On November 12th, 2018, I cast on my first sweater.
I had no idea it what I was in for.
It was a “flax sweater”
intended for my husband’s Christmas gift,
knit from Berocco Vintage yarn, in a duck egg blue that had been in my stash for years.
I was very excited.
I remember printing out the pattern and carefully highlighting all the measurements,
while my husband and daughter were at the aquarium.
The house was so still and my little dog sighed nearby on the duvet, stretching her little paws wide.
I remember sitting quietly on the couch, counting stitches and
glancing up at my husband in the afternoon light,
smiling like I had a secret.
I remember ripping out the first few hours of work,
(I hate to go back for things).
I remember knitting furiously in the car as my husband drove us through the city.
We’d had an argument that morning.
A car ride helped.
I remember putting the sweater down carefully on the dashboard,
climbing out to the overlook, exclaiming how beautiful the city was.
Shuddering from the cold wind,
leaning my head into his shoulder,
leaning into contentment.
I remember staring tearfully at the stitches in the weeks after our dog died,
this is the sweater that will get me through grief.
…Will it be too sad to wear?
I remember asking: do you want to know what I’m making you?
And how his eyes lit up with surprise!
I remember telling my husband it wouldn’t be ready in time for Christmas.
I remember telling my husband it wouldn’t be ready in time for his birthday.
I remember feeling like those stockinette stitches went on for miles.
I remember worrying, so much worrying:
will it fit?
will it get ruined in the wash?
Will it look…… “homemade?”
I remember joking with him… “you’re not going to break up with me when I finish it, are you?”
(There’s a boyfriend sweater curse, you know.)
I remember how he laughed and laughed.
I remember his face the first time he tried it on.
It wasn’t finished, but it fit.
Like, REALLY fit.
He was kind of relieved.
I was extremely relieved.
I remember the anticipation as I finished that last sleeve.
“Just one more row.”
“Okay, NOW, just one more row.”
And then, I remember being sad..
that it was almost over.
That last row,
could it be?
..Staring down at my hands, as I sat in bed next to my husband, drinking lavender tea, thinking:
this is the sweater that got me through the winter.
These stitches, every single one, I made them.
This is the sweater that will wrap my husband in a warm hug.
Even if we’re apart,
even if we’re arguing,
even if were’ distant or sad or annoyed,
even if I die,
he’ll have a hug filled with months of love,
forever and always,
as long as he doesn’t spill hot sauce all over it.
really though, it’s a timeless token of love – a knit sweater.
And most of all,
despite all the hope and grief and impatience that went into that sweater,
I will always remember saying a little benediction as I bound off those last stitches:
wishing him joy and cheer and a feeling of being hugged, wherever he is in the world.
I imagined him walking into his office, smiling up at the sky, and knowing that he has love waiting for him at home.
And I think that’s just what happened.
I can’t wait to cast on another!