A birthday sweater for Asa

Showing off the whole sweater

Hooray for finished sweaters! Sadly, this is the first sweater I have finished since my Central Park Hoodie in June! This darling little sweater is not for Beatrix – it is a birthday present for B’s very first friend, Asa. The kiddos were born two weeks apart and Mr. Asa is about to celebrate his second birthday. I actually bought this yarn to swatch Aaron’s Aran but since I settled on Ram Wools Selkirk for that project, I had a whole skein of Harrisville Highland leftover. I intended for this to be a stash busting project but of course, I ended up needing a second skein!

A birthday sweater for Asa

Pattern: Baby Sweater on Two Needles (a.k.a. February Baby Sweater) by Elizabeth Zimmermann, knitting stockinette instead of the gull stitch pattern

Yarn: Harrisville New England Highland

Needles: US 8

For the record, I made EZ’s 5 sts/in gauge and the sweater fits my two-year-old. EZ was fond of saying a baby sweater will fit eventually but I admit I think that’s a bit of a cop out – I want a general idea of what year in the child’s life the sweater will fit. Is that too much to ask? Luckily, I did the math before embarking on this project to determine the proper fit.

This is one of my favorite worsted weight yarns but because it is so wooly, it breaks easily when pulled. I desperately wanted to use metal buttons but I was certain the yarn would not support heavy metal buttons with sizeable button shanks. Not to mention toddler wear and tear! This is what Beatrix did as soon as I put the sweater on her:

Button frustration

Right. Just as I suspected. Luckily, the owner of my local fabric store (where I bought the buttons) sent me home with a half yard of twill tape to sew onto the back of the button band. She agreed that metal buttons were a must for a little boy’s sweater and she assured me that the tape backing would provide support for the buttons and relieve most of the stress on the yarn. Only “a little hand sewing” was required.

What? Hand sewing? I dread hand sewing fabric to a knitted garment; the resulting product always appears sloppy and flimsy. Nevertheless, I dutifully pinned the tape to the back of the buttonband before skeptically stitching it by hand.

Preparing the twill tape reinforcement of the button band

And to my shock, it looks great!

Twill tape sewn to the reinforce the button band

Most importantly, I think those buttons are now able to withstand the abuse of a two-year-old.

Your cranky model

Beatrix agrees. That is a look of pure toddler annoyance.

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29 comments so far

  1. Adam on

    I love Beatrix’s look of annoyance: “How dare you reinforce the buttons!”

    The sweater is so cute, and it’s a perfect gift!

  2. Chris on

    Wonderful sweater! Love the toddler look. Unfortunately they don’t get any better when they come from a 14 year old “toddler”!

  3. sue on

    OOh gorgeous sweater and I agree, those metal buttons look great. The twill tape seems like a great idea too. Love her expression in the last pic.

  4. nikki on

    Thank you! I like knowing 5 sts per inch will fit a two year old. I really like the reinforced button band idea, too.

  5. schrodinger on

    It’s wonderful!

  6. Ina on

    Lovely sweater!
    I never use band to reinforce the buttons but always buy a matching set of plain, cheaper buttons (preferably in the color of the fabric).
    Then I place a nice button on the outside of the garment, a plain button on the inside and I sew the nice button on to the plain button, right through the fabric.
    There is no strain on the fabric now, the strain is on the inner button. (I hope my explanation is making sense!). This also works perfectly!

  7. stacey on

    Beautiful! I love the “non baby-ish” gray color. The buttons are great. I’ve also heard about the same solution as Ina posted – using a second set of buttons…

  8. whitney on

    What a lovely sweater! I love how wooly it is. Those metal buttons are definitely perfect for it.

  9. lucy on

    It’s really cute. You should make one for her!

  10. grumperina on

    Too bad Beatrix won’t get to keep this one – it’s a lovely option for both boys and girls. The buttons are my favorite.

  11. liz K on

    Wow. The buttonband really does look great. I can’t see the stitches at all!

  12. Chris on

    That is adorable! I’ll have to remember the bias tape trick.

  13. Bertha on

    I love, love those buttons, so much. I want this exact sweater, with those exact buttons, in my size.

  14. Jennie on

    So cute. If I ever get around to finishing anything that involves buttons (or putting buttons on the things finished — like my tangled yoke), I’ll remember this trick.

    Bebe is, as always, the cutest.

  15. Mintyfresh on

    wait–it’s a good quality in a yarn to be able to tear it easily? interesting. in other commentage, i love b’s face in that last shot. HOT SWEATER IN THE SUMMER, MA!

  16. tiennie on

    It’s too bad that you are giving this away since it looks so cute on her! You are so sweet to knit this for a friend!

  17. Danielle on

    Great sweater! And Beatrix’s face gets more expressive every day!

  18. kris on

    how cute is that kid! even when annoyed! :)

    love the cardi – the colour and tweed and buttons all come together perfectly. thanks for the sizing tip – i have a 1.5 year old niece this would look supercute on.

  19. Jen on

    I’m so glad you knit this–not just because it turned out so nicely and will be such a great gift–but because I have always wondered how that sweater looks knit in stockinette instead of the gull stitch. :)

  20. Rachel on

    What a great idea to use twill tape! I must remember that, because I hate it when the buttons flop and cause the sweater to sag. Thanks for sharing!

  21. gleek on

    i love the buttons (and the twill tape, great idea!)

  22. leslie on

    it is perfect. and that twill not only looks beautiful, but makes the sweater seem complete!

  23. Dawn on

    The annoyed face is too stinkin cute! So is the sweater by the way.

  24. linda on

    Wonderful photos! And what a gorgeous sweater! Think it would fit me??? :-D

  25. Sarah on

    Fabulous – I love how understated and serviceable the sweater looks with the plain stockinette body. (I love Beatrix’s name and expressions, too.)

  26. Susan on

    You’ve inspired me to do the same for a niece expected this winter. I confess I’ve never been quite as enamored of that gull stitch pattern as other people. I think the simpler st st is just the ticket.

  27. kat on

    I LOVE the buttons. They are definitely worth the hand sewing. Maybe the look of toddler annoyance is that she does not get to keep the sweater with cool buttons all to herself!

  28. Ann on

    The sweater is so lovely & the buttons really finish it off perfectly.

  29. Macoco on

    Have you told her yet that the sweater is not hers to keep? ;) Your hand sewing came out really well as did the entire sweater.

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