The Five Stages of Sweater Grief
I didn’t lose the first sweater I ever knitted. It’s gotta be around here somewhere. Maybe it accidentally got shuffled into one of the boxes of craft stuff when I moved in July.
…Okay, maybe not. But maybe I’ve missed a box. Maybe there’s a secret box in the front closet or something – a box that we’ve somehow forgotten to unpack. It has to be somewhere. I didn’t lose my very first sweater. I wouldn’t do that. The sweater will turn up by the time the weather gets colder. It’ll know it’s needed and show up one day, like those geese in Fly Away Home. Classic reunion, tears all around.
WHERE IS MY FUCKING SWEATER. WHERE IS IT.
SWEATER, I KNOW YOU’RE AROUND HERE SOMEWHERE, MOCKING ME. THIS ISN’T FUNNY. I WILL UNRAVEL YOU, YOU HEAR ME? YOU WILL BECOME A BLANKET FOR THE DOG. THE GASSY OLD DOG WITH THE BLADDER CONTROL PROBLEMS. DO YOU HEAR ME, SWEATER? UNLESS YOU SHOW YOUR WOOLLY ASS IMMEDIATELY, YOUR FUTURE WILL BE A MURKY HAZE OF DOG PEE AND KIBBLE FARTS.
I–I didn’t mean it, sweater. I’m sorry. I miss you. You were my first garment. You opened my eyes to a whole new world of knitting obsession, to the glory of mattress stitch and the intrigue of pattern modifications. Maybe I didn’t realize I was twisting all my purl stitches until long after you, so all your stockinette stitches are twisted and your twisted ribbing is just regular ribbing, and you’ve always been a little too short and wide, but dammit, you’re mine.
I love you, sweater. I’ve always loved you, even with your flaws. If you come back, I’ll wear you all the time. I’ll–I’ll stuff my WIP sweaters in drawers! I’ll never look at another sweater again! Except maybe store-bought ones. And jackets. And pullovers. Well, you know what I mean. You’re the only hand-knit cardigan in my closet, sweater.
Please come back. Show up in a corner of the closet I forgot. Turn up at a friend’s house. Anything. I’ll take a pumice block to your pills and whisk you out for a night on the town over a nice dress. Come on.
Sweaterrrrrr. *sob* Swea-he-terrrr.
I’m the w-worst knitter. I’m so–I’m so–*blows nose* I’m so sorry! I should’ve packed you with the heirlooms. It’s all my fault. I’ll never make another sweater like you. You were one of a kind. You were…oh, god.
*sobbing into sleeve of store-bought cardigan*
My very first sweater was lost in the move. Nothing will ever replace it. The best thing I can do to honor its memory is to carry on knitting, using the things it taught me: patience, seaming, swatching, ease, sweater math, and how adorable layering can be.
We had some good times, sweater and me. Our first winter together, those cuffs snuggled up over my knuckles when the heat in my office wasn’t on high enough. Our first summer together, when the air conditioning in my office was on way too high. All those hours traveling Greyhound together, when I’d forgotten a pillow and used sweater instead. That time last fall when a baby cow at the apple festival tried to eat the sleeve right off my arm, and sweater spent the rest of the day tacky with cow spit. Oh, sweater.
There will be more sweaters in my life, informed by that first sweater. Loss is not the end – it’s a beginning. A beginning of lots more sweaters.
Maybe I’ll stop at my local yarn shop on the walk home today. While I browse the Cascade 220, sweater, I’ll think of you.
RIP Mrs. Darcy Cardigan