FO Log: Maracon Baby Sweater (2018 FO-02)

Is it just me or does everyone seem to have babies at the moment? I mean, I'm not complaining, I get to make cute things for cute little new people, although sometimes I'm looking at my life and I realize that yes, indeed, I am of that age where people have babies. Lots of them. Anyway, I digress.

Making cute things for cute little new people is awesome because baby knits are super fast and adorable and enjoyable and you get to pick the colors - unlike when, for example, you venture out into one of the major baby or clothing brand stores and you have the choice of pink with orange and frills or blue with construction workers and maaaaybe, if you're really lucky, one gender-neutral grey sweater. The experience of shopping for babies is really, really disillusioning. I somehow thought we were in the year 2018 and those discussions and protests and conversations about identity and gender had at least led to some tangible changes - but apparently, not yet in high street fashion.

So! Apart from making people I love happy with something I've made with my own hands, knitting baby clothes is also a way for me to subtly subvert the gender constructs that fashion puts on us from, literally, the very first day of our lives. I like choosing patterns that are neutral in shape and form (no ruffles, no lace please!) as well as colors that are not immediately associated with a specific gender.

Sometimes I'm asking myself if I should just go all out and knit a pink sweater for a baby boy - and then I shy away from it, and then I feel stupid because I feel like I could do even more to upset the gender identity construction by advocating to look at all colors as neutral. And then there's a little voice in my head that tells me that I don't need to force my politics on everyone and that I also want the recipient to like what I made and I end up with grey yet again. Oh well. We're all works in progress, aren't we?

Long story short, I made a thing for a very cute newborn recently! The Macaron Sweater (filed as French Macaroon on Ravelry) is a free pattern by The Noble Thread, originally written for Cascade Ultra Pima, a 100% cotton yarn. I knit it in Magasin Duett's Eco Wool Cotton, a 55% merino and 45% eco cotton blend that's GOTS certified. You'll also notice that I went for a slightly darker color palette: I used Rock Face, a slate grey, for the major part of the sweater and offset it with Honeysuckle, a really lovely (almost marled) red-pink. I wasn't super sure if the contrast was high enough, but I love how the colors look together in the finished object!

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The pattern itself is very straight forward which is mainly due to the fact that there's no shaping at all and it's almost always pure garter stitch. This made it the perfect little thing to have on my needles during my birthday celebrations because there's really not much brain power required to knit it up.

The Macaron Sweater pattern comes in six sizes, ranging from newborn to four years. I made mine in the 3 months size so that there's a bit of room to grow. I do think the sweater would look good not only on a baby, but also a toddler so I was happy to see the size range! The pattern itself is written in a slightly unusual style: It's a table with stitch counts and cm instructions that you follow from top to bottom. (Oh, and I only share this much detail because it's free, I wouldn't do that for a paid-for pattern.) I felt totally fine with that, but it might be a bit confusing to a new knitter.

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I love the cute little details like the button flap at the back - I picked up the dorky little button I used at Wollen Berlin a few weeks ago - and the additional rows of the main color at the shoulders.

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The sweater itself is knit in pieces - you join the shoulders with a three needle bind off and then seam the sides and arms closed. I didn't mind that, after all, it is quick to do for a sweater that tiny, but if I knit it again I would modify it so that I could knit in the round which should be easily doable.

One additional detail that I wasn't too keen about is that I really liked how the cuffs are turned up in the pattern photos - but when I knit it, I realized that you would have an unseemly stripe of the contrasting color in the middle of the main color on the wrong side. I just don't think that looks very neat:

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Overall though, I'm really happy with how it turned out! It was fun to knit and I love how the yarn feels like after blocking: squishy yet strong, just the right thing for a busy family with a newborn. Definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a new free baby pattern to add to their collection!