Sunday, December 14, 2008

Andy's Sweater: The Full Story

Words are failing me today. How do I express the time, emotion, and work that I have put into this sweater? I've dropped hints and clues in some of my previous posts, but perhaps it's time to tell the whole story.

From almost the moment that Andy discovered I could knit, he's been harassing me for a sweater. The first time he asked as a friend, and as a friend I answered a resounding 'No'. However, I did knit him a scarf, which eventually prompted him to ask me out on a date. We then dated for several years, and, as much as I explained the boyfriend-sweater curse to him, I still had several more requests for a sweater. Finally, in the fall of last year, we got married. As a wedding gift, I gave him a box of yarn with the promise of finally making him a sweater.

After returning from our Italian honeymoon, I set to work planning the sweater. I was going to knit Elizabeth Zimmerman's Classic Brooks Sweater and I was going to knit it in under a month as part of NaKniSweMo. In this I was somewhat successful; I finished the sweater while on Thanksgiving vacation with Andy's family, but as soon as he tried on the sweater, I knew it was all wrong. The body was too tight, the arms too large, and the saddle shoulder style did not flatter him at all. In my heart, I knew that the only way to fix it (and for me to be happy) was to rip it all out and start again with a different pattern and better measurements.

So the sweater sat abandoned for several months until I was emotionally stable enough to rip the entire thing out and start anew. This time, I was going to knit the top-down Classic Raglan Pullover by Barbara Walker. The top-down method makes it much easier for on-the-fly adjustments to ensure proper fit--meaning I only had to rip out half of a sleeve when I discovered that the arms were too large, instead of frogging two whole sleeves. This sweater took a little longer and a little more yarn to complete than the previous, and aside from the slightly darker color of the right-front forearm (the extra yarn was a different dyelot), I was pretty happy with it. I blocked it just in time to give to Andy as a first anniversary present. But the sweater had other plans.

Despite a second blocking attempt, the sweater was obviously too long. When Andy stated, "It's fine. It will be a great around-the-house sweater," I knew that I would not be happy until it fit properly and he didn't feel embarrassed to wear it out in public. At this point, I was really glad that I chose a top-down design, as it is so easy to modify the length. I simply ripped out 5 inches from the hem and reknit 2. And with the extra yarn, I reknit the right sleeve to match the rest of the sweater. Then I blocked the sweater a third time and crossed my fingers.

So, finally, over a year after starting this sweater and having knit countless more stitches than are actually represented in the final product, I am proud to present Andy's sweater:

Disclaimer: Knitting a sweater for your SO can be hazardous to your health. Please do not undertake the above without consulting with your SO about the strength of your relationship. Luckily, I love this man and he appreciates my determination to knit a sweater that both fits and flatters him.


Mary Beth said...


Looks awesome!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that looks great, Kristin!

Paula said...

Hi. Which increase did you use on the raglan seams? It's very attractive. The whole sweater is great.

I also love the top-down raglan as opposed to bottom up. It's so much easier than trying to connect the body and arms together and knit up, which seems to make my wrists sore. The top down construction is effortless.