In case it has been confusing, I have 3 daughters: Rebecca, 27 (she’s not old enough to care about her age yet I hope), Leah, 21, and Bethany, 12. I also have a wonderful son Hunter, 24. I’m Mom, definitely too old to mention age!
This time my gift was for Bethany. First she loved dogs, then she loved wolves. Proof: She’s seen every wolf show on TV; she’s read many children’s books about wolves; and we’ve been to the wolf sanctuary near Lititz, PA [http://wolfsanctuarypa.org/ ] on wolf appreciation day. (It’s near the chocolate factory!) She and I both bought the T-shirt, and she has many stuffed animal wolves. She was thrilled this year to get another one from Aunty Kathy, and over the years she had gotten one from nearly every close relative. So when Vogue Knitting magazine came up with a wolf sweater in their Early Fall 2013 magazine I had to make it for her! And I decided to knit it on my knitting machine, my favorite way to make a knitting picture. On this machine, a “Big Phil”, knitting a picture feels somewhat like weaving, very satisfying. It’s also much easier to keep all the colors in order on the machine than knitting it in my lap.
After a bit of discussion with Bethany, we decided on a black wool sweater with a white and grey wolf on the back. For the picture, I used scrap yarns that I already had, and the black came from a long-ago stash. Now on a “Big Phil”, as you follow the chart normally, the sweater is knit up from the purl side and ends up reversed. So I wanted to surprise Bethany with the end results.
The knitting went well, but it was slow because of the Alpaca Festival, Thanksgiving, etc. It sat on the needles (and the weights) for several months. Even though I had made a swatch, it turned out way too big. I guess it stretched on the knitting machine. But it wasn’t only that. After weaving in 101 ends and blocking it, the grey yarn I picked out looked horrible.
As you can see from this photo, but the grey yarn didn’t spring back into shape after blocking like everything else did. See all the holes? It was a sock yarn, and I thought it would spring back even better than the plain wool because of the nylon in it. Again, the swatch turned out, but not the final project. It was ruined as far as I could see.
I was looking at it in my bedroom, ready to throw it out, disgusted. Well as I was sitting there sadly admitting that not all projects can be a success, in walks Bethany! “I’m sorry,” I said. “I had hoped this would be a nice surprise for you, but here it is. It’s terrible, and too big. I’m going to throw it out. I promise I’ll try again next year.” Well guess what? Bethany replied in a surprising way: “Don’t throw it out, Mom! I’d like to hang it on my wall. It’s great! Only I wish the eyes of the wolf were blue.” They had been red originally, to go with the mouth and claw marks which were Cliff’s idea. (You can barely see them on the bottom left.) She’s 12 now, and already distancing herself from me. Rarely wants to hang out with me anymore, and mostly doesn’t like my knitting. So this was an especially cool thing for her to say.
So in the end, I decided to keep the sweater back. Using the duplicate stitch, I changed the eyes from red to blue, and I framed it. Thanks, Bethany, for your grace that day. Merry Christmas.