Monday, 10 January 2011
There is a saying amongst knitters that you must never knit a jumper for your boyfriend, as it usually portents the kiss of death for a relationship. So it was with immense trepidation that I allowed myself to start this project. I am hoping the tale below will act as a warning to any other ladies confident enough of their marriages to consider putting this old wives tale to the test?
The saga of my husband's Christmas jumper isn't yet over. Early in 2010, despite my reservations, my husband finally persuaded me to knit him a jumper for his birthday (which was in May 2010).
Back in February, the first step of wool choice should have been straightforward. No. After I had posted back two beautiful sets of wool bought online, I vowed that I would only buy the wool when he was physically there to give approval.
As late as August we went together in person to the New Lanark Mill in Scotland to buy the wool, mainly as I had heard it was good value, and we had already rejected some truly perfect yarns. I insisted on chunky wool as it would be quick to knit up, a factor that was most important when you consider how likely the jumper was to be wrong.
The second problem was finding a pattern. I researched literally thousands of patterns, refusing to knit something so basic (like a plain stocking stitch) that it could be more quickly and cheaply bought than knitted. Many weeks later, when I had seriously lost the will to live, I found one pattern that he was satisfied with. Not thrilled with, but after so many I thought I could deal with satisfied.
The next problem was that, although the wool had been approved in store, the cream colour started to look different once knitted up. Knitting stalled for a couple of months after the comment "It looks like a babyish colour". There was no way I wanted to carry on with this huge, unsatisfying knit only to have the colour declared unmanly.
From November through to December, night after night I toiled over knitting the huge pieces. Then on the 22nd December I began to painstakingly sew the pieces together with mattress stitch in time for Christmas, finishing late on Christmas Eve. Never mind wrapping the kids presents, which were done at 2am that night!
Unfortunately the jumper did not live up to its promise. Although initially touched by my efforts, very quickly it was clear that the front piece was not up to scratch. By the end of Christmas day, we were already talking about how I would unpick the front and reknit it. After thinking and considering possibilities, I took out part of my Saturday this weekend to take it to my local yarn store to ask their view.
After much eye rolling with the proprietor, we came up with a plan that I could detach the seams up to the offending part, then unpick the stitches and re-knit the area. After spending countless precious knitting hours revisiting this previously completed project, unpicking and unknitting, rolling the wool back into a ball, I reached the turning point. Finally I was ready to re-knit the front. When my eyes were starting to hurt with tiredness I finally gave up and went to bed, knowing that all that was left to do was reknit the front and re-attach it.
But alas no. The next day I was snappily informed that I had not reknitted it the way he wanted, and that it had all been a waste of time.
And at this stage, I decided to put the unfinished jumper in a bag to be hidden for the rest of time, lest it genuinely live up to the CURSE of the boyfriend jumper. I leave it with my marriage and my sense of humour still intact.