Monday, September 20, 2010

CRINGE! Boyfriend sweater redux

Ah, the boyfriend sweater, the bane of female knitters everywhere. There's even a Wikipedia entry:
Knitters use the term Sweater Curse or the Curse of the Love Sweater to describe a situation in which a knitter gives a hand-knit sweater to a significant other, who quickly breaks up with the knitter.
Well, Tom and I fortunately beat the curse the first time I made him a sweater. I started this CRINGE-worthy project three years ago, about a month after we started dating. I gave him my veritable labor of love on Christmas day. He was completely aghast that a woman he had so recently met would give him such a big, meaning-laden gift.


Fortunately, it didn't freak him out enough to break up with me, but he never wore it either. Why?
  1. I made the pullover out of a variegated yarn that produced uneven stripes all over his body. I just CRINGE when I think about it now. I hate variegated yarn and this sweater is why.
  2. I used Patons SWS, a quasi-cheesy wool/soy blend that I got from Michaels. This cheap yarn makes me CRINGE as well.
  3. The V neck is too deep for a guy. I used Sweater Wizard to make the pattern and didn't know then to check every detail and measurement. Big lesson learned, one that makes me CRINGE.
The only thing about the sweater that doesn't make me CRINGE is that it truly fits him perfectly. I have a friend who is built just like Tom - very tall and thin with long-ass arms - and I used him as my fit model. I am still proud that I managed to make a sweater for Tom that was both long and lean enough.

I nagged the hell out of Tom for two years to wear that sweater but he refused, finally telling me that it was WAY too hot for him and that he wants to pick out any thing of any significance. He trusts no one. If he doesn't have his fingerprints on it, he won't like it.

After the sweater debacle, we collaborated on a small trial project. I made him a fair isle hat from Hats On! using Knit Picks Merino - but only after he had officially approved the pattern and yarn. He loves loves this hat and wears it all the time during the cooler months - he even sleeps in it. Of course, when you're bald, hats are an absolute necessity for dealing with the cold.



Given this success, I decided a year ago that it was time to make another sweater for Tom, one that is plainer, lighter, and much more likely to be worn. I picked some patterns and got his approval to make Norah Gaughan's John's Sweater. Thank God Norah's significant other is a burly dude because Tom never would have agreed to it otherwise.


The rub: Tom doesn't want a bulky sweater. Norah and her man live in New Hampshire where Berroco Peruvia is just the ticket for a warm pullover. Tom, on the other hand, lives in Southern Maryland where the winters are fairly temperate. I picked a wool/cotton blend, Classic Elite Solstice, and made a beautiful swatch. He loved it. But when Tom saw a lightweight Berroco Vintage swatch I'd made for a different project, he insisted that the Solstice would be too heavy.


So I ordered a skein of Classic Elite Chesapeake, a DK cotton/wool blend, and swatched again. He loves it, grace of God. The new swatch actually meets the original pattern gauge so I won't have to do a ton of alterations. I'm going to add another cable repeat to lengthen the sleeves and torso and that should be that.
BTW, the green Chesapeake does amazing things to his eyes. He's half Danish and looks the part with his blonde hair, pale complexion, and light blue eyes. But when I put this green swatch up to his face, his eyes instantly and eerily change from blue to green. So weird! Or at least so weird for a woman with dark brown eyes that never change no matter what I do. Apparently eyes don't really change color; they just reflect the ambient light nearby. But I still wish I could change my eye color just by simply changing my shirt.

Anyway, I'll be starting this new venture as soon as I'm done with the Melrose Peacoat. I've finished about a third of the back and the two sleeves, so I'm moving right along. I wish I could take some time off to make some mittens or socks, but I'd better keep moving. With all the complicated cables, this sweater is going to take me forever. During swatching, the hardest part was getting the foundation rows right. After that, I made better progress.

My plan: finish Tom's pullover by the holidays. But no matter how badly this project turns out, it will still never be a CRINGE-worthy Christmas sweater. That's another matter entirely. ;-)

1 comment:

  1. You don't need to purchase blessing cards to exhausting stores, for example, the nearby toy store or retail chain. boyfriend christmas gifts

    ReplyDelete