Monday, January 10, 2011

The Blue Sweater

When I first met Kevin about 12 or 13 years ago, we went to a knitting store near his parents' house.  There was a lot of yarn there.  I told him to pick out yarn that I would use to make him a sweater. He picked out his favorite color of blue, and I set to work.

I was going to make the best sweater known to the planet. It was going to have cables and embellishments, and he would wear it proudly.  I started designing and swatching to make it perfect. 

And then I started my dissertation. The sweater got put on hold.

I graduated.  I picked up the sweater and started working on it. Then Kim and I started our shop. I kept trying to make the sweater, but frankly I didn't have time for the most beautiful and elaborate sweater ever made. I didn't know what to do about this because I wanted the sweater to be glorious! The sweater got put on hold.

Finally, about 2 or 3 years ago (who can keep track of these things?), I got tired of looking at the swatches.  I knew that if I didn't start the sweater, and just make it plain, it would never happen. Besides, I figured something out while I was working at the store: Men do not like fancy, elaborate sweaters anyway. They want boring sweaters. They are guys.
And so I began the sweater in earnest. 

I made it plain stockinette.  The fabric seemed to look best on size 4 needles. So it took a while. The sweater went with me to every show I attended, every movie, and lots of knitting and quilting classes. Many of you got interested in the sweater.

After a few years of dragging around the sweater, I decided that it needed to be finished in 2010. Sometimes it's good to have a goal. Some of you, at my request, even nagged me to finish it (here's lookin' at you, Nancy). I worked to get it done for Kevin's birthday this past December. It was not an easy task.  Two days before the birthday, I was doing the final embroidery on the hem of the sweater.  Elizabeth Zimmermann suggested that the knitter should put her initials and the finished date in the hem of sweaters.  I liked this idea, and kept saying that "2010" was a great year to embroider.

I had looked forward to making that 2010 for years now, but if I wanted to have it done in time for Kevin's birthday, I had no more time; the sweater needed a few days to dry after blocking.

I was sitting there, dejected, when Kim said to me, "Why don't you put ears on it?" 

"What do you mean, ears?" I said.

"You know," she said, "above the initials, like Mickey Mouse ears." 

Kim had unwittingly reminded me about something that I had been planning to do, but had forgotten:  Kevin and I like Disney, and I had wanted a Hidden Mickey in Kevin's sweater.  There was still time in the day to do that rather than 2010. So I got busy, and made a little Hidden Mickey after my initials:





That seemed to suffice. I blocked the sweater, and, with the help of a fan that Kim brought into the shop, it was dry by Kevin's birthday.

To celebrate his birthday, we went to Rey Azteca that night with friends.  I had the wrapped sweater hidden in my bag.  After Kevin opened all his other gifts, like his sheets of duct tape....


and his Mad Scientist book...


I got out the sweater package.  He said he didn't know what it was till he held the package and it smooshed.  Then he wildly ripped into it:



At least that's how I like to tell the story.  We may have had low-light conditions in the restaurant that created camera blur.

Rey Azteca was a little too messy and crowded for trying on sweaters, so that part waited.  But he's been wearing it on cold days.

 
 
I was relieved that it fit and looked good. 

Now I do admit that the neckline is a bit wide, but Kevin won't let me fix it.  He claims that it makes getting the sweater over his head easier.  I'm not sure if this is entirely true. I suspect that after over 10 years of watching me work on it, he can't bear to let me continue.








2 comments:

La Mañosa said...

Yay, it looks great on him, Cynthia!

Yarnhog said...

I suddenly feel much less bad about the black-stockinette-sportweight-crewneck that will never get made. 10 years has got to be a WIP record! Congrats on getting it finished. :)