A few months ago while clearing out a closet under the stairs, I found a box of Nostalgia. It was a box I had saved for about 30 years. And the occasion that I had saved it for was about to arrive. My son was about to become a father.
It contained my son’s baby clothes, quilts, hats, toys. There were quilts made by his grandmother, and his aunt. There was a little yellow v-neck pullover that I had knit for him. Also a little pullover that was handknit and handspun by another aunt. There was a latchhook rug that his Grandpa made for him and that used to sit at the foot of his bed. And there was this little sweater………
This little sweater was knit by my mother 32 years ago. It was 1977 and Cowichan style sweaters were all the rage. My mother was a knitter and she had a grandchild on the way. So she thought that she would knit her new grandbaby a tiny White Buffalo cardie.
However she searched in vain for a pattern for a baby version of this sweater. Before Ravelry, before home computers, and even before having a LYS, my mother’s only resource was the yarn section of a few department stores such as Simpson Sears and The Bay. They had children’s patterns but nothing for baby.
That didn’t stop my resourceful mother. She had some White Buffalo yarn, which was a sturdy four ply unspun wool. And she sat for what must have been hours and hours and separated one ply from the other three. Now remember this was unspun yarn. It would break at the slightest pull on it. So she must have been incredibly patient while winding off one ply of this yarn. But she did it.
And she then used an adult sweater pattern that she already owned and knit it up using the one ply of the White Buffalo. It turned out the perfect size. It fit him from just after birth (with the cuffs rolled up) until he was about 6 months old. He was born at the end of November so that sweater kept him warm through his first winter.
I decided to visit my mother one cold day in the middle of November 1977. I was 22 years old and very pregnant and uncomfortable. And I was very nervous about the impeding birth of my child.
I remember coming up the back stairs of the house and into my mother’s warm kitchen. My mother sat knitting in her chair by the door. She was working on this sweater and she looked up at me and smiled………..