Gather ’round boys and girls, and let me tell you the tale of the Green Yarn and the sweater(s) it became. Our story begins in the year 2008…
A hopeful young knitter named Allison found a beautiful pattern called the February Lady Sweater.
It was gorgeous… cozy, comfy, lacy, and a beautiful shade of green. She had to have it.
As a graduate student, Allison went the cheapest route and bought a whole pile of white yarn from Knit Picks and dyed it with food coloring. It turned out… with varying results. Some of the skeins were greener, some were browner, and one even had bright red blotches in it. It was odd, but it wasn’t going to defeat our knitter. She went ahead and meticulously knit up the February Lady Sweater, carefully using each skein for only a few rows to mix the slightly different yarns throughout her sweater. After months of work, and weaving in hundreds of ends, she was done! She tried on the sweater and!
It. Looked. AWFUL.
It was chunky, too big, and looked like the worst, most stereotypical maternity clothes. Allison wore it twice (out of stubbornness) and threw it to the bottom of her closet, where it was never thought of again.
In the summer of 2010, Allison got the itch to knit another sweater, and remembered that green yarn from two years ago, and went to go dig it out. She found the terrible sweater, and tried it on again (just in case). It was still ugly. So, she ripped out the entire thing and balled it all up into a million golf ball sized skeins of yarn.
In the years since she had first knit the sweater, it had sat at the bottom of the closet becoming permeated with dust. Unraveling the sweater and rolling up the balls of yarn caused both Allison and her husband to have massive allergy attacks. So, out of spite, she hid the yarn away again, refusing to knit with something that made her sneeze like she had rolled around in a pile of cats.
Around Christmas 2012, Allison got it into her head that she wanted a new sweater. Something plain, with nice long sleeves, and maybe a simple cable down the sleeves (because why not).
The idea rolled around for a while, until she purchased a book called “The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters” by Ann Budd. “Perfect!” thought Allison, looking at the pattern for a basic saddle-shoulder sweater. “I’ll make this! It will be quick and easy, and I’ll be able to use that green yarn that’s been following me around for the past five years.”
She cast on, carefully spit-joining the ends of all her little skeins of yarn. And, before she knew it she had the top half of a great pullover: sleeves, crew neck, shoulders, and a good 10 inches of body. Excited, she tried it on: the sleeves looked perfect, the neck was great, but the body of the sweater was way too big.
More determined than ever, Allison ripped out the body (again) and reknit it, this time decreasing on the sides to bring the size down. She tried it on (again), and was dismayed to find out that the sweater looked even worse than before! The body fit around the waist, but now there were weird puffy bits in the armpits of the sweater. Not good!
She ripped out the body once again and reknit it, this time adding k2p2 ribbing panels on the sides. She held her breath as she tried it on once more.
It fit! It looked good! Hooray!
She flew through the remaining 6 inches of body and bound off as quickly as she could. She blocked out the sweater that night, and kept coming back to look at it as it dried.
Two days later (Seattle is always slightly damp, even in summer), the sweater was cozy and dry! Allison excitedly put on the “finished” sweater, and was heartbroken to realize that the sleeves, after blocking, were a good 4 inches too long. After a bit of pouting, she ripped the cuffs back and reknit them in an evening.
Finally! The sweater was done! It had been five years since she had purchased the yarn, she had tried two patterns, and had at least 4 major froggings, but at last she had something to show for her work.
So, the moral of the story? Never, ever, ever, give up. That’s the great thing about knitting. No matter how bad you mess up (unless you set your yarn on fire or something), you can always remake a pattern, fix your mistakes, or totally reknit your yarn.