(Just so you know, a feature of Barak's speech these days is that when words begin with "b" he usually turns the "b" into an "m." So basement becomes masement, baking soda becomes making soda, buttons becomes muttons. Etc.)
I think I may fairly say that I am a reasonably accomplished knitter. I learned to knit when I was six, and I got into knitting in a serious way at the age of 20 or so. I spin my own yarn, I design my own garments, and I have done everything from gloves on 0s to a cabled Lopi coat on 10s.
However, these days, my knitting is very stop-and-start, which does not lend itself to serious Thinking Knitting. Since Barak was born, I've made a lot of socks, mittens, hats, and gloves--small and portable bus knitting. I've made plenty of sweaters, but they involve an awful lot of circular-knit stocking stitch. Not a lot of color patterns, unless it's in a yoke. (I did one allover color pattern and it took me MONTHS, arriving to its recipient at least three months behind schedule. Sorry, Sarah.) One lace shawl. A few spiral-yoke pullovers, a couple of raglans. The only cables I've done, I think, have been on the baby hat I made for Iyyar out of one skein of orange Koigu--and that took me months to finish, because I never had the time for any knitting I had to look at.
This doesn't mean that I can't knit the kind of thing that's impressive to non-knitters, just that I don't do it much these days. However, I am fortunate to have knitting friends, some of whom have stepped right into the breach and supplied my kids with some truly stunning knitwear. Tanta Cecilia, particularly, has made my kids unbelievable cabled hoodie cardigans which they wear more or less all the time (scroll down for a picture of Iyyar's if you missed it).
Of course, what happens when I take my kids out in matching cabled hoodies, when everyone knows that I knit? There are oohs. There are ahhs. And then, "I bet you made those, didn't you." At which point I have to confess, well, no, I didn't. But, I try not to add, I could, if I had the time. I try not to add this because although it may be true, it sounds awfully... lame.
And usually, when I say that no, my friend made the sweaters, the response is along the lines of "Wow, that must be some friend" (to which of course I agree,) and then either "Boy, she's a REALLY good knitter," or something along the lines of "Could you knit something like that?"
Which brings me to the topic of muttons. Barak has gotten pretty good at doing his own buttons. Shirt buttons are usually too small and too hard for him, but the big cardigan buttons on his hoodie he can handle. Now, even when I had time to knit I rarely made cardigans (meaning, of the I've-totally-lost-count-of-how-many sweaters I've made I may have knit twenty cardigans). I don't usually wear them, and I like to knit things in the round, which meant that I do more pullovers. I have never made Barak a cardigan. So, one evening this week, I was running a bath for the kids. I had Iyyar on my lap and was getting him undressed as Barak worked on getting his own sweater off. I complimented him on his skillful button-opening.
"Barak, who made that sweater for you?"
"No, I didn't make that one. Tanta Cecilia made that one."
"Tanta Cecilia madea sweater?"
"Yeah, Tanta Cecilia made that for you. Wasn't that nice?"
"Yeah. I like the sweater. It has muttons. Did Tanta Cecilia makea muttons?"
"Well, she didn't make the muttons--I mean, the buttons. I think she bought the buttons in a store. She made the button holes, though, and she put the buttons on there."
Pause while Barak considers this. "You don't make sweaters wif muttons."
"No, I don't usually. I like to make sweaters with no buttons."
"You don't know how to make muttons?"