Cashmere for kids, also known as "I did something unthinkable and came up with something awesome".
It's a bit redundant to say this winter has been rather cold. My girls need good, warm sweaters to wear, which has sent me back up on my soapbox about the quality and materials in children's clothing. Kids' sweaters are all about synthetic fibers and weird chemical treatments. Even expensive brands are typically cotton at best. Where is the warmth? Don't kids deserve comfort (and no extra chemicals)? Grrr.
Calm down, step off the soapbox and get creative.
I knit my girls two beautiful sweaters with thick, cozy wool of their choice. They were thrilled to received them…but do not wear them. Sigh. What to do?
There is a solution, and it lies at the thrift store.
I scoured the ladies' department for large or extra-large cashmere sweaters*. I looked for a basic sweater, no cables, no embellishments. V-necks won't do; for this, you want round-neck or a turtle-neck styles. It took some digging, but I found a few (outdated and boring) sweaters in suitable colours. They had tiny holes, which is no problem, because you are going to do the unthinkable: you are going to wash them in the washing machine in hot water with soap and then run them through the dryer! Yes, you are going to felt these beauties! Shock?! Horror?! Genius?!
When I pulled these two sweaters from the dryer, these large ladies' sweaters fit my girls like a glove. The cashmere content ensured that the sweaters felt absolutely heavenly. The felting ensured serious warmth, with the big benefits that the little holes don't matter and any kid wear-and-tear can be tackled with another run through the washing machine. My girls love them and wear them all the time! Yes, my children are dressed in cashmere…and their sweaters cost me $8 each.
Note: I'm pretty sure the blue sweater was a cashmere blend. It didn't have a label, so I'm not sure. It is very soft, but it felted much tighter than the pink one (which was labeled 100% cashmere), pills like crazy and seems to shrink up again every time we wash it. My girl doesn't mind at all, but for this,
100% cashmere is best.
*if your kids are under the age of 5, medium size will probably work