If you are a knitter, you may have been asked if you sell your knitting. Or maybe a friend offered to pay you to knit her a sweater. This happens to me from time to time, and I’m never truly satisfied with the answer I give – which is always no.
First of all, there is the pain of telling someone no. Then there is the disappointment on the friend’s face. Then, in a effort to soften the “no,” my somewhat lengthy and awkward explanation: the high price of quality yarn, the large amount of time required to knit a sweater, the difficulty in setting a price. But the truth of the matter is this: the market value of a sweater is always much less than the value of time and materials that the knitter spends on creating it. Simple fact.
Truly I am in the knit-for-love camp. The photograph above is an example of my pay-off. When the image arrived from my son-in-law this morning, I felt my heart melt and tears begin to accumulate in my eyes. This is the ultimate reward.
Knitters, are you like this? You offer to knit a garment for a loved one. You take careful measurements. You ask her about favorite colors and what she likes to wear. Then, as you work your stitches, you think about the recipient. You wonder if the neckline will lay flat and if the sleeves will hit her wrist at the exact spot you had planned it to. You think about the moment your gift arrives. You imagine her wearing it. This piece of knitting has now become imprinted with all your intentions, your hope for your friend’s future and love you feel for her.
No amount of money can buy this feeling. And I never expected that it could.
We’ve all felt it. It happens at home, at work, while driving or walking. An unintended slight. A harsh word of criticism. A rude gesture flung from the window of a passing car. Generally, we are able to return to our earlier state with no visible change. Well, perhaps another minor scar on our psyches. Our treasured objects can also get “bent out of shape.” Frequently this means the end of the item. But, just like us, some of our fiber objects can be restored to their original shapes with the application of some attention, a warm bath, and a gentle massage.
This little brown sweater had an unfortunate encounter with the agitator of the washing machine. Not that I would machine wash my sweaters. But sometimes a sweater can slip in unnoticed, by clinging to other garments on the way to the laundry. Notice that the left edge has been dragged down several inches, pulling the neckline with it. The fiber content is cotton and cashmere, so there is hope that the remedy will be sufficient.
Fill a sink with tepid water and add a small squirt of mild soap. I use liquid dish detergent or sometimes shampoo. Drop the garment into the water. Let it get thoroughly wet. Now, squeeze the garment, working the entire thing gently without a lot of pulling.
Drain the water out. Squeeze out the excess soapy water. Draw another basin of water, also tepid. Rinse the sweater by squeezing the water through. Drain water away, squeeze out excess water.
Lay the sweater on a bath towel, roll the towel up, and massage the roll for a minute or two.
Unroll the towel, remove sweater to a flat space. I lay mine on the guest room bed. Gently pull the misshapen sections back into alignment. You may insert small towels into the sleeves to help with shaping.
Leave alone until thoroughly dry.
It worked. Those tiny wrinkles can be pressed out with an iron set to low.