October 29, 2012

I've been working on this baby for seven months already.

Seven months might be a bit of an exaggeration. It might have been six, or maybe even eight? I'll explain.

Several months ago, my mom asked me if I wouldn't mind knitting her a sweater. It was a pattern that she had made when she was pregnant with me (so in the eighties), only her version was bright blue and now looks kind of like a bright blue afro. It's made from cheap acrylic yarn and is now in its mid-twenties.

I was a little hesitant at first because the sweater is, as I've already mentioned, very eighties. The pattern gives you both a snowflake version (with matching knitted floor length skirt) and a contrast band version. The contrast band version is shown on the back cover with a magenta body and sleeves complimented nicely by a black collar, waist band, and cuffs. There are also feathered mullets. I kid you not.

It was my first sweater, though, so I figured I'd give it a go. Mom spent about $40 on yarn (which was cheap, all things considered) and I put in the same amount of time lots of women do gestating babies. Seriously, it was a process. I wasn't excited about the outcome because I knew what it would be. It'd be a brown version of the giant blue afro sweater sitting on my living room couch giving me the stink eye. Because that's what happens when you're rocking the eighties' yarn with the eighties' pattern.

It was a long process for several reasons. First of all, I wasn't overly excited about the amount of time I'd be spending with that cheap acrylic yarn. I'm not a big acrylic fan; I like to keep things at least a little natural. It didn't matter, though, because I'd told Mom going into it that the results would eventually be like here other sweater, and if she wanted a nice sweater then maybe we should have used a different pattern. But she was ready for it, and I was down with having my first sweater project funded by someone else.

So I knit. And knit and knit and knit. It wasn't a particularly exciting sweater, just lots of knitting.

The second reason it took me so long to finish had to do with babies. While I was gestating my sweater baby, a couple of my friends were doing the same with their human babies. That's when I decided to do something a little more exciting than work on the sweater that it was quickly getting too warm for, and make baby blankets. Remember my battle with Calvin's blanket? I'll come back to that pattern someday and make it my own. And by that I meant do it perfectly and then shove it in its own face. Bam! Because that's totally logical.

I also made another blanket this summer. This time I just adapted a cowl pattern I really liked and made it bigger and flatter. And awesomer. Here's a picture:

Try to ignore Ethan and focus on the awesome blanket in the background.

Here's another picture so you can really grasp the hugeness of my fantastic blanket making skills:

Dang, look at that gorgeous blanket!
Again, try not to look at Ethan. He isn't what's important here.

I didn't take any of those pictures, for the record. I just "borrowed" them off Facebook. Apparently I didn't take any pictures of my blanket, and if I did they're sitting on my computer at home somewhere, completely useless, instead of being on my phone like they should be.

Between making blankets for the people that were making babies, and actually knitting less because I was spending less time in front of the television, that eighties' sweater took forever. I always told Mom what I was putting her on hold for so that she wouldn't wonder if I still loved her. I did, I just figured the cold weather wasn't coming for a while and the babies were. 

Well, I wanted to have the sweater done by the end of September. Then I guess life happened and it was not done. But it was close. I actually finished all the pieces a week or two ago and was just putting on the dreaded seaming of everything together. I hate sewing. I hate seaming. That's probably why I like toques so much.

I also ran out of yarn. I had about half the collar left when it happened. I was a little nervous that we might have bought a discontinued colour, and when I came back from Michaels my worst fears were realized. 

There was, in fact, a very slight difference in the shades of the browns. I did what every professional knitter does in this situation and just kept going. The collar folds, it's not a big deal, and in the light of our living room you couldn't even tell.

You can't even tell, right? This picture actually does a really good job of making it look 100x worse than it actually is. It also makes everything look green for some reason.

Since I'm a trooper, and was not about to go back and spend any more time than needed on Eighties Sweater (I am now personifying it),  I did the next logical thing: I persevered. Who says I don't have character?

I laid everything out in the middle of our living room floor (in case you're wondering, that really is all the space our living room floor has to offer between the furniture) and psyched myself up for the incredibly fun task of sewing that bad boy together. Because Eighties Sweater is a bad boy, even if it is dated. It's an eighties bad boy that rocks a mullet and neon high tops. (In other words, it thinks it's cool but it really isn't.)

 Thursday night the process began with not one but two instructional phone calls to a friend. Until you're sitting there with a darning needle in hand you don't really realize how intimidating sewing a sweater together can be. What if you you put the arms on crooked or too low or things end up wonky? There's a science to it, and I needed guidance.

Friday night I spent more time on the phone with TELUS trying to get our PVR to behave than I wanted to (read: TWO HOURS) so I didn't get as relaxing a night as I'd have liked in front of the TV to watch Grimm and finish Eighties Sweater. Saturday was also a write off because I had too much going on.

Sunday morning I had to take the dog out at seven so I decided not to go back to bed and work on that bad boy. It was time to get it done. After church I came home and finished Eighties Sweater. I'd woken up tired and taught the second most draining Sunday School class of my life, and by the time the final end was sewn in I was exhausted. I lay down in the middle of the living room floor, which at that point was covered in yarn scraps, and fell asleep as Karl watched NASCAR. I just lay back and slept in the pile of my success. It was actually a very poetic moment, even though I probably looked like a hobo.

After a half hour or so I stripped off my cardigan and donned Eighties Sweater. Mission accomplished. It didn't actually fit me that well, and the sleeves were a little tight, but it was real. I was sweater victorious. And that sucker was nice and warm.

 I demanded that Karl take photos of me wearing it so that I could document this moment. I'm way past my first steps and first day of school, but I can celebrate my first sweater. And how fitting that it should be reminiscent of the decade I was born in and have no recollection of.

Woo! Eighties Sweater!

Then I made Mom try it on and model it for me. It actually fits her better than it does me, since I have the torso of a snake (in that it's really long, not because it's particularly bendy or thin) and she was really happy. I was a little horrified that I'd created such an eighties monster (the sweater, not my mom). At least the eighties are in right now.

This reminds me of a toilet paper commercial. "Hurray! Two-ply!"

I informed Karl that if I were to sell it, my sweater would retail for $300. He told me no one would ever pay that much, to which I have to agree, but I kind of doubt anyone aside from my mom would even pay the $40 it cost for the materials. And that's without factoring in labour or the average consumer's lack of patience needed to wait over half a year for a sweater. I'd also be selling my labour short if I only charged that much, but since it's my first sweater I'd be willing to take the cut.

Now toques, those I could turn a profit off of.


  1. Holy crap you knit a sweater. I can't even figure out how to do 2 rows or whatever they're called.

  2. WOW! You are awesome! I love it.


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