by Lee Louise
I joyously completed a project recently, one that I began 17 years ago. Ever since 2001, the sweater has looked like this:
Yes, you read that right, it is not a typo. 17 years ago (that’s seventeen!!) I knit a tiny baby’s sweater, and left it languishing, hidden among a myriad of UFOs that only increased over the years, until I found it again. I had been seeking a gift for my new grand #15, who is due in the early fall, and this was P.e.r.f.e.c.t. At least, it would be perfect if it were finished. In point of fact, it took me only a couple of weeks to finish — in actual time, maybe four hours.
First I had to finish those pesky yarn ends (illustrating a common failing of mine — the knitting complete, I do not pick up the needle to tuck away the yarn ends for 17 years):
Buy some buttons (this took hardly any time at all, although I suppose I should confess that I had bought another set of buttons 17 years ago; I found the sweater, but not the paper of plain red buttons; I like these better, so not a big loss):
Give it a soak and a bit of a stretch:
Sew those buttons on (this took most of the week. To get to, you understand.)
And it is finished. In this glamour shot, the little red sweater is lounging on the piano:
You may be wondering… Many other people are wondering, not the least of them being my husband… Why did I knit this sweater, 17 years ago, without any intended recipient? (My youngest was 8 at the time, and the oldest grandchild was neither born nor even thought of. I remember getting a lot of flack over knitting this little gem.)
I’ll tell you. The sweater is a Debbie New design. Back in the day, Ms. New was an innovative genius that took the world of knitting by storm and changed the way we knitters look at a potential knitted object. Sweaters in stockinette stitch with ribbing are no longer the norm. Socks can be knit side to side around the foot in garter stitch. She even designed a teacup and saucer, and a boat that actually floated! You can see some of her designs in her book, Unexpected Knitting, including the pattern for this little red sweater.
But back to my explanation of why I knit this sweater. The secret motivation is the unusual construction detail. It is made of two hexagons, folded, then grafted together up the center back. I am a math major, with a specialty in geometry. Need I say more?
But… Why have I kept it without finishing it for one of 14 other grandchildren? No idea. No idea at all.