This is a very simple sweater for Amaran, with darker green swirls on a light green background. There are multiple simple trim patterns in shades of green, blue, and purple at the neck, wrists, and hem.
Jirina's name comes from two sources: an actual Czech name which means "farmer," and the way we meant it, as a variation of Irina, meaning "peace." So she got peace sign charms and necklaces for presents through the years. Here is her peace sweater. The body is red with the highlighted repeating peace signs in black. They are not so obvious, are they? On the sleeves is a small inset variation of the main trim pattern, with gradient greens to blues against dark red. I love this main trim pattern! The neck, wrists, and hem have a picot trim with alternating stripes of sun color and black.
Jirina also loved horses when she was young. (She has evolved to loving all animals.) Here is a simple horses and snowflakes sweater, in shades of blue and black. The one hem trim is abstract circles and crosses in black and purple and blues. The wrists and hem trim is red to yellow braids on a background of periwinkle. The neck, wrists, and hem trim is alternating stripes of yellow to red and black. It is easy to see the wear and tear on this sweater.
levin martin brodeur
This is the only photo I have of Levin's ninth birthday sweater. He played hockey at that time, and alot of our winter was spent taking him to and from practices and games, schlepping his huge bag of goalie gear. His favorite player was Martin Brodeur, and our shared favorite team was the New Jersey Devils. We were right on time as fans for all of their Stanley Cup runs! We also went to preseason practice for the Devils, the Rangers, and the Capitals; Amaran loved the Rangers and Jirina loved Jaromir Jagr when he played for the Capitals. All of this hockey interest came from listening to a wonderful, funny children's book called The Chicken Doesn't Skate, by Gordon Korman.
So this sweater has four Stanley Cups (the hoped-for fourth one!), Martin Brodeur's number 30, the N and J, 2 Gs for the two goals Martin Brodeur scored (!), and the maple leaf for his play on the Canadian national team in the Olympics. His name circles the hem, in gold and purple. There is a simple trim pattern at the hem of diamonds, again in purple and golds. The pattern at the wrists and hem is yet more diamonds, in periwinkle on a varying red background. The neck, wrists, and hem have alternating stripes of black and yellow to red. There is also a small placket with 2 pewter clasps.
When Levin was ten, he was obsessed with the Lego Bionicles. Here is his birthday sweater, filled with now unremembered symbols relating to the six Bionicle characters. I'm pretty certain red was his favorite color, based on his previous year birthday sweater and this one.
Levin loved the book The Number Devil, by Hans Magnus Enzensberger. Here is a brief description from Amazon: "In twelve dreams, Robert, a boy who hates math, meets a Number Devil, who leads him to discover the amazing world of numbers: infinite numbers, prime numbers, Fibonacci numbers, numbers that magically appear in triangles, and numbers that expand without." I can see why Levin would have loved this book. I never actually read it - Leif read it to Levin at night while I was reading to the girls. Math has always been hard for me but I try my best. I can do knitting math.
The main body of the sweater is a pattern of adding numbers in block shapes. There are also little x's in black. Circling the bottom in green on a dark blue background are factorial numbers. Also circling the bottom and wrists in dark blue on periwinkle is the symbol pi. There is also a pattern of green plus, minus, times, divide, and equal on black. The back and front are identical. The sleeves have descending and ascending blocks with dots. The three hem trims repeat on the sleeves. The neck, wrist, and bottom trim is half circles in blue on dark blue.
Leif Four Bodies
Anthroposophy has been a defining philosophy in our lives. This is why our children went to Hawthorne Valley School, a Waldorf school. One of the ideas in Anthroposophy is that a person has four "bodies:" a physical body, an etheric (or life-force) body, a soul (emotional) body, and a spiritual, timeless body. This sweater plays on that idea with the four different body symbols, adapting the iconic Scandinavian people with different arm positions. There are very simple diamond trims in blue and green at the neck, wrists, and hem. This is in grey and white, as I was easing Leif into the idea of color.
This needs a washing!
For some time, Leif and Amaran both played cello. Leif taught himself while Amaran had lessons. This is the original cello sweater that I later adapted as a size seven sweater. Here I am repeating my periwinkle and white obsession, so I was able to convince Leif to go for color. He looks so good in blue.
Again, it is clear this sweater needs washing!
Leif has written a trilogy called The Shore, about a nineteen year old girl named Ave who is reckoning with her sudden death. He kindly read it on Garage Band for me so I could listen as I was gardening and knitting. Ave is a strong, adventurous, open person, and over the course of the three books she recounts her false life (because her death makes no sense to her), her true life, and her reconciliation with her death. It is heartbreaking but also beautiful and wise.
This sweater arose from that book. It is a simple dot pattern (periwinkle and white!) with silhouetted figures of Ave and trees. The wrists and hem trim is again trees. The neck has a simple diamond pattern of light blue and periwinkle, with a placket and pewter clasps. The sleeves end with ribbing in shades of green.
Leif Ave version Two
Here is another version of the Ave sweater, based on Leif books. Here the main pattern is adapted from Alice Starmore, and simple waves roll down the sweater. At the hem are the words, From the Marsh Ave Rose (on the front), To the Sky Ave Ascended (on the back). The sleeves also are written with Hail and Farewell.