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Bodhi’s Bookish Birthday Sweater

March 11, 2021
A child by a lake in a colourwork sweater

The Golden Glow and a request

Bodhi’s current favourite book is The Golden Glow by Benjamin Flouw. We’ve read it a million times, and even though she can read it on her own now, she doesn’t have to. She knows it by heart. 

The Golden Glow is a stunningly illustrated tale of botany and adventure. It is the story of Fox, who goes searching for a rare and beautiful flower. Spoiler: When he finds the flower, he realizes that he should leave it where it is. It is more beautiful on the mountain top than it could ever be in a vase at home. 

After a whole summer of reading this book constantly, Bodhi requested a special sweater, a Golden Glow sweater. And she wanted it to have all the elements of the cherished story – every animal, plant, tree, and grape pâté sandwich. Mountains, rocks, Cousin Wolf, and even the golden glow itself…you name it, she wanted it on her sweater! 

Well, you know I love a challenge (and I can’t resist a request from my kids), so away I went. I wanted the sweater to be in sock weight because that would allow me to have the most detail at the yoke. For the colours, I wanted to replicate the warm palette of the book. I had the Strange Brew yoke recipe as a starting point, and from my colourwork stash, I came up with some Brooklyn Tweed Loft in just the right botanical greens. I was ready to go! 

a child in a colourwork sweater

A common mistake 

When I teach knitters how to create their own designs using the Strange Brew yoke recipe, I always offer this wise piece of advice: 

Don’t try to put every idea you’ve ever had into the yoke of a sweater. There just isn’t room, and focusing on one element you love makes for a much better design. 

But did I take my own advice? Of course not! I wanted to put every wonderful bit of this book into the yoke…and I suffered for it! I knit, ripped, re-knit, and ripped again. I could never seem to get a colour combination right on the first try. I had to make several trips to my LYS, Black Sheep Yarns, and Helen got a good chuckle every time I turned up for yet another skein. But that’s how colourwork goes sometimes – trial and error!

a child in a colourwork sweater

The hardest part of this project was figuring out how to nail the titular golden glow. I had to get the bright, flaxen yellow juuuust right, and after A LOT of experimenting, I landed on a teeny bit of Jamieson & Smith in the perfect hue.

a smiling child in a colourwork sweater

When I knit this sweater for Bodhi’s birthday, it was summer, so 3/4 sleeves were perfect. But when winter hit, she brought me her beloved jumper and asked for long sleeves. I added some colorful rainbow cuffs, which were sort of a pain to knit (not to mention those ends…), but she loves them.

a close up of the sleeve of a colourwork sweater

A gift for my dear Bodhi

At this point, I can’t really decide if the Golden Glow sweater is ugly or awesome..maybe it’s both. But Bodhi loves it, and I suppose that’s really all that matters. It was interesting for me to knit this sweater, knowing it wasn’t a design. It was just a knit – a knit to make a six year old happy on her birthday, a knit to go along with her young love of books and nature and adventure. She adores the little foxes, the bright yellow golden glow, and the tiny grape pâté sandwiches at the hem. My heart soars when I see her sitting in her special sweater, reading her favourite book. Ugly or awesome, it’s absolutely perfect.

~ Alexa

a child in a colourwork sweater

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Lora permalink
    August 5, 2021 8:38 pm

    I adore this! Crafting and creating something so special on request from a young book lover. I’ve looked at this post many times and finally purchased the book, The Golden Glow for my 6yo. It’s a huge hit in our house now too, and so I’m off to try and design our own version of a sweater to recreate the feel of the book. Thankyou for the inspiration x

  2. Laura permalink
    April 22, 2021 4:21 pm

    I think it’s a lovely sweater! Not having read the book this post had me putting a hold on it at my local library – I think you captured the book very well! I love the rainbow flecks on the body of the sweater and the rainbow cuffs. Great job!

  3. Barb Izard permalink
    March 19, 2021 6:44 am

    Beautiful sweater as Mom honoured the wishes of her child and created magic. I have learned that there is great satisfaction in knitting garments for others when the recipients are consulted. Turns out my likes often were not theirs. Well done Mom

  4. March 18, 2021 5:27 pm

    I love it! What a treasure! We have such a finite amount of time to create things for those we love. ❤️ What a wonderful memory for you both.

  5. LCH permalink
    March 18, 2021 9:57 am

    Thanks for the inspirational post. I’ve got the strange brew recipe and just need the courage to tackle it. Ordering the book is already done. I have a couple of recipients in mind who would love it.

  6. Beth Bugosh permalink
    March 16, 2021 4:26 pm

    Thanks so very very much for sharing this! I had to immediately go buy the book (which is as lovely as you said!) I can hardly wait to share this with my grandchildren.

  7. Olivia permalink
    March 15, 2021 5:34 am

    Oh my god what a wonderful story and what a wonderful sweater. I think it’s lovely and I love the little foxes faces.

  8. Meredith MC permalink
    March 13, 2021 1:29 pm

    You’re a really good knitter, designer, and mom. I love the sweater!

  9. SUELLYN RODY permalink
    March 12, 2021 5:52 am

    Bodhi loves it and it was designed just for her. That makes it AWESOME!!!!

  10. Jess permalink
    March 11, 2021 1:11 pm

    Definitely awesome!

  11. March 11, 2021 8:14 am

    I think it’s awesome!

  12. Barbara permalink
    March 11, 2021 7:39 am

    Thank you for this wonderful story! Congratulations for Bodhi with her birthday and with having the best mom!

  13. Julie Gemond permalink
    March 11, 2021 7:00 am

    I cannot say that there is one “ugly” thing about this sweater!! I absolutely love it! Im absolutely going to the library to find a copy of this book , as Im a nature lover myself. Bodhi is a beautiful little girl, (love her hair!), and the sweater just makes her sparkle!! Well done mom!!! Im in awe!

  14. Elsje permalink
    March 11, 2021 6:36 am

    A really happy b’day girl!! Amazing sweater, also all the dots on the front. For me it is awesome !
    I understand how you feel seeing her so happy with sweater + book.

  15. Emily permalink
    March 11, 2021 6:33 am

    Awesome. Utterly amazing. Glorious. And an inspiration.

  16. March 11, 2021 6:02 am

    Beautiful, and those cuffs! *swoon*

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