I am so, so guilty of the cardinal sin committed most frequently against makers, which was asking another maker to make me something. At least it feels a bit like a sin at this point in my life, when approximately everyone I’ve ever met has asked me to sew them something. I want to get Selfish Sewist tattooed on my forehead just to stop that awkward conversation in its tracks (I mean, I might make you something if its Christmas or you’re a cute baby or the love of my life, but that’s about it).
So, it was especially rich that I had the gall to ask my beloved Aunt Carol if she, you know, felt like knitting me something? Granted, this is one of my favourite relatives, the only person in the family I can talk books, cats and yarn with, and I asked at a time when my faith in my own knitting capabilities was very, very low. But lets be real; if asking someone to make you a pair of jeans or a swimsuit is a big deal, asking for a handknit sweater is almost as bold as extending a weekend long stay with a friend into a year of couch squatting. But, there’s a reason I love Aunt Carol as much as I do. She, unlike me, is not a selfish jerk and is happy to make things for other people. She told me to pick a pattern, and away I fell into the purled rabbit hole that is the Brooklyn Tweed website. I mean, if I was gonna go big, I might as well go all the way to the big top.
Of course, because I wasn’t knitting the damn thing myself I gravitated toward those 4/5 and 5/5 cabled projects that give me heartburn just looking at them, and sent Auntie Carol a list of possible options, asking her to choose. She told me to pick the one I really wanted and that she’d figure it out.
So of course I chose Rowe. Because I am a monster.
This is the sweater of my dreams. Intricately cabled with a slouchy, oversized fit, it provides cozy long distance auntie hugs 24/7, and covers my butt, making it the ultimate leggings companion. It also caused my aunt more than a little grief. HAVE YOU SEEN THOSE CABLES? This sweater is a beast.
I’ll spare you the back and forth all year long, but needless to say this was a challenging project for Aunt Carol (I don’t want to know how many times she had to rip things way, WAY back, or when she reknit the right front because she blocked it with hair shampoo and the wool had a complete temper tantrum). When it finally arrived this March I don’t know if I’ve ever felt the actual, physical weight of love more in my life. I know how much time, energy and handiwork went into making this sweater, and I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that (for once), I was at a loss for words.
Once I got over how beautiful it was and how honoured I was to receive it, I put it on and basically haven’t taken it off since. The sleeves are a little long and need to be rolled, but otherwise its the next thing after Harry I’d grab in a house fire. If it wasn’t the sort of magical garment that will hopefully last long enough to be handed down, I’d probably want to be buried in it. I’m putting that on the record, just in case.
It was knit with Cascade 220 in…. wait for it… Heathers (the colour is #9401 but seems to be out of stock everywhere I looked). It’s the dreamiest sweatshirt grey ever and goes with everything. Here’s what Aunt Carol had to say about its construction:
The whole time I was making the sweater I swore I was going to write a blog post with tips to help knitters with moderate knitting skills read and execute more advanced patterns. I searched the Internet for instructions but couldn’t find any help so it was a a big learning curve for me of trial and error. The most important thing is to read the pattern thoroughly!! Follow it precisely. Use a counter AND check off the rows on the graph. If you are stuck contact the pattern company – they usually get back to you in a few hours. Check your pattern every few rows to make sure you didn’t make a mistake and have to rip back a bunch of rows. At any rate I greatly enjoyed the process and the challenge and the satisfaction of completing a sweater for a dear niece!!
Oh man. I’m the luckiest woman alive. Of course, I’m wearing it here with Morgan Jeans. Next month I’ll be wearing it with my swimsuit. You can hold me to that.
And what about you? What’s the best thing anyone has made for you? What’s the thing you’re the proudest to have made for someone else?