Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Ultimate Fate of Your Woolen Hand-Knits is Death!

Charlotte's Pinwheel sweater.

Some quick research into the history of hand-knitting will reveal one fact:  There really isn't very many examples of knitting from the past.  Museums aren't exactly full of old socks or hats or sweaters.  Not that they didn't exist, but because they were all mostly made of wool, they well, they disintegrated.

That is, the eventual fate of all lovely woolen hand-knits.

So why all the fuss about making these things out of wool in the first place?

Well, for some of us, there is nothing like the warmth and comfort of wool.  They way it keeps one from getting neither too hot or too cold.  The naturalness of it all - coming from living creatures and not chemical factories.  The rustic feel and texture of knitted stitches in wool.  The feeling of being part of a process, from shearing, to spinning, to knitting, to wearing.  It's all of these things, and then maybe something more that I just can't quite put into words.

So I guess I must spend my time knitting things that are destined for the trash - or the compost heap, or whatever.

I am trying to remind myself of this, and remember the big picture, the whole scheme of things, the cycle of life, and so on.

But really I'm a little blighted.

I knew my little one's pinwheel sweater would not last forever, but this?

It just happened so much sooner than I expected it!   We were headed out in the family mini-van to get blizzards, and like so many of those sudden family experiences, BLECH, my little girl vomited all over her beautiful, mama-made, hand-knit sweater.

Didn't see that one coming.

Turns out, she wasn't even ill, just an upset tummy.

I worried about the sweater a little, of course, but I did not panic.  I know how to wash and care for wool.

That night, I gently hand-washed it in the bathroom sink.  And carefully laid it out flat on some towels to dry. And checked it first thing in the morning.

I almost RETCHED.  The smell was still there, and was horrible!

I hand washed it again, same process.  And again, a third time.  Still, the smell was so deep it wouldn't come out.


Yeah, some of you folks can see this coming.

I did that thing you are never supposed to do to woolen hand-knits.

I put it into the washing machine.

And now I know why.

Please don't judge me, I was desperate.  I was trying to save it.
I put it on the gentlest of cycles, honestly.  And checked on it.  And pulled it out carefully.

And that's when I saw the holes!  Not little holes that could be easily darned or patched-up.  But big ones, and the rope-edging was unraveling and pulling away from the sweater.  Things that are beyond my capacity to fix, I was certain.

I put the sweater away, accepting that I would probably never be able to fix it.  For over a year.  Then one day, I pulled it out, and my little one saw it, and cried for it!  She missed her mama-sweater.

I figured, What's the worst I can do?

I laid it out, and carefully started stitching holes.

I fixed it.


We used to have to roll up those sleeves.


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