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.


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. :)