Kaiya's Sweater- The "First" Phoebe's Sweater

Three years ago, I asked my dear friend Mari if she would test knit a sweater pattern for me. Although I had "made up" knitting patterns in the past for our own children, this was the first pattern I wrote up for other knitters to work from, and I really wasn't sure of what I was doing. Although Mari's own two children were grown up and she couldn't really use the sweater in any way, she was eager to test out my first pattern, and she knit up the very "first" (next to my samples for the book) Phoebe's Sweater in this pretty shade of purple. The yarn is Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride bulky. 

Mari was helpful and encouraging to me throughout the process: when my whole family came down with the stomach flu on the night I was finishing my pattern writing, she encouraged me. She kindly pointed out that I had misspelled "guage" several times, and that I made up my own unusual abbreviation for "k2" that made sense to no one but me... and when we were ready to send the book to the printer, she talked me through that final step of "letting go" of the pattern and trusting that it would all be okay. Thank you, Mari.

Shortly after our book was published, Mari learned that she was going to become a grandmother. Our knitting group took a field trip to Brown Sheep Company, and I will always remember the moment when Mari received a text message from her daughter that the ultrasound showed there was a little girl on the way. We were touring the mill and in the middle of a demonstration from the hand dyer, when Mari started screaming "It's a GIRL!" in the middle of the tour. That was a wonderful moment.

Well, little Kaiya is growing up, and the very first Phoebe's Sweater fits her perfectly this year. It warms my heart to see this sweater on Mari's granddaughter. She looks perfectly adorable in it, like it was made just for her. I love that knitting always holds a future potential-- a promise and a gift. 


Phoebe Mermouse Time Lapse Video

For years people have been asking how long Eric spends on each illustration... and we didn't have an answer! Well, we tried to make a guess while we was working on the third book, and we think it is about 80 hours per illustration.

He starts with a series of sketches, to work out the composition of the illustration and the characters and details. Then, he transfers the sketch with a pencil to his watercolor board, adding in the details as he goes. Layers of pencil, colored pencil, and watercolor are added bit by little bit, in careful detail. He leaves no detail to chance, and each page is just crammed with the sorts of tidbits that children love to look at over and over again.

Inspired by his work, I encouraged Eric to create a time-lapse video of one of his illustrations from our newest book, Phoebe's Birthday. He catalogued his process, snapping a photo periodically as he progressed through the illustration process. You will see that he crumples up his paper and starts all over again partway through the video- this dates back to last winter when he had to start the entire book from scratch all over again. (click here to read about going back to the drawing board.)

Signed prints of Eric's illustrations are available here in our Etsy shop.

This seems like a suitable way to begin the new year, so the new video is up for you to share! We hope you enjoy it!