Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 4.

Day 4- Where are they now?

Let me tell you a little story of the first thing I ever knitted for myself. I went to college right near WEBS. Yup that Internet yarn mecca was a hop skip and jump away from my college; where I learned to knit. Our Dean or Assistant Dean I don't remember of Student Affairs started a knitting circle, for all of us poor Hampshire kids who didn't come to college already knitting. It was not uncommon to see folks knitting in class, sporting big bulky hand knit sweaters, throwing their yoga mats into hand knit and felted bags...Did I mention I went to Hippie College? (my mom'll tell ya it's true!)
So anyway as part of her Student Affairs programming Renee started up a little Knitting Cirlce in the Dakin Living Room. It was small and pretty well attended. Renee would hand us some yarn and big needles and teach us to Knit and to Purl, and she encouraged us to knit beyond scarves.....So I took her up on it. Renee handed me a pattern for an Icelandic Sweater. You know the type. One of those lovely three color jobs with a nice color work pattern at the yoke and the hem and on the sleeves? With a mile of stockinette in the middle? Yeah that was my first project beyond my first scarf. A scarf by the way that I gave to some boy who was cute and looked cold. He later got a hat to match and it was years before I told him I knit them both...and by years I mean I was out of college before I told him, and the only reason I told him was because I ran into him randomly and he had both of them on....

Anyway back to my sweater.

The damn thing was knit from the bottom up and once I got past the color work (which took me roughly all year i think) I was so bored that I just stopped knitting. Sure I could use an excess of school work as an excuse, but no I was lazy in college (it's true, it's right there on my transcripts, ad my mom'll tell ya that too!) knitting became what I did with my friends while watching bad TV, it became blankets (really just wider garter stitched scarves to be honest) to keep warm the babies of my sisters, it became me walking around with Lion Brand Homespun and size 10 needles tucked into my canvas bag (this image was so me that not one but 2 people dressed as me for Halloween one year, and only one of them was someone I was friends with). The sweater never got finished.

Fast forward to this year. 10 full years after I graduated, 12 or so years after I first picked up a pair of needles... I was taking my first trip to NY Sheep and Wool. I was desperately trying to finish a Tea Leaves cardigan to wear, when I realized I had no chance of really finishing that cardi I put the live arm stitches on some scrap yarn and called it done and pulled out the beast of a sweater. I had carried this unfinished mass of wool across the country (twice) through 3 different apartments in NYC and had used 98% of the leftover yarn meant to finish it on various other projects (including the hat to match that boy's scarf!) over the years. Well I took it out and after a brief moment of "my god I was fat in college" I decided to turn it into a bag. A quick seaming of the bottom, a knit until you run out of yarn handle and I called it done. I took it to Rhinebeck with me (slung over my tea leaves with no sleeves) and I have used it pretty much everyday since.

It would have made a huge ridiculous sweater, but damn it makes a good bag....

11 comments:

PandaBearofDoom said...

It is a really cute bag. I love it and the story behind it. What happened to the boy you made the hat and scarf for? Are you dating do you still talk I must know XD

Ginny said...

Now theirs an idea!

Love the bag.

nothingbutknit2 said...

Lovely bag! What a great way to repurpose an unfinished knit.
What did the guy say when you told him you knit the hat and scarf?

Mary said...

This story cracked me up. Probably because I've moved a few unfinished crocheting projects around with me for the last ten years, too. ;-) Great job finally finishing the beast!

(I look back at some of my college clothes and think the same thing -- although in retrospect, I think it was more that I just wore everything really baggy. That's what I keep telling myself, anyway. I think clothes in general were less fitted then.)

regina said...

The guy was a random fella i was totally smitten with in college. I intercampus mailed him the hat and scarf i think for valentines day....We never dated, heck we barely even spoke in college. When I saw him it was literally a run in on the street in NYC where I very suavely blurted out "You still wear the stuff I knitted you!" he responded with "no....M (the girl he was dating in college) made them for me, that's how we started dating, they keep me warm so I never got rid of them, even though we broke up forever ago"
I didn't have the heart to tell him that she lied to get into his pants. I probably would have done the same thing if I had been in her shoes.....

Jennifer said...

that's great! it's fun when something is supposed to be a certain thing and it works perfectly as something completely different - love the way the bag turned out :)

Julie said...

Excellent way to change a project into something you love and use! And the colorwork is really nice.

Moonie said...

Your impact on strangers is an amazing story in and of itself, but the transformation from sweater of doom to much loved bag was an excellent idea.

CraftyCripple said...

I'm so glad you finally got a use out of that sweater. I love it when you can repurpose knits!

Cris said...

OH what a great story! And finally - the piece was able to be used, even if not for the original use :)

tightlywoundlooselyknit said...

what a GREAT story and love the bag as well! Thanks for sharing :)