After purchasing my Wool and the Gang alpaca (a well-thought-out, but nevertheless spontaneous purchase), I guiltily dug through my stash and started a project! I'd had plans for a cardigan for Rosa using KnitPicks Shine Sport in "Blush," but when the pattern I'd picked turned out to be harder than anticipated, I lost momentum.
Determined to finally make it work, I settled on the "Elizabeth" cardigan by Georgie Nicolson. The pattern name "Elizabeth" reminded me of my daughter's Bitty Baby doll, which used to be mine when I was her age. I named her "Elizabeth," and now my daughter calls her "Baby Ella." The name "Ella" reminded me of Ella Bella ballerina from James Mayhew's delightfully illustrated book series. And this little cardi seemed perfect for a ballerina, especially in the colorway "blush!" So, "Ella Bella" it is (goodness, if that's not the most circumlocutory way to come up with a project name, I don't know what is! It all makes sense in my brain... Also, you get bonus points if you know which Dickens novel features the Circumlocution Office).
I loved this pattern so much! Far more than I thought I would when, part way through, I was required to pick up and knit -- a technique that still causes me considerable stress (though "pick up and knit" is much better than just "pick up!"). There ended up being quite a bit of that technique, but I somehow made it through.
The lace pattern is so lovely, and also very simple. Which is a winning combination, in my opinion. I did make a few mistakes, which were (fortunately) easy to fix, partly thanks to my training-wheels method of placing stitch markers at every pattern repeat (and there were a lot of them!).
The yarn was also a treat; the mix of Pima cotton and modal is silky and satisfying as it slides through your fingers and off the needles. I tend to prefer animal fibers, but the Shine sport is a lovely and inexpensive yarn.
I think I'll be knitting this again in a few years, though I'm hoping Rosa will have at least another year out of this cardigan (the sizing is forgiving). My gauge was a bit big, so I knitted the size 4 to a size 5 length for my five-year-old.
Of course, I still ended up with almost an entire skein left! I'm wondering if there's any way to get a Bitty-Baby sized sweater (in a simpler style) out of that much yarn...
It felt lovely to finish a larger project -- well, a child's sweater isn't exactly large, but it's more than just a hat or scarf, you know? Anyway, the next project in my queue involves some "selfish" knitting with that Sugar Baby Alpaca!