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.
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.