I love to finish the projects, but I hate to see them go. This sweater was commissioned as a birthday gift for a woman I don't know. I've never met her or talked with her. I do know that she has great fashion sense, and a great boyfriend who invested time and money in his community to give her a gift made just for her. I also know all of her upper body measurements.
At the end of July, I finished the sweater, emailed Boyfriend, and set it aside, ends all woven in, but long cords of bulky wool still dangling from edges and armpits. I had my wedding doilies to refocus on. No knitting time to waste.
A week later, I get a call from Boyfriend as I am crawling around in in the dirt, weeding a strawberry patch (a temporary part time job that I miss greatly.) "Can I pick up the sweater at 4?" I'll be done at 2; plenty of time to trim the stringy little extremities and lint roll the very black, very bulky beast. "Sure, that works." No sooner do I complete this exchange, when my phone informs me that yet another person would like the pleasure of my auditory attention.
Jeannette Ross, artist, photographer and friend (who has agreed to be the alice/bean knits photographer,) is on the other line. She is aghast at the notion that I relinquish this work before she has a chance to photograph it. She says she will absolutely be at my house before Boyfriend gets there to pick up the present.
The sky opens up. Buckets of rain plop down from the bruised sky. It's not slacking. Jeannette arrives at 3:30, due to the intense weather. I set up my housemate and dear friend as model, and Jeanette goes to town, posing her and getting some really pretty shots. Some are like the one above; stylized as if to show how comfortable the woman can be in the sweater. Others are extreme close-ups of the work (in this shot, you cannot see the cable and diamond pattern I used on front and back, giving it a corset air,) for me to use when I get my website running.
It is now ten past four. I snatch the sweater back from my housemate and the photographer, lint roll any errant fuzzies, and pack the sweater up for a trip in the pouring rain. Boyfriend arrives at my doorstep five minutes later, completely soaked. The exchange is quick; He says he loves the sweater, thanks me emphatically, and is gone- off to run more errands for the birthday party arranged for that evening.
I feel both swept away and dropped quickly. My breath is caught up. Standing on my porch, I feel like I was just embraced by an anonymous lover, the moment past too quickly to learn his name. I realize this is my regret over the sweater's departure. I didn't have time to say goodbye to this form that was born of my mind and has been with me for a month.
Don't mistake this feeling for envy. The emotions I felt do not display a desire to covet the garment, to be worn and cherished by me alone. Any knitter can relate to that feeling. To be perfectly honest (which I try always to be,) the sweater is neither my style, nor my size. If I saw this particular sweater in the window of a local trendy store, I would not lament in my inability to afford it, as I have often in my city's clothing shop laden Old Port.
I get over these feelings of loss when my creations must go off into the wide world, cherished by others. The sweater slump lasted a few days, and now I am feeling it again with the wedding doilies I handed over to Bride-to-be yesterday. I find comfort in the fact that her shawl is still with me- for now, and I dread having to tell Jeanette that I had to give them up with no pictures. I will be getting pictures of the arranged tables adorned by my dear doilies, so that is a small consolation.
After completing my summer commissions, I will take September to work on something for myself. I also want to experiment with making my own lace. I've got this intense, architectural idea that I can't quite explain. I will have to get a day job to save up for the Taos Wool Festival, but I'm hoping I can subsist on my knitting for at least half the winter. Wish me luck!