It’s inevitable. Yet at first, when your knit-addiction sets in, your husband eyes your needles suspiciously, panicked that whatever natty monstrosity you’re attempting to knit will be designated for him. His fears are not abated as gradually your knitted ‘gifts’ start appearing on all the children and pets and girlfriends you have. He knows his time is running out. Eventually, he’ll be your next victim.
But then your skills improve (also inevitable). Your projects become recognizable even to non-knitters (A.K.A. ‘civilians’: see previous post “Knitisms Du Jour). People begin to lavish you with praise and envy. They begin to make requests. You husband, watching from a safe distance all the while, sees you adorning everyone else on earth with lovely hand knits. His silent loathing is transforming into something greener.
And then one day, when you least expect it, he sits down next to you in your sacred knitting space, and says the words you never ever thought you’d hear uttered from his lips: “When are you going to make me something?”
So of course you drop every other project you’re working on, and begin the heavy task of making him a worthy item. A hat is fine, and knits up quick, but won’t be worn for enough consecutive hours at a time to satiate the now-desperate need you have for your husband to be your walking manikin (no pun. Ok, yes pun.). So it has to be a sweater. Even in San Diego sweaters are necessary and can be a full-day commitment from December through March.
You tirelessly scour the internet and all the books you have for just the right pattern that will be both manly but still knitterly at the same time. You must choose a yarn his body won’t reject, and a color that won’t age him (more). And, most meaningfully, this is the project that will make you a permanent believer in the necessity of the gauge swatch. You cannot take chances with a sweater the size of a man.
I’ve had three years, three birthdays (chances) since the day he made his request to make a sweater that my husband deserves. Now two sweaters (one of the three was so bad I had to put it out of it’s misery), folded in the closet, mock me from their permanent perch on the shelf. Each one had been an example of my most responsible knitting: gauge swatches, constant measuring along the way, man-neutral colors. Even a pre-project graph with my husband’s measurements. It is unfair and inexplicable, but the Man-sweater eludes me.
My husband, worthy though he might be, is apparently destined to a life of store-bought sweaters. At least until my next attempt.