Thursday, January 26, 2012

A first sweater

I have been knitting for a number of years now. I first learned in college during a January term but never really pursued it.  After my children were born I gave it another try. A local church was offering classes and it seemed a great way to get out of the house and meet some other moms.  I had always been sort of crafty and loved to work with my hands, so I thought it might be fun.  I liked it, but it wasn't an immediate addiction.  I made a little hat and a few knitted toys for my by-then toddling boy, but I was so busy with the demands of being a new mother that I didn't knit often.  There was always laundry and dishes and playgroups. And then a part-time job working for a local newspaper. And then came another baby. And a new, bigger house. And I had even less time. 

When my eldest started preschool I joined the handwork group at his school. Moms from the school gathered once a week in the dining room of a veteran mom and created little items to sell at the Spring Fair as a fundraiser.  At first this was a way to meet other moms and get out of the house for a while. I still hadn't made a lot of "mom" friends in our new neighborhood and this was an outing where I could take the baby along. We sewed little wool mice and embroidered fairy-flower dolls. And there was knitting. I picked up my needles again and started knitting. And it took. I realized how much I like knitting. I like the rhythm of  the needles. I like the feel of the wool. I like the magic of taking two sticks and a bit of string and making something. I like the meditative quality of the simple movements.  I kept knitting. I made hats and simple toys. I made felted purses and bags. I joined group knit-alongs for community members in need of prayer blankets and shawls.  I got adventurous and learned cables in order to make a scarf for my husband. I learned to turn the heel of a sock.  Last spring I tackled a fairly complicated lace project.  I'm not an expert, but I've gotten pretty good at this knitting thing.

But I've never made a sweater.  I find myself terrified of knitting a sweater.  In the conversation in my head, I told myself, "Sure, I could knit a sweater if I want to, I just don't want to right now- too busy with other projects"  But when I'm honest with myself, I realize I'm terrified of making a sweater. Silly, isn't it?  But there it is. And I asked myself "why?" Maybe because it's such a commitment.  It's not a few balls of yarn- it's at least 10-15 balls of yarn. It's not a weekend here or there. It's a lot of time.  But I've made afghans that have more yarn. I made a lace shawl that took most of the summer.  I realized it's my fear that it won't fit my body.  Not that it would be awful.  I have no fear of making a sweater so small  that only Dobby the house elf could wear it or so big it would fit Hagrid.  My fear is that it will only sort-of fit. That it will go over my head and onto my body; it won't drag on the floor, but that it would be lumpy and bumpy in all the wrong places. My body is lumpy and curvy enough without needing a lumpy and bumpy sweater to help it, thank you very much.  A grossly too wrongly-sized sweater would immediately be frogged (knitters term for ripping it out and using the yarn for something else- rip it, rip it= ribbit, ribbit- get it?) No, my fear is that I will make it and never wear it; occasionally taking it out of my closet and trying it on and wondering if there is something wrong with the sweater or something wrong with my body.  A sweater that sits on my closet shelf and whispers to me all my insecurities.  Maybe losing a few pounds might make the sweater look better. Maybe if I were taller, or had better genes the sweater would be gorgeous. It would look great on someone who is prettier, taller, younger... There are clothes in my closet just like this. They are beautiful and well made clothes and they almost fit.  I just know that one day they might fit. That the shoulders will miraculously stop slipping.  That the buttons across my chest will magically stop gaping open.  I imagine every woman has these clothes. (and I envy those women who are so secure that they throw them in the trash and silence the voices.)  I can't help but cringe at the idea that I will have put many, many hours of my hard work and love into a sweater that will then mock me and my bumps.

I've decided it's time to get over this fear. I've decided it's time to make a sweater. Time to look the fear in the eye and say "yep, you might not fit, but I'll never know unless I try."  Nothing too fitted- I'm not a masochist.  A simple, top-down V-neck cardigan- a great beginner sweater. I should be able to handle this.  And if it doesn't fit me, I will pass it along. I will not allow it to go into my closet if it doesn't look great on me.  I deserve to wear clothes that are both beautiful and well fitted. If it doesn't fit me, in the most flattering of ways, I will trust that all along I was knitting it for someone else.  And if it doesn't fit anyone I know, I will frog the thing and enjoy the yarn for a whole new project.

Diane Soucy's Top Down V-Neck Cardigan n
The yarn is a fun mix of sea-kelp and cotton.  The colors even remind me of seaweed.  Fibernatura SeaSong
The sweater has begun!  Don't worry, the red is just stitch markers.
 Keep reading for updates. I promise to post them. (Making this promise publicly will keep me honest.)
The Chip Bag in Laines du Nord
And just to keep a little sanity, to hedge my bets a bit, I've also started a little cable purse.  No worries about that fitting!

And maybe, just maybe, I'll start trashing those other clothes in my closet. 

No comments:

Post a Comment