Now that its recipient has it in his hands, I can finally reveal the project that took up all of my leisure-knitting time in the run up to Christmas. Well, I say all of, but what I mean is all of the possible leisure covert knitting time. Yes, in my wisdom I decided that- living as we currently are in a fairly small rented house- it would be a really good idea to knit a substantial Icelandic Lopi sweater for my husband. In secret.
There was some logic behind this ill-thought-out scheme. Himself has been after what he considers a ‘proper’ Christmas sweater for several years and would every now and again loudly point out to family and friends that he was without such a garment despite the fact that I knit ‘all the time’. It had to be admitted that he had a point.
I duly purchased requisite pattern and Istex Alafoss Lopi yarn from Meadow Yarn. I managed to cast on in plain sight, as the point made about me knitting ‘all the time’ is well made, so the fact that I was working on some ribbing in some grey chunky yarn was no cause for suspicion. Once I hit the colourwork though, it all had to go under wraps.
Easier said than done! Alafoss Lopi grows pleasingly quickly, but a man’s sweater is not a small project and I soon realised that snatching times when Himself was out of the house was not going to leave me enough time to complete it. I therefore found myself sneaking an increasingly bulging project bag around the house, snatching moments here and there and at one point knitting with one eye glancing out of a window so I would know when he was coming back from the garden shed!
By some miracle (and one finger-knackering day of letting the children watch TV more or less constantly while I conquered the yoke) it was ready in time. Equally miraculous was the fact that it was a complete (and welcome) surprise. Despite being one of those warm-blooded creatures who will wear t-shirts in all but the most Baltic conditions, he’s worn it a lot- although he did let me have it back for long enough to give it a proper block, as this was something I really couldn’t achieve covertly.
As might be expected, this lightweight, airy wool responds beautifully to blocking and the now properly finished sweater looks great. I love the way the colourwork yoke means the thickest, most protecting part of the sweater is where most snow or rain will land if it is being worn in wintry weather. It’s a proper outdoorsy garment and I’m encouraging Himself to wear it in this way- or any way he likes! There’s nothing more heart-warming than seeing your work appreciated, is there?
I do have to add a rather sad footnote to this otherwise festive post. During the Christmas period we lost my wonderful Grandmother. She was very special to me (and to all of my family) in many, many ways, not least because she was the one who taught me to knit. She taught me to knit. Oh, there is so much more in that than those five words convey. One day perhaps I will tell more of her story in this space. In the meantime, a wise and dear person sent me these words of comfort:
We walk in their footsteps and are raised on their shoulders
Like so many of my friends I am starting this New Year determined that it will be more positive and filled with healing and love than the last, so it feels as though these are also words to live by. Knit on my friends- I wish you every happiness in 2017!