This shows our house Leif built in Maryland. On the front is our house, the workshop behind the house, various trees and the swingset, with the cove wrapping around. On the back are places Amaran was familiar with as a seven year old: her great-grandmother's house, her grandmother's house, her grandfather's house, her aunt's house, the Academy of the Arts, and the Academy in Annapolis. The hem is simple triangles with a bobble, in green. The armhole openings and neck trim is rows of green and blue ribbing.
amaran who said red
This is taken from Mary Serfozo's wonderful book Who Said Red? She has a similarly wonderful book, Who Wants One? These were just two of many books we read when our children were young. Reading is such a huge part of our lives! Reading and imagination. Going to the book store and toy store were really our only indulgences with our children growing up.
On the front three girls are whispering together and on the back one girl stands alone. Here again is a peplum, in shades of green and turquoise, ending in picot edging. The neck and armhole openings have shades of blue ribbing.
Brian Jacques' series of Redwall books was a huge favorite for Amaran and Jirina. I never read these, as Leif was the favored nighttime reader at this time. Many imaginative games came from the adventures of Matthias and Mariel, who are pictured on the front of this sweater. The back has boxes of pictures: Mariel with her string, a sword, a castle, and a volcano. One sleeve has the Redwall castle and the other sleeve has the sun rising between two hills. There is a slight Medieval element to the trim patterns. On the wrists and hem there are growing red and green diamonds on purple, and yellow swirls on red. The neck trim is swirling red and yellow dots on dark blue. The sides are broken with yellow diamonds on dark blue.
amaran o canada one and two
These are the two versions of O Canada I knitted for Amaran. Apparently the first happy picture of Amaran is the only picture I have of the first sweater. I don't know if I even have the sweater anymore. The second sweater is very similar to the O Canada Seven Years sweater, with the exception of the additional maple leafs across the shoulders.
Amaran loved the Alanna series of books by Tamora Pierce - Jirina too, I think. She read these herself, though, so I don't know much about them. The front is Alanna in full armor with her horse (see how the Princesses Nine Years sweater is basically this) with an added sword in silver yarn. The back is, I believe, the cover of one of the books, with Alanna and her cat. One sleeve is her lion shield and one sleeve is her horse (used, again, on a horses sweater). Golden lions and lionesses circle the wrists and hem. There is also a hem pattern of red, green, and purple that I believe is also used on the Moomintroll sweaters. The neck trim is just green and purple. There are triangular waves in purples and pinks at the shoulder.
Fairies were just one of the magical creatures inhabiting our children's imaginations. From HearthSong we got tiny doll fairies, so I incorporated these into this sweater for Jirina - though the fairy from the front is missing! On the front Jirina, sitting in fields of flowers, is looking at the (missing) fairy. On the back she reaches toward a fairy in the clover at the base of a tree. The neck, wrists, and hem trim is tiny and larger fairies in pink and blue.
We had the book Linnea in Monet's Garden by Christina Björk and Lena Anderson. Linnea is Jirina's middle name, and the name she actually uses professionally now. We have a possibly burdensome last name, so I wanted to make sure our children had usable middle names. So here is my nod to her middle name.
The pictures come straight from the book. The front shows Linnea on the bridge in Monet's garden, and on the back she is reaching for one of the fallen flowers, with many flowers behind her. The neck and armhole edging is ribbing in greens. The leafy lace pattern at the hem is in light green. Here I tried adding facial features, but I think these work fine.
How ridiculous is it that this was inspired by a children's shower attachment! but that is where the idea came from. The front and back are identical, with two Nessies, with crowns!, peaking through the waves. The water changes color from turquoise to dark blue. The neck and wrists have alternative ribbing in turquoise and dark blue. The hem pattern is knit-and-purl shapes that are joined to start the body of the sweater.
Here is Jirina's original Moomintroll. The back has different characters from the books: Little My, Snufkin, Sniff, the Groke, and some other characters I don't recall. There are different trim patterns at the shoulders, hem, neck, and wrists.
This is Jirina's original Horses sweater, based on characters from the book The Good Master by Kate Seredy. It was important to the girls at a certain point; there were a number of books about princes and horses that had a large impact on their imaginations. So here on the front is the girl riding a horse and on the back is a boy riding another horse. On the sleeves are the horse from Alanna and Pegasus. Pegasus, of course, was very important, as we thoroughly enjoyed the D'Aulaire's Greek Myths.
When Amaran was learning the cello, Jirina was learning the violin. Here on the front she stands, playing violin in the garden by herself. On the back she is joined by our family, with Leif and Amaran on cello, Levin on a drum, and me playing viola. This was a nice, music-filled time in our lives. The sleeves just have nature scenes, with the very colorful clouds. The neck, wrists, and hem trim is purple swirls on green. The wrists also have green zigzags on purple. The hem has violins on purple. The wrists and hem have purple and green stripes that end in purple picot edging.
Here is Jirina's Hiawatha sweater, discussed as the Hiawatha Nine Years sweater.
LEVIN GOOD MORNING GOOD NIGHT
Levin always had sweaters, as he was the beneficiary of so much knitting practice with the girls. Here is an adaptation of the book Goodnight, by Marjan van Zeyl. Going to the Waldorf school exposed us to all sorts of gentle, spiritual children's books, of which this was one. On the front a little child floats up to the Spiritual World at night, and on the back he returns in the morning. One sleeve is the glowing moon and the other sleeve is the glowing sun. The neck trim is alternating suns and moons on blue. The front hem trim is moons, and the back hem trim is suns. The sleeves also alternate this trim.
Yes, at one, Levin started the Totoro trend, even though he didn't see the movie until many years later.
Levin was OBSESSED with Beetles. We scoured roads and parking lots for actual Beetle cars. He had a small collection of toy cars, from larger version with operating doors and trunks to tiny handheld versions that could disappear in his fists. We also lost a few! The sweetest thing he did was make every color a Beetle-car color, so forever we've called the rental house we had in 1995 the Red Beetle Car House!
So for his two year birthday, I made him this sweater with a red Beetle on front and many Beetles in colors driving all over the back. Beetles in colors also line up on the sleeves. The trim is black and grey tires on a white background. The wrists trim is black ribbing. The neck and hem ribbing is rainbow stripes.
When Levin eased his obsession with Beetles, it was replaced with trains. So many hours were spent building train tracks with the Thomas the tank engine trains. The trains could talk and had all sorts of stories to tell (mostly via Leif)! There was also a battery powered black train that Levin loved to set on its course for an inevitable derailment. So exciting!
This is the original trains sweater that I adapted as the two and three year versions.
LEVIN SAINT GEORGE
Our school is lucky enough to have a dedicated Puppet troupe, called the Magical Puppetree. One year, one of the productions was Saint George and the Dragon. We also had the book by Margaret Hodges and Trina Schart Hyman, so this became Levin's birthday sweater. The trims are different from the Saint George Four Years sweater. I was thrilled when this sweater was included in the Kids Kids Kids book.
LEVIN NORTHERN LIGHTS
I am the one obsessed with the Northern Lights. Amaran and Jirina travelled with me to Alaska to try to see them one year - but clouds obscured the sky, so we left unsuccessfully. (This was where we saw our first hockey game though - so that was worthwhile. We saw a Fairbanks independent league team, and it was such a raucous, wild event. I digress!)
One night while Levin was practicing with his hockey team in Massachusetts, red aurorae began streaming across the sky. That was so rare and special! I didn't mind lying in the snow to watch everything unfold. So here is another birthday sweater for Levin.
LEVIN FROG AND TOAD
We also loved the Frog and Toad books. Here is Levin's version of the Frog and Toad Five Years sweater. There are just a few variations from that sweater. Do you notice the hole on the right sleeve where our puppy chewed off a button?
Here is the original version for Levin of the Rocket Five Years sweater.
LEVIN TIN TIN
Levin also loved reading the Tin Tin books. Aren't they well known to young boys? I always liked graphic novels, starting with the groundbreaking Maus books by Art Spiegelman. I was surprised that it took so long for graphic novels to explode as a genre after his books were published. Now Jirina is working in the genre, with her amazing webcomic Burning Bright. But before that, there were many Tin Tin and Asterix books to read. The front, back, and sleeves are scenes from different covers.
Here are the children in the timber frame we were building.