super secret knitting revealed

May 2, 2011

part of what makes maintaining my blog so difficult
is the fact that most of my knitting is secret knitting.
i rarely knit for myself, and when i knit for other people,
i usually want it to be a surprise.

i like surprising people,
i like making them happy.
the shock/smile is the face i live for.

i also generally prefer to knit for knitters
since, let’s be honest, they’re the only ones who truly get it.
finding a non knitter who actually appreciates the work that goes into a hand knit item, well, it’s like petting a unicorn.

let’s take a sweater for example.
i can knock out a sweater in about month, which is fairly quick i think.
but that’s still a lot of my free time dedicated to just one item.
i spend that time thinking about the person it’s for,
if they’ll like it, what they mean to me,
why i’m knitting it in the first place.
for me, it’s about making something beautiful,
something i can really be proud of, so the person it’s for knows they’re important to me, that i’m happy they’re in my life.

so i’m not going to waste hours upon hours of my time,
(not to mention a good chunk of my yarn money)
if the person for whom i’m knitting
isn’t gonna give a shit.

that’s just stupid.

which is why i decided to undertake this super secret knitting.
i was talking to my good friend bill about knitting one night.
he doesn’t knit himself, but i like him nonetheless.
i can’t remember what he said, precisely,
or how exactly it came up.
i just remember i’d never heard a non knitter put into words so well how special it is to have someone knit them a garment. it was simple, and to the point. and i just remember thinking,
this is a man who gets it.
and in that moment,
i knew i had to knit him a sweater.

luckily, i had the perfect opportunity;
his birthday was six weeks away,
plenty of time to knit a sweater.

so, i cast on.
nothing fancy,
just a top-down raglan.
(elizabeth zimmerman would be proud)

everything was going well until the night before his birthday party.
i was finishing a sleeve, and planned to get up early to knit the collar.
(i cannot explain to you how many times i ripped out that fucking collar.
no matter what i did, it would not come out right. tears were shed)
but something was slowing me down,
a nagging pain in my stomach.
was it something i ate?
was i just overly tired?

well no, actually,
it was the appendix stump rotting in my gut.
it’d laid in wait, a few days shy of a decade,
(i had my appendix out in april 2001)
wrapped itself up in gangrene,
ruining my sweater’s reveal.


when i was feeling better,
i tried knitting on the sweater in the hospital.
but apparently, having at least three tubes in your body,
one of which putting mega doses of narcotics directly in my bloodstream, made trying to knit kinda laughable.
i think i did laugh, actually.

when i got out, i tried again.
apparently, extra strength vicodin also makes trying to knit with any skill somewhat impossible, at least for me.

so i picked a day,
skipped my meds,
powered through the pain,
and knit the shit out of that sleeve and collar.

after giving it a nice bath,
i was left with a beautiful sweater.
and most important of all,
the fucker fits!

**some notes on the sweater: i chose a top-down raglan because, while i prefer the look of a seamed sweater, it’s just a faster, easier construction. but i did think a raglan would look best on bill. i also chose a v-neck because it think it enhances the sexiness of any man. clearly, i was right. i used cascade 220 superwash because bill is a non knitter, and while i trust him to handwash a garment, accidents happen. nothing worse than a felted sweater.

29 Responses to “super secret knitting revealed”

  1. Austin Val Says:

    Wonderful! Well done!

  2. Sally at RivendaleFarms Says:

    And it fits! Very nicely done – and rather than thinking “belated birthday”, I much prefer “the celebration continues!”

  3. Kimberly Says:

    You have outdone yourself once again.
    You’re really special you know that?

  4. Michelle Says:

    Wow! That’s a sexy sweater! Bill’s a lucky guy!

  5. Laura Says:

    Handsome! That color is great on him! 🙂 So glad you’re feeling better 🙂

  6. Cinnamon Says:

    It looks fantastic.

  7. Juliet in Grand Rapids Says:

    Great sweater, looks great, and fits great! You’re right top-down is great fun.

    I love how sweet, generous, and thoughtful you are. You know the joy of giving, not just of your talent, but of yourself. What a blessing for your friends. Just doesn’t seem fair that you had appendicitis twice.

  8. Chancy Says:

    That sweater is amazing and looks great on Bill. I’m glad you are on the mend. Here’s to a healthy rest of the year!

  9. Holly Harpy Says:

    Fwawwrr. My next man-sweater is going to have to be 220 superwash, that’s just perfect. I love you for skipping pain killers to power through it, you lovely devoted madman.

    Heal up!

  10. Audry Says:

    The sweater is beautiful. And the superwash was a good touch. It’s murphy’s law. If it wasn’t superwash, it would immediately be swept up in a pile of laundry and felted. Because it is superwash, it will always be hand washed.

  11. linda cannon Says:

    You did a super duper job, love you boy.( I am in my 60’s) It fits him perfectly and looks so good on him, Oh WOW. I have 2 “gentleman’ friends I knit for and they love everything I make and wear it. Granted it is usually socks, but once in a while it is something else. But it is so nice when someone appreciates the thing we do. My hubby is still wearing the sweater I knit 35 years ago, and loves it. Some magazine actually published the pattern as a new one last year. It too was top down, the best pattern to work on. Love you daarlin, XOXO

  12. dena Says:

    Wow! I love how it fits his upper back and shoulders. Very nice! you did a great job! 🙂

  13. Anonymous, too Says:

    You do know that unicorns can be caught and tamed only by virgins, don’t you? This may explain your problem finding non-knitters who appreciate hand-knit items. . . ;-)!

  14. Rodger Says:

    Bill is fucking cute as hell and looks awesome in his sweater.

  15. brooke Says:

    Love the sweater.. it is lovely.. and bill’s phone number, please, if you don’t mind. I’d like to ask him out….but he has to wear the sweater.

  16. Kamigaeru Says:

    You’ve summed it up wonderfully, and it’s exactly how I feel about knitting for others.

    Very nice work, and excellent color choice on the sweater!

  17. Sarah Says:

    I LOVE how this turned out! Clearly the recipient does, too, which is the important part. Now, the burning question: is this the sweater with the secret under the arm?

  18. Bonnie Says:

    That’s beautiful! Congratulations on great work.

  19. Adrienne Says:

    That sweater looks fabulous on Bill. Great job.

  20. theJilly Says:

    Holy shit, that is a good fit for surprise knitting! Perfect fit, actually. I love the sweater, and Bill looks pretty pleased. Keep healing and feeling better. Nice work!

  21. Astrid Says:

    That is one kick-ass sweater! The guy is pretty good-looking, too 🙂

  22. Linda Says:

    I’m fairly new to reading your words but feel I should let you know that I had a similar medical event happen to me. Ten years after a dog bite that required about 8 stitches – no details required but it got me a trip to the surgery, a year on anti-fungal meds and a scar that looks like a shark took a piece out of my left hip. I hope you’re feeling better. The sweater looks fantastic on Bill. Just the right amount of body hugging.

  23. Julie Says:

    Perfection! Bill’s a lucky guy…

  24. Hope Says:

    The sweater is awesome! Great color, great fit, great yarn choice. You rocked it! What a kind and generous fellow you are. ❤

  25. Kathy Says:

    that is a well-groomed man.

    So, V-necks are sexier on men? I’ve never been a v-neck person, but partner always wants to wear them. maybe I should make him something v-neck? after I finish the franklin I already have the yarn for, that is.

    that is one damn fine sweater. bravo.

  26. Aimee Says:

    I just wanted you to know that the sweater looks BEAUTIFUL!

    And… I do read the blog but usually from my phone and it is harder for me to comment even though I have wanted to several times. I read it and love it even when it is not knit related.

    I am glad you are feeling better, the yarn you gave away was super gorgeous, I think you are super brave to stay home and not go to NY, I hope your dad is OK, and wishing you luck on your PhD!!!

  27. Anne Says:

    That is an awesome sweater! I totally agree on the V-neck question, even though the husband refuses to like v-necks.
    And superwash is a great thing for gift knits, unless you know who will wash them – and sometimes even then! 😉

  28. nparis Says:

    The sweater looks great on your friend/hunk.

    Okay. I don’t think I should ask questions here, but I will chance it.

    Are you going to Sock Summit? I really really hope so.

  29. Lynae Says:

    Nicely done my friend! Will I see you at Sock Summit?

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