"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either." ~ Elizabeth Zimmerman


My Knitting History Part III

My First Sweater

When I was a senior in high school (1976) my mother brought home a magazine with knitting patterns in it. I did not know there was such a thing until then. I looked for the magazine, cos I know it's around here somewhere and I was going to scan the cover, but I can't find it. It's currently buried in a pile of boxed leftovers brought home from the closing of my store. I think it was a special knitting edition by Ladies Home Journal, or Womans Day. One of those two. The magazine fascinated me. Oh what avenues of knitting opened up to me. What wonderful things could be made with but two sticks and some yarn. The patterns were so awesome!

I found a particular sweater in that magazine that I just HAD to make. It was a simple sweater. Stockinette, with drop shoulders, big 3/4 length sleeves that had cuffs, a square neckline, and ribbon trim sewn around the neckline and along the sleeve cuffs.

Not knowing anything about knitting sweaters, I determined that I had to follow the directions exactly, right down to the same kind and color of yarn. Fortunately, my Mom found a store that had it. Germantown Worsted wool. Scratchy, and expensive. But I'd saved my babysitting money up and I had enough to get it. I took my new treasures home.

It took a few days to get up the courage to cast on those first stitches. I just kept fondling the skeins of yarn. After I cast on I discovered this sweater knitting thing really wasn't that difficult after all. It was just, basically, a bunch of short wide scarves sewn together. I even got brave enough to adjust the length of the sleeves a bit (I have short arms.) I enjoyed every stitch of that project. Weeks and weeks of dedicated knitting went by and finally the sweater was done. It fit me perfectly.

I decided to hand wash the sweater before that first official wearing. After washing, I carefully laid it out on the floor on a towel in front of the fireplace to dry. I remember it was really cold that evening, so I didn't think the sweater would dry otherwise. My parents had a thing about not turning on the furnace unless we were about to freeze to death. Usually it was the fireplace, and blankets. I had some place I had to go, orchestra practice, or maybe it was a youth club meeting, I don't remember exactly. What I DO remember is saying to my Mom to keep an eye on that sweater and turn it over a couple times while I was gone. I also remember she was in her favorite chair reading a Harlequin Romance. She said she'd take care of it.

When I returned home later that evening the first thing I did was check my sweater. It was still laying in front of the fireplace, dry. Oh yes, definitely dry. Too dry. In fact, it was scorched!! On the front! A fairly good sized section was brownish green burnt yarn. Mom hadn't looked at it once the whole time I was gone (curse those romance novels). I was completely devastated. All that work. That beautiful sweater, ruined! She apologized, of course, but I was never able to wear it.

Two things I learned:
1) Don't dry my sweaters in front of the fireplace.
2) Don't trust Mom to keep an eye on things.

I never left her in charge of my knitting again after that.

I still have it. I carefully wrapped it in tissue and stowed it away in a box that sad day. Every once in awhile I'll get it out and remember how much fun I had knitting it. This is a pic taken yesterday.

(Burnt spot artfully covered with sleeve)

Have a great day.

1 comment:

  1. Ahwww, I'm sorry your first sweater got scorched. That would be so fun to see a scan of the cover of that magazine from so many years ago.
    Maybe you need to find that magazine and knit that sweater again. It kind of looks like a classic. For a senior in high school you had pretty good taste.