “Yes, I’ll do that for you,” and smiles appear on young faces. And I think, “I’ll do that later when I have finished this or that… “ I never get around to it. And the girls give up on me.

It’s not about lack of time. I just choose to spend time on my own projects instead of investing it in my daughters.  But time moves so quickly. One day very soon I won’t have girls to knit cardigans for.  Maybe I should close the computer more often and spend time stitching buttons back onto favourite dresses or sewing summer skirts for them or I could begin some new knitting projects…

My computer will be here forever.

The big question is: will I finish knitting the lace to edge the sleeves of the too small cardigan? Will Emma get to wear it?

12 comments:

  1. I think Bethany might relate to this one. A couple of years ago, I bought wool to make jumpers for the three little ones but, by the time it came to Bethany, I'd run out steam! She ended up having a shop-bought one. These days, I just knit for little people and, like you, I practise stress-free knitting by knitting big:)

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  2. I can relate, Sue! I'm not able to crochet or knit fancy things like cardigans. (I would love to learn though.) I have a half finished scarf under my bed, and a half finished baby blanket intended for a little girl (who is now nearly 3) in my closet. Yikes! Time marches on.

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  3. Vicky, your problem is lack of time. You still have lots of little people to care for so I understand how you don't get around to knitting much. But me? I have plenty of time. But I sometimes spend it in a more self centred way. Thank you for commenting!

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  4. Dana,
    Yes time passes so quickly. I am always so excited when I start a new creative project. It's a pity that excitement doesn't last!

    It's not too late, Dana to pull out your unfinished things and complete them. They could be given to someone else, like I'm giving Gemma-Rose's cardigan to my Goddaughter.

    God bless!

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  5. I have a situation like this. I made Brid a quilt. Some of the sewing came apart after washing it. Its still on the mending pile. 12 months! I have to fix it up.
    Leanne

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  6. Leanne, mending pile? That's a whole new story! My girls grow out of things before they return from the mending pile. Once something is damaged and needs fixing, I am sure the girls sigh and never expect to see it again. It's not too late to mend your quilt!!

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  7. Hi Auntie Sue.
    I don't do knitting but I would like to lern.
    Melanie xo xo

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  8. Knitting is fun, Melanie! Sophie is knitting a teddy bear. She wants to knit a patchwork bag after that. There are so many great patterns.

    Gemma-Rose is wearing her favourite cardigan in the photo. It is starting to look a bit shabby but she doesn't care. She loves it! I will have to make her a new one for next year.


    Thank you for visiting my blog.

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  9. Sue,
    The cardigan is very pretty!

    The truth is that I have a basket for clothes that must be handwashed and sometimes I don't get to that basket for a long time :)

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  10. Mary,

    Maybe the answer is to buy only clothes that can be washed in the machine!

    God bless!

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  11. Hi Sue,
    I can see why your daughters would love wearing cardigans made by you! This cardigan is beautiful! I'm guessing that you will finish the cardigan for Elizabeth! And perhaps start another one for Gemma-Rose? Not applying any pressure here really!!! I'm impressed that you know how to make clothes for your children!

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  12. Noreen, after your comment, I really will have to finish the too small cardigan and then start a new one for Gemma-Rose!!! I will have to post photos of the finished garments to prove I did it! Always lovely to see you here. God bless.

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