Sometimes the best takes a really long time

In the late 90’s, before I found my quilting obsess…uh, hobby, I was an obsessiv…uh, enthusiastic knitter.  I made some awful sweaters as I learned to knit.  But, I made a few nice ones, too.  Some I still can wear, at least around the house and one or two are good enough for public viewing.  And, some will be disassembled and turned into Linus afghans.

Just before I found quilting, I was crazy about cable work.  I made two cabled sweaters.  The first one is bright blue.  It was an acrylic sweater and I thought of it as the “muslin” for this sweater.  I wrote the pattern myself, using the cabling chapter from a knitting book.  The hand written pattern is long lost. 

After I had made the blue one, I decided it was worth the investment into wool yarn, which was pretty expensive.  I made the sweater; the front, the back and both sleeves.  I blocked the pieces, ready to put them together…and my old iron spit a brown stain on it. 

I packed the whole thing in a bag and put it in a drawer.  And, there it sat for about 10 years while I learned to quilt. 

Late last year, I pulled it out to finish.  I put it together and made the collar.  I know a lot more about handling stains now than I did then, and I hand washed it, which I’ve done with all my other sweaters…except the blue cabled one.  I don’t know if it was the cabling or what, but in the wash, my sweater grew.  It ended up big enough to fit the jolly green giant and no amount of blocking was ever going to fix that.  I let it mostly air dry and then I put it in the dryer. 

I dried it a couple of times, and it came out just right, everywhere except he bottom hem.  That ribbing was 63 inches around.  I don’t know what I did, but suspect that I used the same size needles for the ribbing as I did for the rest of the sweater and I used the same number of stitches, when the right way would have been fewer stitches and an increase where the ribbing stopped.  When I tried it on, it looked like a bell.  It hung from my shoulders in waves around me. 

I was very discouraged.

But, I kept thinking about it.  It took me a couple of weeks to figure out what to do, but you can tell, it worked.


Yes, that is me, in a wool sweater and shorts.  It was 80* here yesterday.  But, it’s pretty much a perfect fit, eh?

This is a better picture of the sweater.


Closeups of the cabling.



So, how did I fix the ribbed hem?

I crocheted three rows of really big stitches on the inside, going from one rib to the next, skipping over the “negative” spaces between the ribs.  I let each stitch be a half inch long.


It didn’t take very long, and it reduced the size of the hem to something that would snug around me.  And, it stretches enough that it’s not a problem to put the sweater on.  And, unlike just running a yarn circle around the hem and cinching it up like a belt (yes, that was the third runner up of ideas) it keeps the ribs from bunching up by controlling how far apart they can get. 

Now, will we ever get a day that’s cold enough to wear it?  Who knows.  It’s cool outside…but not cool enough for a thick wool sweater.

We got the results of the MRI yesterday.  She’s torn her ACL and her meniscus (sp?).  Surgery is required.  But, we got the nicest surprise.  The doctor came in and it was like he was a different person.  I don’t know whether he had a bad day last Thurs or if he just wasn’t very personable because he didn’t know anything to tell us.  But, yesterday, he was gentle, kind, understanding, sympathetic, talked to Sydney as the disappointed little girl she was feeling like.  Very nice.  When he left the room, I looked at Syd and asked her if this was the same doctor that we saw, just a week before.  Rob even askod if it was the same one because he was nothing like I’d described.  So, it just goes to show you, you can’t judge a book by its cover; you have to get to the meat of it before you know what it’s about.  We have to wait two weeks for the swelling to go down and for more healing to occur, then we can schedule the surgery.  The good news is that she should be healed and ready to play for her sophomore year.  And, we don’t have to do track and field practices and meets this year. 

So, that’s our little saga.  The bad doc turned out good, the bad sweater turned out good.  The girl is turning out good, if she can just keep her sights on the future and not wallow in the present too much.  Rob and I think we’re handling it all just right by being up front and honest and straightforward and just talking to her like an adult, but breaking it up so that we talk about it for a few minutes and then let is rest for a while, and then we can all talk about it some more.

Be well.  Lane


Bratling said...

Is it just torn or obliterated? I'm asking because I shredded mine and had to have it replaced. Syd is in for a long, painful therapy and recovery... and the knee is never quite the same. And because you're a good dad, she'll hate you for a while for making her go through all of the painful stuff (and believe me, it hurts like hell) so that her knee will have full range of motion after it heals. I did some water therapy in addition to what was assigned, and that helped. The knee bend machine is awful, because you start on it while you still have stitches, but if she doesn't do it, her knee will never be able to straighten fully or bend fully. Tell Syd I'm rooting for her and that she should try to do what I did. *smirk* I shocked the doc because the week after the surgery, I ditched my crutches and walked into his office unassisted.

Elizabeth said...

Lane, that is an ingenious fix on the sweater! And the sweater itself is beautiful! I mean, wow!

Glad that you got Dr. Jekyll and not Mr. Hyde this week (I think I got that right; it's been so long since I read it, but I think that Mr. Hyde is the scary one). I'll keep Sydney in my prayers for a good recovery.

xo -E

P.S. It's 12* here today, so stop rubbing your nice weather in ;).

Rebecca Grace said...

I can't believe you actually MADE that sweater with nothing more than a ball of yarn and knitting needles. I must say, the gorgeous cabling gives a hint of the beautiful quilting designs that were in your future, unbeknownst to you...

So sorry to hear Syndey will need surgery, but I'm glad her doctor got a personality transplant or is posessed by friendly aliens now or whatever the case may be. All your quilting friends from the Internet were all going to have to descend on his office like a mob otherwise, weilding our scissors and rotary cutters like weapons... ;-)

Kath said...

you are so resourceful Lane, I am impressed with your "fix". You will need that sweater if you come to England, as its a chilly 6'C today.

Sorry Miss Sydney will face surgery, just at the start of her sporting career too.

Anonymous said...

Very impressed with the sweater and your fix for it. Wish I could do that! give Sydney our wishes for a full recovery.

Anonymous said...

WOW - your knitting is wonderful. I never tried cables, thought they would be too hard - or I was too lazy to learn. Nice fix to the ribbing.
Sorry to hear about Sydney's upcoming surgery. Will keep her in my thoughts and prayers for speedy recovery. Thanks for sharing.

Hazel said...

Your sweater turned out beautiful and who else could come up with a fix like that but Lane LOL ,your a genius .
Sorry to hear of Sydney's surgery some people just breeze through it, others don't lets pray Syd is one of the lucky ones .

lindaroo said...

Funny, this post showed up yesterday in my google reader, but when I tried to pull up your blog I got a message that this post didn't exist! I'm so glad you re-posted, because I really wanted to gush about the gorgeous cables on your very handsome sweater, and to say how clever your fix is for the waistband.
Then, to read about Sydney's trials, and the doctor turn-about, and your careful parenting, I must say, truly deepens my respect for all you do.
Hang in there. You're doing small things with great love, and they're adding up to great treasure!

lw said...

You could come out to Virginia with that beautiful sweater, it's in the 20's right now.
I am sorry to hear about the surgery, though Sydney strikes me as a pretty strong girl and I think she'll come through fine and ace the physical therapy.

mssewcrazy said...

very impressive sweater and super save on the band-I am only a dishcloth and one afhan knitter and that is so far out of my realm. So sorry about Sydney's injury and hope she is soon healed.

Carla said...

Nice sweater. All I ever knitted was straight scarves... I say that with tongue in check. I don't think I really ever finished one.
Ouch sorry to hear about the ACL. I've heard those are a pain. I had my left knee scoped 5 years ago for a tear and just a few weeks ago I had the right knee done. I had 2 tears and the cartlidge was messed up. I have to start PT next week. Yippe. Sydney is young and she'll heal fine.