27 May 2006
In the process of moving a few years ago, I came across (and gave to charity) some early knitting adventures I had long since conveniently forgotton about. Before giving them away, I decided to photograph them for posterity. The first and most horrific is the first sweater I made after returning from Norway. I was anxious to keep knitting when I got back, but alas, I was without the guidance of my Norwegian host moms, and without access to wonderful Norwegian yarn shops - this was back in the day (1992) when my only American LYS had nothing but acrylic worsted and kitchen-cotton yarns (this was a.k.a. a Singer sewing store. Which I recently re-visited, and found to my astonishment a beautiful selection of really nice yarns, 12 years too late!). At this point, since I had been taught in Norway by people who knew what they were doing and within a tradition where DK-weight wool was the only imaginable yarn, I didn’t know anything about gauge. So I went home from the Singer sewing store with a gigantic pile of horrible acrylic yarn in not-quite-right colors, in the wrong weight. Somehow, I managed to make the entire sweater without any of these problems hitting home until I actually tried it on. I had loved the pattern at first sight, and spent the weeks I worked on it fantasizing about how magnificent I would feel wearing my new sweater. Alas, the results not only failed to live up to the fantasy, they were just plan awful. The sweater is gi-normous, the colors look like the ones they were supposed to be but after having been dropped in a dirty puddle. The yarn feels like plastic, and pills badly. It's warm, I will say that: I also didn't really know how to handle stranded knitting across so many big patches, so it's basically a triple-thick sweater. I hope it at least keeps someone warm...
Same goes for the matching, extra-long, extra-wide scarf made out of the leftover yarn. This scarf represents my one and only knitting project from my college years. It was done totally blind, while reading for my BA essay. I'd been too distracted (and too disappointed by the results of the Disaster Sweater) to knit during college until the very last months, when the stress of writing a BA thesis while taking a full load of important seminars and having to finish it all in a short quarter to graduate on time had me so tense I needed something to keep my fingers busy just so I could focus. The scarf served me well for that purpose, and even got worn once or twice, but is no longer worth clogging up the closet. Someday I might make the sweater again, but do it right...The professional picture below is what it was supposed to look like, scanned in from the original pattern. It's from the Sandnes Uldvarefabrik catalog; I can't find a date on it, but it must have been 1991.