This post contains scenes of cutting, unraveling and panic. Reader discretion is advised.
This is a tale of a long fatal love chase for a sweater (my apologies to Louisa May Alcott). Of project lust gone awry. Of yarn that is subjected to love, rejection, dungeons, and scissors. A sweater that yearns to be completed but which languishes as other sweaters catch the knitter's eye.
Can this sweater be saved?
It all started almost 3 years ago. The Winter 2004 issue of Interweave Knits arrives at the And She Knits Too household. The cover photo instantly catches our heroine's eye. She must have this sweater! Undaunted by the complicated colourwork she scans the pattern. She cleverly locates a substitution for the beautiful but hand-numbering alpaca blend yarn used by the designer. She even wisely chooses an inexpensive Paton's Classic Wool to be economical lest her attempt at colourwork fails.
Even the pattern written flat does not phase her. This is an opportunity. She converts the pattern to the round so she can practice her two-handed fair isle. She consults Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting and incorporates proper steeks.
She knits. And knits. Years pass. The body-tube is complete.
Our heroine has learned much in the intervening years. She learns that only shetland wool is sticky enough to be cut without first stabilizing the stitches. She learns that her sewing machine is a possessed demon when near yarn and should stay in the basement where it belongs. She has read blogs and books and has a plan. She crochets the steeks to stabilize them using one of the contrasting colours. This pleases her.
Then. She cuts.
Having cut her knitting before, she does not fear the scissors. She is calm and confident. She puts the body away and starts the sleeve.
Months pass. The sweater is abandoned for other, newer, less challenging projects. But as Autumn approaches and space in her WIP basket lessens and new projects beckon, this old faithful project reasserts itself in our heroine's mind. She imagines herself in the warm sweater. She feels pleased at the sense of completion that comes from finishing it. She realizes she still likes this design very much and wants to see it through.
She takes the sweater on vacation, to the cottage, away from her stash so they can be alone together. Away from temptation. She plans to put the first sleeve to the body and unite them.
Then it all begins to unravel. Literally.
The crochet stitches are not holding. A sickening sense of dread overcomes her. She feels nauseaous. The room spins. The brown and green pattern starts to twist before her eyes. She lets out a little shriek of panic.
Those little brown tufts spell unspeakable horror to this knitter. Her sweater is unravelling.
Luckily she's a quick thinker and remembers that all is not lost. She carefully unpicks the crocheted edge and very carefully examines her work. Thankfully her mother-in-law is an expert sewer and has a machine that is kind and gentle to wool. She used this machine to sew down her first steek and takes it out to salvage her poor, sickly sweater.
The machine-stitches do their thing and unspeakable knitting disaster is averted.
The body is whole. No one will look at the inside of this sweater and witness the barbary that she perpetrated. Our heroine is weary, but happy. Knitting continues.
Will this love affair last for another sleeve? Will the stitches hold?