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Sweaters Don't Lose Weight With You

Jun 23, 2008

The photo at left was taken about a year ago. I don't look like that any more, mostly due to a very active dog (even with three legs, he can run circles around me and my pitiful two legs) and a husband who cooks mostly vegetarian fare. I must admit, it's lovely to lose weight. What's more, it's lovely to lose enough weight that folks at work start making jokes such as, "Oh my gosh, where's the rest of you?" The compliments are unexpected and make me blush (as much as a gal with native american skin can blush!).

However, as a knitter, I now have a dilemma. Several of them actually: All the sweaters I knit for myself in past years now no longer fit me. My favorite green hemp sweater, which I wore for those first editorial portraits: too big. My purple tank, knit out of ribbon yarn for my interviews here at Interweave Press: too big. The blue crocheted jacket, the knitted blue tank top--both Too Big. And, last but not least: The Hot Tomato Salsa, which despite all its lovely bust darts and belly darts, is now Too Big.

Thank goodness I realized what was going on before I got too far on my Gathered Pullover, or I would have another Too Big sweater to add to the pile.

I've lost enough weight this time that I think it's going to stay off (mostly--can we all knock on wood here for a minute? thanks), so it's not a matter of boxing up the sweaters and waiting for the next Fat Season to come around. And, although I am a really good seamstress, I somehow cannot bear to simply run a line of stitching up each side to take things in. Besides, I've lost about four inches off of Certain Areas, so taking in a handknit sweater two inches on each side would end up destroying some of the drape, the beauty, and the lines of the original designs.

I don't think bust darts are going to help me here, Obi Wan Kenobi.

I realize that I might not be getting a lot of sympathy--most folks struggle with the opposite problem: what to do with our beloved handknit sweaters when we gain weight. However, either situation points to the same dilemma: You've put hours and hours into a beloved sweater for yourself, and now it no longer fits.

What's a knitter to do?

I can let the blue tank, the purple tank, and the blue crocheted jacket go. The Gathered Pullover and I can have yet another little do-over session (sigh). But the hemp top and the Hot Tomato...Those two sweaters are part of my knitting history. They've worked their way into my soul, becoming part of who I am as a knitter. How do you part with touchstones like those?

Maybe I ought to frame them, to hang on the wall of my new studio in Canada. Yes, it's true: Later this summer, I am moving to Canada to be with my beloved Nicholas. Oh, I'll still be your Knitting Daily Gal, no worries there, I'll just be working remotely from our new home just outside of Toronto. So stay tuned for more rolicking adventures, on both sides of the border.

Meanwhile, I'm working on the Drawstring Raglan, which thankfully, will be more forgiving of my changing figure.

So: What do you do when your beloved handknit sweaters no longer fit you? Leave a comment
and let us know how you handle this common, but still painful, situation.


-- Sandi


Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

 What's on Sandi's needles? Shoulders of the Drawstring Raglan. What's on Sandi's spinning wheel? Awesome handpainted alpaca fiber that badly wants to become a shawl when it grows up.

 


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Comments

ZassZ wrote
on Mar 17, 2009 4:33 PM
Sandi, June 23, 2008 you asked, "What's a knitter to do?" Approximately 193 responses from ypur readers came in to your question. It's March 17, 2009 & we're still waiting to hear WHAT did you decide to do? I am a pretty patient girl but we are Just Curious, Sandi girl!
ZassZ wrote
on Jan 21, 2009 11:24 PM
Hi Sandi, We are patiently hoping to know how you decided on those sweaters, or what suggestion you took from your readers'feedback back in end of June, 2008? Thanks in advance.
ZassZ wrote
on Dec 21, 2008 8:00 PM
Sandi, just wondering if you made the decision about these sweaters?
CherylB wrote
on Jul 26, 2008 10:08 AM

I have the problem of gaining weight and not fitting into my old clothing - knitted items or not.  Some you just get attached to as they are part of a time in your or part of your knitting history.  It has helped to give them away to a charity where I know they will be of use such as the one that gives clothing to women whose lives are starting over and they need nice clothing to go out on job interviews.  Charities such as these have made it easier to part with my beloved favorite clothing items. It makes me feel good knowing I am helping someone in need.

LiisaT wrote
on Jul 21, 2008 9:47 AM

Hi! Congratulations on your weight loss and move to Canada.  Don't believe all they say about how cold it is here, many parts of the US is a lot worse.  You mainly have to worry about the humidity of the winters and summers, I actually knit more lighter pullovers now, because the climate has gotten warmer now, than when I lived up in N. Ont. I now live near Ottawa and I'm Canadian born and raised. And I don't layer, unless I'm going walking or skiing.  With central heating, you'll be quite warm indoors.

MELISSAW wrote
on Jul 13, 2008 10:04 PM

the only correct answer is obvious: knit them again. Those sweaters looked awesome on you before: imagine how they will look now on your new and improved self! Happy knitting!

MidoriW wrote
on Jul 4, 2008 11:35 AM

Sandi,

I'd probably take "after" pictures of myself wearing the sweaters, and put them in an album side-by-side with the "before" pictures.  Sort of a visual "pat on the back".  Then... it is totally up to you.  If there are a couple that you just LOVE, there is nothing wrong, methinks, of placing them in a cedar chest.  I have a few crochetted items that my great grandmother couldn't part with, and I love them, just as a link to the women artists in my family tree.  Your heart will tell you what to do.  If letting go of them speaks to you, then you will, and it will feel right.  Trust yourself.

Midori

KayW wrote
on Jul 4, 2008 7:16 AM

Lots of great ideas....I have cut and sewn with my overlock machine - I have also made the sweaters into a patchwork jacket by cutting and redesigning ....this works with sweaters that someone felts by accident.  I buy inexpensive sweatshirts and use them as the model form. For a cardigan, cut it down the center and arrange the cut peices onto the sweatshirt with pins..  I have also given my too large sweaters to my mom and sister.  They love my hand knit items and wear them to think of me.  They are still jealous that I am 4 sizes smaller than they are but love the sweaters.  Genetics is a wonderful thing and I am gentically shaped like my dad who has become slimmer as he ages.

DebiR@2 wrote
on Jun 29, 2008 12:17 PM

Sandi, have you considered steeking? I have yet to find the courage to use scissors on my knitting, but I've seen it done, and it might work for you!

RebeccaA wrote
on Jun 28, 2008 3:18 PM

Dear Sandi,

You are definitely to be commended!  Congratulations on your successful weight loss and your move to Toronto, a city that I hope very much to revisit in the not-too-distant future!  

Frankly, most of the time, I have just worn my sweaters - too big or not - until they wore out.  However, I have also given them away to those in need.  Sometimes, I have remade them for someone else.  Personally, I think you should frame your "tomato."  You put a lot of time and effort into it, and it is certainly a work of art.  Ultimately, you are the one who knows best what to do with your lovely sweaters that you put so much time into.  Lately, I am taking a leaf from "Crazy Aunt Purl."  She suggested in regard to cleaning up and clearing out in general that it might free you - or me or anyone else - up for something better to come into your life.  It sounds to me like you have a lot of great stuff coming into your life.  Make room for it!

BethG@3 wrote
on Jun 27, 2008 8:43 PM

I give mine away and don't look back. However, I made one for my husband that was a little too big, so being the person I am, I ripped it out and made it fit him!

Jilloopy wrote
on Jun 27, 2008 4:08 PM

There is a pattern in the book "Alterknits" by Leigh Radford is a pattern to make a lap blanket out of felted sweaters, its very clever and you can have it on your couch and cover up with your favorite sweaters every time you settle in to knit on your couch! Congratulations!

customyarns wrote
on Jun 26, 2008 3:01 PM

Time to move on!  Donate to someone who appreciates the beauty and time consuming work that went into those beauties and get something new.

Linda Ostroff

Custom Yarns By Linda

www.customyarns.com

DoreenS@2 wrote
on Jun 26, 2008 9:18 AM

Congrats on the weight loss!  My energetic 93 year old dad is looking for a new occupation now that the doctor has told him to go easy on the roto-tiller!  So he asked me if I have any sweaters that he could unravel and roll up the wool.  Yes, he thought of that himself!  I am thinking of going to the thrift shop just to buy sweaters for this purpose - adding to my abundance of yarn won't be a problem for me!  You are welcome to send your sweaters and I will return them as balls of yarn for you to lovingly reknit into sweaters that fit!!

on Jun 26, 2008 8:04 AM

I just made a sweater for my mom. It was a hybrid pattern of my own invention, with a vertical lace pattern. She lives in Texas, I live in Maryland. It ended up too big. She tried blocking it longer rather than wider to no avail. Although I am dissappointed it did not fit her, she is passing it on to my Aunt Carolyn, who it should fit. As long as it goes to someone who will love it and care for it, that is all that mattters to me.

RobinF wrote
on Jun 26, 2008 6:09 AM

Well, since my beloved Moorish Sweater (you can see it on my Ravelry project page--spinnerknitter) is WAY too big since I've dropped almost 40 lbs, this is the one piece of clothing that I "keep" to remind myself NOT to gain the weight back again...besides I loved knitting this sweater so I don't have any problem knitting another!  My other sweaters are cardigans so it's sort of okay that they are a little "droopy"!

KraftyL wrote
on Jun 26, 2008 4:59 AM

Congrats on moving to Canada.  I'm sure you'll find life not all that different.  As for sweaters that don't lose weight with you....well, my sweaters have recently fallen into that category too due to illness on my part.  But, I grieved as I packed them up to donate to the Women's Crisis Center locally and then made up my mind to dwell on the positive side of this problem.  And that was ...I now have more of an excuse to buy new yarns and make more sweaters!  

Great newsletters...keep up the good work.

JuneL wrote
on Jun 25, 2008 10:05 PM

You'll be in the GTA? Yay!!!

JDC wrote
on Jun 25, 2008 8:16 PM

Perhaps instead of a sweater, it would make a nice cardigan!  I cut the fronts of several large sweaters and chopped the sleeves to 3/4 length, and made very comfy sweaters out of otherwise unused clothes.  You might even take up kumihimo or tablet weaving to braid a border for the cuts!

Another option, if it's a sweater you still want, might be to selectively ladder the sides, just like the laddered sleeves of old, cut and weave the ends in- a bit time consuming perhaps but it would preserve the design as well.

BTW, congrats on your "loss"!

on Jun 25, 2008 6:35 PM

I made the mistake of measuring my foot for some knee high socks just after my son was born. Now, a few months later, I realize that the socks are gonna be way too big in length and in circumference. Oh well! I'm gonna wear them anyway. they'll just be house socks :)

Lana wrote
on Jun 25, 2008 3:14 PM

As for the green hemp top, I say frog to the point of an empire waistline (that is if you knitted from the bottom up) and then gather the skirt of the top where all the lace is and reknit the top portion to your new size.

The tomato wasn't something that you would normally wear so keep it as an archive piece at Interweave.

And I really like what PeggyS said above that you should think about what you will wear UNDER the tops. If you put on a white cotton shirt you can wear the hemp top as a vest.

Katherine wrote
on Jun 25, 2008 1:11 PM

I'm new to this website (and blogs in general), and I'm trying to learn the lingo.  I figured out what UFOs are, but why do you call it "frogging"?  

Congratulations on losing the weight.  I got a puppy for Christmas and she's the best weight-loss program I've ever had, and she's really cute and lots of fun too!

Anne@3 wrote
on Jun 25, 2008 6:16 AM

Sandi,  we need to see the same pose as that editorial portrait so we can celebrate your weight loss with you!  How wonderful to have such a supportive husband.

Since those garments are ones that you love so much, make them again.  Think how much better they will be with your additional knowledge and experience.  Take pictures of the two side by side.  Once you have the replacements finished, it will be easier to part with the ones that don't fit.

Many have suggested donating them.  Just be aware of yarn recyclers -- people who look for hand knit garments to rip them and use the yarn for something else.  Perhaps you could find someone, even a stranger on the street, that the sweaters will fit, and make a "pay it forward" gift to someone who will appreciate them exactly as they are.

BTW, I love your irreverent style of writing.  ;)

on Jun 25, 2008 6:01 AM

Sandi, first congrats on the weight loss!  

I may not be the right person to ask what to do with the sweaters you no longer fit into because I have a tendency to save things..."sentimental pack rat" is the term I believe my family uses for me!  However, if it was me, I would put the 2 sweaters away in my hope chest.  Reason 1-- to be able to look back at them and see where you've come from and Reason 2-- to HOPE that you never go back there again!

Congrats on the weight loss, good luck on your move,  and keep up the good work!  

Betty in PA

sheeplday75 wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 8:22 PM

Sandi, Were that I were in your situation but that is awesome for you to lose the weight and keep it off!!! My hat's off to you. My solution is to recycle the yarn. I rip out old sweaters, vests, etc., and reknit them into something new in celebration of the new me. Maybe an updated pattern or the same pattern in a fresh new size. I have recycled 3 hand dyed, hand spun wool sweaters into one oversized Kaffee Fasset coat and love it.

DeeAnnB wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 6:00 PM

Oh Sandi, I love your topic!  I just started knitting a couple years ago and I've lost enough weight to go down several sizes - with projects on the needles including my first design where I lost 15 lbs between start and midway point!  I look in the mirror and smile, I look in the closet at my first fair isle, my first aran, my first.... and they don't fit anymore and I frown.  

I've got 2 sizes to go to reach my goal and I don't know what to knit - trying to find something other than socks that can handle the weight migration to smaller sizes.

I'll read every comment and follow up for ideas - if I could save my first fair isle for wear I'd be ecstatic :)

Thanks for this article and you go woman!!  Feels great to feel great!

KarenJ@2 wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 3:47 PM

Sandi, a serger will work wonders for taking in a sweater although its painful to watch your handknitting fall away. I would be tempted to take it apart and re-knit if you love the yarn! Welcome to Canada, I too live outside of Toronto. Be prepared, I carry a sweater, coats of varying thickness and a raincoat in my car at all times, Canadian weather is extremely changeable. You'll have lots of opportunities to wear you sweaters! Congrats on losing weight! While women need to be happy with what they've been given, getting healthy and fit is a great feeling

Laurenknits wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 3:39 PM

Sandi, I've been thinking a lot about your dilemma and I can't help but be reminded of the Yogic principle of Aparigraha, or non-possessiveness/non-hoarding. This principle teaches that we are happier when we are able to let go of things (material possessions, ideas, fears, pounds, etc.) that are not necessary to our lives. You may not know it, but the act of losing weight, or shedding unnecessary pounds, is part of the process of cultivating Aparigraha. In other words, you have already started this incredible journey of shedding excess baggage and making room for new things in your life. Maybe it is fitting to let go of some of the material items in your life that have now become unnecessary as a result of all of your hard work. The reality is that all the meaning you describe as being associated with your treasured knitted items is already out there in the world. The lessons you shared with all of us as you knitted the Hot Tomato are part of all of us now, whether the sweater is in your closet or not. In other words, the meaningful intangible aspects of all of those knitted garments are part of you and part of the world, regardless of whether you hold on to the physical items. Maybe letting go will be cathartic for you, making room for the next chapter in your life. Why look backwards and re-knit things you have already made when you could give those items away and move on to knitting new items for the new you? If you want to read more about Aparigraha, here's a good article: www.instantgoodkarma.org/Aparigraha.html. Best of luck, whatever you decide!

NatalieN wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 3:22 PM

I saw a photo of you the other day with your hair cut, and thought, "Wow, she looks nice - the haircut was a great change. Now I know that it must also be because you have lost weight as well. Congrats on the new you! Here's to knitting a second even more shapely hot tomato!

MarqueL wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 3:09 PM

I experienced the same problem a few years ago and while I have regained some of the weight I lost,it hasn't been the entire 90 pounds. Needless to say my dog walking sweater really didn't fit when it got done! I frogged it!* Yes I did I took the whole thing apart ripped the seams out and took it down to the balls of it all. And then I re-knit it from the same pattern. It is really hard to do that but sometimes you just have to. Congratulations on the lost weight! Keep walking that pup and you'll keep it off! I have a sister who used to live in Scarbrough just outside Toronto and it is beautiful up there! Enjoy you new home. Now you can knit some curtains!

*fortunately I had not done the duplicate stitch on the back yet!!!

BurgessK wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 2:53 PM

I give away most sweaters that no longer fit me. Alas, it is seldom because they are too big.

JaniceT wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 2:44 PM

I was just thinking about this very subject.  I have finally started to knit some things for myself, but I am also losing weight.  I've decided that if I really love something, I will reknit it.  If not, then I'll give it away to charity.

Kate M. wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 12:42 PM

Sandi, you rock!  I agree with the idea of taking a deep breath and tearing it all out, to be re-done as either the same thing or as a new thing.  I do that frequently with yarn that I really love, because it's the journey, not the destination.  Oh, yeah, I do like to show off the finished product, but if it isn't turning out as I had hoped, or if I change my mind, I just undo it and start over.  This makes my husband nuts; I think he thinks knitting and crocheting (and jewelry-making) are chores, instead of things I enjoy doing for their own sakes.  Imagine all the deep problems that have been knit through and resolved...

As long as the re-using doesn't wreck the yarn, re-use it.  Or give it to someone who will.  Or donate the item to a cause or person who will use it for a wider purpose.

My theory of UFOs is that once the project is near to finishing it isn't quite as interesting any more.  Maybe that is what is holding you back from re-working?

In any case, best of luck in your new home, and meet some friends to talk this out with face-to-face!

dianecaudle wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 12:06 PM

I think you should either try to "resize" the sweaters by ripping out the seams (if they exist) and cinch them in tighter, or donate them to a women's shelter. One of my first sweaters (I usually just jump right into something) was a horseshoe cable sweater. Unfortunately, being new to knitting, I didn't know about gauge, etc. Of course, the sweater was WAAYY too big for me, but I wore it anyway. It was made from an acrylic yarn, so (dumb me) when I tried to shrink it, it actually streched out. Now, there's a woman at the shelter that is loving this sweater. Last suggestion would be to take photos of them before you give them away. Wish I had done that! Oh, well, live and learn!

DonnaS wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 11:53 AM

I can hardly wait to see the comments, because I am losing a substantial amount of weight for medical reasons.  And this situation has crossed my mind, even though I am a "newbie" to knitting.  Now, I'm wondering how to take the one sweather I've knitted and make it work for me.  

RosanneB wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 11:36 AM

I think you'll enjoy the move.  It's been a while since I've been to the Toronto area but the city and the nearby countryside were really great.

I've also lost a lot of weight recently but don't have any FOs that need to be resized.  But, I have a scarf that I learned to knit lace with that I wouldn't part with for anything.  I'd opt for displaying them in a shadowbox type frame on the walls of your studio.

Vicki@3 wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 11:30 AM

How about an online sweater exchange for sweaters that don't fit? <grin>

JannyW wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 11:25 AM

Yay, Sandi, on the weight loss!!  I lost 50 lbs on Weight Watchers and have kept it off for over a year, so I know how hard it is.

I haven't had any sweaters to deal with, but lots of favorite t-shirts that I can't part with.  I'm thinking about making a quilt with my faves ... could you do that or maybe a throw with your sweaters?  

And there's always Freecycle ...

HarrietG wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 11:00 AM

re: sweaters don't lose weight with you

Fortunately I have the same problem.  What i've done is given some of my too big sweaters to good friends.  They were thrilled and asked for more.

I also love the idea of making them into pillows

Harriet

SHARONR@3 wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 10:58 AM

Congrats on the weight loss.  You have lot's and lot's of great ideas as to what to do.   I can't come up with anything new.  But I do have one question.  I LOVE the green sweater.  Where can I find that pattern???

Thanks!  And best wishes on your move to Toronto.  I understand it's a beautiful city.  Have fun.  Sharon

ChristineL@3 wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 10:48 AM

I have a friend who has converted some of the sweaters that she knit for her daughter, but which are now outgrown, into pillows and bags by felting them.  Her daughter loves having her old sweaters in a new form that she'll never outgrow.

on Jun 24, 2008 10:34 AM

Dear Susan, I should be so lucky. Here's what I would do. unravel them.to make something that fits o,r barring that give them to a charity that dtakes clothes, I am sure there is someone who would appreciate your heart.work.    Janice

MichelleS wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 10:17 AM

I think the idea from LeeG is the best. If you are not brave enough to do the steeking method yourself, I am sure you have a friend/coworker who can help you draw out the shaping in chalk and sew away.  What do you have to lose? Any damage could be hidden if framed.

SusanC@6 wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 9:39 AM

As a clothing salesperson, I have found that you can make even knit sweaters and skirts fit almost everyone, within a couple of sizes. I caution against making permanent changes in a beloved garment until you have locked in at a particular weight for --sorry -- a year (Weight moves around as you exercise, tone. In the meantime:  1) Find where you formerly loved the draped and try pinning it at that spot. Your drape may come back, or you curves may be accentuated in a way you really like. If it works, tack the sweater very carefully with the closest possible yarn you can find. If the sweater pulls add another tack, or go to a tailor for their advice. Also consider crocheting your tacks in place rather than sewing them. 2) If it works with the style of the sweater, belt it. 3) Trying the blocking/shrinking approach. 4) Finally, if you're sure the weight is going to stay off, consider tailoring the piece with a serger (or having a professional do so). Make sure you love the new drape when it's pinned or basted. Otherwise, tuck it away. I collect clothing, and at 50, I've already spent to years finding beloved vintage pieces in my own wardrobe. It you love it enough, you'll wear it again. As Austin Powers would say, "Style it Baby" (BTW, please forgive me if your a reverential knitter. I'm just the type who loves messing  and having fun with the things I really love until they work. My 10 cents.

JessP wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 9:33 AM

I'm with you on this one.  I recently lost about 30 lbs and most of my clothes no longer fit me.  There's only so many I can buy on a limited budget.  :)  

bigskybw wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 8:57 AM

Way to go Sandi.  Let your dog wear the sweaters.  After all he helped you lose the weight.

asmrtckie wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 8:49 AM

Turn that love into something fresh. Many years ago, my mom made me this beautiful plaid color-blocked sweater--very complicated. It's enormous on me but I have to keep it.

My plan is to copy this very stylish large hobo bag I found. I'm terrified to start the process but I'd rather try to make this beautiful item into something I love (and possibly screw up!) than to have it languishing forever in a storage trunk.

SeannaL wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 8:45 AM

Losing weight in a healthy fashion is a great achievement, and one I can completely sympathize with.  I lost about 50 pounds over the course of a year and a half, which rendered a lot of things I made completely ill suited for my new smaller shape.

Most of these items I gave away to friends (in one case after the first wash and wear the garment had grown well past what I thought it would do, so it didn't fit even before I lost weight).  Some of them I frogged to reuse the yarn for a different project.  Many of them are still sitting there waiting for little changes... smaller elastic in a waistband, belt loops, etc.  

I'd try to be willing to let go.  Find a new pattern that you completely adore and use it to make a new sweater for your knitting history.  Take a new picture for your Knitting Daily and let the world know what has happened to you.  Being healthy and happy is a wonderful thing to show even if you have to lose a hand knit or two along the way.

RachelF wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 8:19 AM

The tomato would make a cool knitting bag?

SarahH wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 8:12 AM

First of all congratulations on the weight lose. You make it sound easy but it really is a big achievement.

Next, I don't know if you have any plans for children in your future but I found it was really nice to have some clothes that were bigger than my normal size for pregnancy clothes. Especially in the earlier days before my belly got to big and I had to give in to the cheap poorly made of the rack maternity clothes.

I also really liked having some larger clothes for the postpartum days when I was trying to get back to that ever elusive prepregnancy weight, which became a longer and longer process with each progressive child. I got to be reaquainted with some old favorites for a period of time.

Sarah

JackieJ@2 wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 8:09 AM

congratulations on the weight loss Sandi, sometimes our favorite things just have to be saved.  Display it in your knitting room as a wall hanging and enjoy looking at your accomplishment.

Jackie

BethM@4 wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 8:02 AM

I either frog the sweater, or give it to someone who can wear it.  Though, my sweaters are getting too small rather than too big (darn food).

CarolS wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 8:01 AM

I do this almost every time - I forget something I wanted to write or ask...

It's a question:  Sandi, what is the brand of the Sage shade of the yarn of your green hemp sweater?

Thanks,...Carol S.

TamaraM wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 8:00 AM

I have absolutely nothing to add but to reiterate the congratulations on your move to Toronto (very jealous), your being reunited with Nicholas, who sounds like quite a catch, and your losing the weight you wanted to lose and feeling that sense of accomplishment.  As for the sweaters, any of the ideas are good--what you do with them is entirely up to you! Best of luck in your new body, country, life!

StephanieP wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 7:58 AM

Do you love the yarn in the sweaters? Frog them and remake something wonderful for the new skinny you.

You don't love the yarn that much?  Do you know anyone who would appreciate the sweater as much as you?  Give the sweater to that person.

You can just "move on" and declutter you life.   But I usually un-do the sweater and create something else.

Just my 2 cents.  :-)

CarolS wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 7:56 AM

First of all - YAY!  Your husband cooks Vegetarian!  

I'm a Vegan so it's always cool to hear or read that about a friend.

Here's a silly suggestion first - wash and furiously dry them, then they'll be the size of Tree ornaments and you can hang them on your Balsam this next coming Solstice Season.

Well, I suppose you may either:

Gently launder, reblock, dry, then fold and store for others as gifts.

Or...redux!  Yes, it will take time, but if you do love those pieces and wish to wear them, redux is the key.

Good Luck!

Peace, Carol S.

nstilwagen wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 7:56 AM

Good work, achieving something many of us struggle with!

If you can't bear to have these sweaters out of your life, why not give them to a good friend or family member - at least you'll get to see it from time to time!

PeggyS@2 wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 7:23 AM

Well, I would first say Congratulations, second I hate you (kidding of course) and third it is good that the sweaters are too big since you are moving to a Cold client you will need to Layer clothes so perhaps think of what you will put under them.......

DeannaT wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 7:14 AM

Wow, too small for your clothes is one of the best problems imaginable.  Reward yourself with a nice big bag of really expensive luscious yarn.  Move ahead, and don't look back.

By the way, welcome to Canada, the best country in the world!  Trade in your gun for a coffee machine, and don't forget your woolies.  You'll need them for watching hockey in February!  Cliche isn't it?

Anyway, though I am from the west, where the "real" Canadians live (hehe) Toronto is a wonderful city.  Lots of opportunity, things to see and do, and good cold sweater weather too.  Check out the Bata shoe museum!

AlynB wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 6:59 AM

Congratulations on your weight loss.  It would be great to have a current picture of you wearing your two favorite sweaters so we can all celebrate with you.

I usually get attached to the yarn, not the actual sweater.  So, I rip and re-knit.  I have a cardigan made from thick and thin wool that I bought in Denmark in 1978.  The cardigan is the third iteration of  use as sweater styles have changed greatly since 1978 and I can't let go of the yarn.  If you really love the whole sweater, rip and re-knit.  Why not celebrate your new body by letting it keep your favorites around?

oddduck25 wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 6:22 AM

Good for you with the weight loss!  As a seamstress and a knitter, I don't see much of a dilemma here.  If a sweater fits everywhere except for the side seams, I would re-seam the sides, machine sew just inside that line inside the garment, then serge the extra fabric off.  Yes, I know what it would do to the yarn, but I also know what it would do for your self-image to be able to wear them again!  I wouldn't have time to re-knit (or re-sew) my whole wardrobe either.

If it's too big for "the ladies" as well as around the arms and everywhere else, send it off to a good home and know that it's bringing someone else as much joy as it brought you!  As the mother of two rapidly growing boys, that lesson is repeated every season at our house with toys AND clothes!  Although naturally they've had the polar opposite problem you're having...

I have made some of my favorites from their little sweaters into pillows (just to prove I'm not completely emotionally devoid when it comes to fiber in all its forms).

GretchenF wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 6:10 AM

This happened to me last year! I had a pile of favorite clothes in the bottom of my closet for awhile and have slowly started to let them be free. Passing them on to people close to me when I can. I like the photo idea.

Good luck and congratulations!

MelodyC@2 wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 5:45 AM

I really understand your dilemma about favorite sweaters and congratulate you on your weight loss.

Mine was not a weight loss problem but climate problem.  I fell in love with this wonderful sweater (a Noro pattern) and had some Noro Transitions I had purchased on sale.  The pattern and yarn matched up perfectly and it knitted up like a dream.  The only change I made was shortening the length of the turtleneck -- otherwise it would have been up to my nose.

I live in Tennessee and that type of sweater is not idea for this climate (its not cold enough here).  After wearing the sweater twice, I took it with me when I went up to visit with my parents in CT and gave it to my sister who lives just north of Boston.  She LOVED the sweater.  I really hated giving the sweater up, but my sister (who is more cold natured than I am) loved the sweater and now her twin sister (who lives in New Jersey), wants me to make one for her, which I will gladly do.

sarahquaint wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 5:29 AM

I've generally had good luck passing a too-big-or-too-small sweater onto my mom or my sister, but I've got quite a few lovely handknits from my grandmother that are just plain too small for anyone in my family. They're in a cedar chest at the moment, but I hate that they're stored away when they should be enjoyed. I am tempted to convert them into pillows, as one can never have too many of those.

Luck to you with the move!

JoanneK wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 5:18 AM

Dang, now Toronto has two of the best Knitters, you and YarnHarlot.   Sounds like a Toronto knitting retreat should happen in the fall!

Best wishes, glad you and your beloved will be together!

LouH wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 5:06 AM

Well, If the sweater is wool I felt it and then sew it into something else - teapot cozies are very popular in my crowd.

And non-feltable sweaters can be turned into fun totebags - just add a fabric lining.

SierraP wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 4:53 AM

I recently lost 25 pounds and had the same problem.  Many of my sweaters are made from my handspun -- so if they are too big they will get taken apart and re-knitted. One NEVER wastes handspun! One sweater was made from very feltable wool,  It was the Alice Starmore Cromarty sweater -- so I felted it -- ever so slightly and everyone thought it looked better.  Any other sweaters I just wear baggy -- I am a cowboy action shooter and often shoot in cold weather (live in Ohio) so layers are good and over sized sweaters are perfect for layering.

Find another use for them, or take them apart and sew them into something different -- but don't get rid of them!

LennyT wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 4:43 AM

When my Mom passed away I received several of her sweaters, some of them I made for her.  They were too large for me so I made them into pillows.  I used yarn to sew across the neckline, armholes and part of the bottom of the sweater.  Filled with fiberfill and then sew the remaining bottom.  Wrap the arms around the pillow and tie.      I have since made some for friends whose parents or siblings have passed away and call them, "Hugs from Momma".  

Fliss wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 3:06 AM

Congrats on the weight loss - your body will love you for it.  And what motivation - what an excuse to have to go knit a whole new pile of sweaters.  I'm with the "off to the charity shop" camp but I think you have to keep some of the bigger "more sweater than top" ones - demote them to the role of cuddly by the fire sweaters - it's awful cold in Canada in the winter! Fliss

MaryA@3 wrote
on Jun 24, 2008 3:06 AM

Hi Sandi  I too have lost weight this past year, 30 lbs.  Right now I am taking apart a tank top I made and really like and am making it in a smaller size.  Another problem  have is finging really small patterns, like for a cest of 33.  LOL  You are great and I am still going to make the tomato sweater!

Mary Anne

on Jun 24, 2008 2:20 AM

Take lots of photographs!

Then - on a brave day, frog them, skein them, and wash and hang up the skeins.

You loved this yarn when you knit with it the first time, and now you get to knit with it all over again! you could remake an item, or make something totally new! but you'd be saving money (because a garment's worth of yarn, is never cheap!), you'd be breathing new life into yarn that still has a lot of great wear in it, and just think - all that wonderful knitting to do! :)

JoanneM wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 11:40 PM

Dear Sandi ~ Cherish the memories you had making those favorite sweaters! Now, one by one, 'tink'  and enjoy re-knitting either a new design or the same sweater!  If recreating an 'old friend', you will have fun going down memory lane - and may even have enough leftovers to make a matching accessory...for yourself or your loving husband.

Lana wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 11:37 PM

Well, when a sweater is too small you can always drop some stitches at the sides and weave in some extra yarn to fill in the ladders. And that might also work for a too big sweater; just drop some stitches and reknit them in the purl direction or perhaps make two rows of stitches where there was only one before. It will make the gauge tighter also so it depends on the original drape of the gauge.

JulieT wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 11:23 PM

Get rid of them and start fresh, QUICK! Keeping your eyes on the past is WAY TOO DEBILITATING... You're missing out on the good stuff even by worrying about it. Fill your heart with love for all the good people in your life, and go ahead and knit them something instead of lamenting an imaginary loss. I mean really, what Have you lost? SOME WEIGHT! Skip for joy, and lose the things that make you wish you could stay fat.

on Jun 23, 2008 11:20 PM

My first sweater though lovely only fit me for a couple of months before I hit puberty. It was very complicated with bobbles and eight needles at the yoke. So precious that I saved it. My daughter,Oriana, who is just 7 started wearing it to school a couple of weeks ago.

StephanieR@2 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 10:30 PM

I have had the same problem in the past.  I've saved the old sweaters long enough now  that I am ready to unravel them and do something new. But my new problem is I keep thinking I'm going to try to loose more weight so I'm just knitting small projects not wanting to start something big until I've reached my desired weight.  At my age that may never happen!!  I really want to start a large project but none of my good friends are my size and I don't want to spend that much time and love into a project I can't wear.  I guess I will just finish the baby sweater I'm working on and then maybe some more socks!

Deb@5 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 10:21 PM

Newbie & first ever comment:  I say pack your well-loved sweaters carefully away in a box and haul them around with you, looking at them once every year or so, until you're good and ready to part with your old friends. Also, I'm on the opposite end of Canada, but would still like to say Welcome! (almost), I hope you'll like it here, and thanks for all your great newsletters!

MarieK wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 10:20 PM

I'm assuming you don't have a friend that is the size you used to be, who would love your handknitted sweaters nearly as much as you love them...  (most of my wrong-sized handmade clothes end up on the backs of my best friends who then show them "much love" before wearing them out or passing them along) Therefore, I agree that you should auction them off through Knitting Daily or Interweave Press to raise money for charity! Since I'm about the same size as the measurements you took for the Hot Tomato, I'm hoping for a chance to bid on that one!

Weezerscaddy wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 10:10 PM

There have been so many that have said it, but I agree....rip it out and remake it.  Now that you're all fantabulous with the bust darts, you can make the Hot Tomato even hotter on your new figure, and your lovely purple tank and other sweaters will gain a few degrees as well.

If there are one or two that are meant to be on the boxy side, hang on to them to layer over other clothes.  THat way you stay warm on those cold Candaian nights.

Besides, framing them wouldn't show how great they look ON.  

LindaP@11 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 10:01 PM

When this happenend to me (I lost 70 pounds and neede a whole new wardrobe) I gave away the old and tired knitteds, and unravelled and re-knitted the good stuff. One alpaca aran cardigan is still a favourite......

gonzopants wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 9:49 PM

Money is super-tight around here, so I'd frog them & make new things.

MeganMills wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 9:49 PM

What did I do?

I kept them.

I got fat again.

Don't say you weren't warned!

Yes, they were part of your life.  So was the fat.  Do the same thing you did with the fat - turn it into something else or get rid of it! ;-)

VirgadeanR wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 9:40 PM

I agree either donate them directly to charity, donate them to another knitter that is the size you were.  I also like the idea of taking them apart and re-knitting them in your size.  You won't have the worries of not liking the finished product!

BarbaraS@5 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 9:09 PM

Congratulations on new environs up north and pounds heading south!

I lost 112 pounds for health reasons and confronted the same decisions. After much thought I realized that there was a direct correlation between the amount of time that it took me to complete a sweater and my attachment. (The longer it took to make, the more attached I felt.) Also if the yarn gives birth to a sweater that is so visually and tactilely appealing, it can be like having to give up your baby blanket all over again!

Another factor that kept me from "letting go" was if there happened to be a special memory surrounding the yarn acquisition and/or the finished sweater itself (e.g. While traveling 65 MPH on route to take my daughter to sleepover camp for the first time, she and her friend yelled in unison "STOP THE CAR!!!" In my panic I admit that I did come to a full stop -momentarily- in the middle of the highway. The reason for their pre-adolescent urgency was for me to notice the "Fine Yarn" sign on the building of Grace Robinson's gournet yarn store, which is visible from the highway entering Freeport, Maine. Although it has been 7 years since that initial "detour," -and many subsequent visits-this story has become urban family legend as recounted by my daughter in a humorously twisted account of how she almost did not survive the trip to summer camp "because of Mom's yarn addiction". )

Anyway back to the issue at hand-- After much angst, I decided which yarns were must-keeps. With lots of assistance, I took the sweaters apart, washed the yarn in loose hanks and rewound for future remakes. Then I let several friends chose the sweaters that they would like.  The remaining sweaters were donated to charity.

Now I know the special benefits that the smaller knitter may take for granted. There is money saved by not having to buy extra skeins beyond the amount designated for the largest size in the pattern. Also I don't miss the math headaches that I suffered from figuring out how to super-size a pattern!  Embrace the new you!!         Knittini

on Jun 23, 2008 8:42 PM

I have a sweater I just love too much to retire.  it is a woman's size 24, and I am now an 18/20!  This was just the right size to snuggle my first grandchild in with me.  It got dubbed the "Bubbie Sweater".  We still snuggle in it now, after almost 5 years.  Soon it will be a "one person" sweater again, but not too soon!

UlrikeB wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 8:40 PM

I am really glad for you and know that problem a tiny bit. Since most of my sweaters I knit for myself in the overweight period (which hopefully stays away now, thank you very much) are model 'le sac' and pure handspun wool, I don't really have to do much else but to wash them with more agitation as usual ;o)

Still, there are two, I actually fitted to my figure when I decided it's no use struggling (that came just before I startet to loose weight, obviously) For one frogging is no option because of the yarn, so I will look for someone who is more fitting.

I think, even if we love those sweaters, it still is a part of you that needs shedding, as a part of your weight loss. Give the new Sandi a chance to make new, beautiful, fitting sweaters.

UlrikeB in Germany

junglygirl wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 8:23 PM

In your case...I would celebrate!!  What a grand excuse (not that you need one) to dive into new knitting projects - perhaps ones that you hadn't considered before, but would now allow you to embrace the new svelte figure...or perhaps frog the favorites and redo in the new sizing, bust darts and all (think of all the math you could enjoy ...)

If you can bear to part - consider how much a handknit sweater could mean to someone who is living in a women's shelter? Or to a new immigrant trying to adjust to our climate?? ( something YOU will be doing soon enough...)

perhaps you need to recycle all that glorious yarn and wait until the new  'just right ' project for it arrives.

What a delicious dilemma you have!  And welcome to Canada!!

PattyJ wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 8:16 PM

My sister didn't lose any weight so I gave the really nice gray alpaca cardigan to her.  She likes it.  If I keep regaining weight :(, however, I may ask for it back.  Patty in  CA

Joyannerose wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 7:58 PM

I don't knit, I crochet.  And I'm actually jealous of your problem, but I had a good idea.  You can take a picture of them, and make a coaster, or placemats or something like that, or on a mug.  I saw something similar on Rachael Ray some time in this past year.  You put the picture between 2 pieces of hard plastic. I'm not sure exactly, but  I would check a craft store to see what options you had. I'm sure they have lots of ideas for pictures.  You could also blow up and frame the pictures for your studio.  Then if you do donate them, you will always have a reminder that you could use every day.  Or even if you do remake them.

Suzanne M.B wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 7:56 PM

Congratulations. I have the opposite problem, my weight went up!!I  If it was a yarn I really liked, I would take the yarn apart and make a smaller version of the sweater. If I was not wild about the sweater and loved the yarn, I would recycle it into a more current style.  If I did not like either the sweater or the yarn, then I would donate it so someone else could wear it and enjoy.

SusanS wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 7:55 PM

I haven't ever really given much thought to the question you posed, but I think your idea of framing the knits and hanging them in your sewing/knitting/craft room or office or elsewhere in the house is novel and would be one good soluution. Alternatively, how about taking those knits [in tact, or at least to the degree possible] and either working them into a quilt or wallhanging or afghan. You could also simply resue the wool to make an 'special'  commemmorative afghan of those beloved knits that you can no longer wear but can also not bear to part with.

S Schein

HollyS wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 7:52 PM

Wow - you've really struck a chord here.  My vote (if your tallying) is to donate.  Nobody where you live it gets cold at night (even here in San Diego when we're breaking all kinds of temp records during the day).

As for the weight loss, I have a slightly different dilemma... I am in the process of losing weight, have about 40 to go), and want to know these delightful sweaters - one with Berocco bamboo yarn and the other a Fair Isle sweater kit (already have the sleeves knit up since my arms don't change much).

But what size to knit?  It takes me a while to knit up a sweater, and I'm not at the size I want to knit for yet.  What to do? What to do? What to do?

So right now, I'm knitting "spa cloths" while I ponder this dillemma, because I must knit.  

Kangamom wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 7:47 PM

first off, congrats on the weight loss. That is really cool. Second, I think that you should let the ones you can live without go. Third, if it were me, (which, hopefully it will be by next year) and you love them and want to actually wear them, I would rip them out and re knit them. My friend did this with her favorite sweater, and I see her wearing it all the time. Its still her favorite, maybe even more so. Good luck!!

PatM@3 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 7:39 PM

Cheers for the weight loss, AND replace your favorite sweaters with the proper size and give the old ones away to a good cause. You deserve new to go with the "new you".  The other stuff is needless baggage, let it go.. Pat M. Rome, NY

DebbieR@2 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 7:32 PM

I don't have a suggestion for the sweaters.....but I do want to WELCOME YOU TO CANADA!!!

I live in London, about 1 1/2 hours (or 2 depending on how you drive:-) from Toronto.....

:-D

MaryaB wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 7:21 PM

I think you should approach this like maternity wear; as soon as you get rid of the last piece you will get pregnant again. Keep the"fat sweaters' so as to ward off future fat.

on Jun 23, 2008 7:18 PM

How about an online raffle for the sweaters and then donate the money raised to one of the great groups that knit for charity?

p.s. Congrats on the weight loss!

UshaFHR wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 7:08 PM

There are so many responses already I couldn't read right through all of them - but I did note again and again that people are wanting you to post a pic of your "now" figure, to compare, I guess, with the "then' you posted. They must have missed the IWK Spring 2008 Gallery, with that remarkable pic of you in the Sylph cardigan "Her bust: 39.5" 4.5" negative ease. For those of you paying close attention: Yes, Sandi has lost a lot of weight, and yes, her bust measurement is now 4" smaller than it was six months ago." (I also happen to love the IWK Summer 2008 Gallery pic of the Wallis on you, though you say you had to be very brave to put it on - with  7.75" negative ease). Of course, there's also the Summer 2008 Gallery pic of you exceeding even that negative ease, in the skinny original of the Drawstring Raglan you're knitting now (8.5"). Take a look, folks - as Sandi said herself, "The 40" size has a 48.5" hip circumference, which is perfect for my new slimmer 43.5" hips: that will fit around them, allowing some extra fabric for the pleats. Nice!"

So many posts recommend you lose those Pieces of Your Knitting History. Well, I'm bravely here to say Don't. Don't you dare! Keep the Hot Tomato, keep the Hemp. I have a couple of dresses from many years ago hanging in my closet. I was minute! Even my skeleton gained in largesse after I turned 40. Those dresses hold such treasured memories, of the times I had and the people I had them with - but they also speak volumes to the children and teenagers, young women and menfolk of my acquaintance who marvel on meeting them as they hang up their coats in the entrance closet where they live. Our bodies CHANGE. Keep those two pieces of your History, for the stories others will come to treasure (I love the voices crying "Tell her, tell him, tell us the story again, pleeease"). Or keep them just for you to remember, if you never regain that voluptuous figure you knitted to fit, that once you were thus, and we so loved you thus. I happen to LOVE the suggestion of making them into pillows. Go on, Sandi, be a fearless seamstress - sew up a carefully shaped pillow to fill those Hot Tomato curves: do it for Nicholas! My father used to say of my mother "I like a woman with a bit of flesh on her". If Nicholas' excellent cooking continues to shed what my father would have valued so, maybe Nicholas will come to appreciate having his buxom Hot Tomato pillowy you to hug again, now and then!

GeorgetteT wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 7:07 PM

I'm sure I'm not your only reader who has been cheering you on as your weight loss showed in succeeding pics.    I know all too well about attachments to things--I have a terrible time getting rid of stuff.  You could mount those sweaters and hang them in your home office, or you could do some serious froggingand redo them.   Or you could have professional photos taken and mounted on your office wall, and sell the original articles on E-bay to benefit a charity of your choice, such as an organization to promote teaching knitting and crocheting to young people to pass it on for future generations.  

Now, I DO think, in honor of your impending move, you should knit a commemorative new sweater.  I really think you would look smashing in the "Molly Ringwald", in a color you particularly love.

Enjoy your new home and spoil your husband--it never hurts.  

Heather T wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 7:04 PM

A lady in my knitting group ripped all of her sweaters back and used the yarn to knit new sweaters - not the same sweaters in a smaller size, but completely new sweaters - that fit and were up-to-date fashion-wise.  It was a good year on her yarn budget!

RaniM wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 7:03 PM

If you want to repurpose, I would cut them into patches with steeking around to keep it all from unravelling, pick a lucky mom/baby to be, and make a kickin' patchwork baby blanket, because mom's keep their baby's blankets until babies are old enough to cherish them too. And you could be creating a family heirloom that will be passed on for many generations or at least very loved by one sweet newcomer to this world. Good luck deciding. I also second the whole winter sweaters need to be too big on me so I can fit tons of layers under them for Maine winters notion.

ZassZ wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 6:38 PM

    I would 'love' to see you shrink them.  Just close your eyes and drop them into the machine and see what you get!  

    If they turn out you will  still have them - as they seem dear to you.  

    If you shrink them too much, then you can stitch them  into handbags and best of all you will still be able to wear your dear sweaters with all the sentiment still attached.  

    If you still want to give them away, I would have a party and make each one a different 'door prize'.  

Cheryl@2 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 6:36 PM

Have you considered INTENTIONALLY shrinking them?  

And Congrats on the new figure... just in case you wonder where the rest of you went...um..I think I found it...somewhere right behind me!

Baraka wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 6:35 PM

Congratulations, Sandi - a new home, a full-time marriage, and a svelte Sandi in one fell(ed) swoop.  And GTA!  Isn't that also known as "yarn heaven?"

I'm not an accomplished sweater knitter, having done mostly baby sweaters, and last winter I completed the Cobblestone for my son - it's now undergoing renovation because the sleeves were too long - and my first sweater for me.  No pattern, just the most scrumptious Louisa Harding silk/alpace teal stuff in a simple top-down raglan.  But it only fits in the shoulders and arms, and the body is probably at least 6" too big all the way around.  I'm determined to frog it back to the armpits and reknit that portion because it's my first and by Goddess, I'm going to wear it!

But the idea of having a multitude of too-big sweaters is a whole different kettle of dye.  Donating is my favorite way to go, but given that hand-knits do require care may mean, as someone stated above, that a womens' shelter occupant might inadvertently find herself with a toddler sized designer item.  So, I'm going to vote for raffling the sweater off here on the blog, and asking for donations to that shelter instead of bids (kind of like what your new neighbor the Harlot does for MSF.)  That way, the shelter gets funding, and some lucky person gets a new sweater - and the recipient will surely be kind enough to send you a photo of the gift sweater on its new owner.  

And if you write to a deadline, extra blog fodder is not something to take lightly!

Again, congratulations on the changes in your life!

DianeD wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 6:22 PM

CONGRATS Sandi -  how wonderful it is to have a "positive dilemma"   ............  losing weight and needing new clothes   ha ha .....  

I've been holding myself back from knitting sweaters because I'm in the process of weight loss so I had decided to spend all last winter knitting baby items in different sizes and using up my pastel and primary color stash in the interim.   I still look at my "future sweater stash" and dream but find that I've changed my tastes in styles since I've become a member of this group.  So many to choose from and no pressure yet to start them.  It's not easy to do, but everytime I see a sweater I would like to make for myself, I put the pattern into a special folder and when I get to my "desired" weight which should be by Christmas if I stay on my plan then I'll treat myself to my own special sweater as a reward.   In the meantime,  I've made several baby sweaters, afghans, pramghans (car seat blankets) and am now making mittens/toques with leftover wool - what a great way to use the stash.    

Congrats again, and just keep this going,  this is the best place to be (website) at the end of a long work day.   You all inspire me !!!!  Thank you.  Di

AnsleyD wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 6:20 PM

If a sweater is knit in pieces, you can always re-seam the sides. If it is knit in the round, cut it and sew in new seams.

Ansley Bleu

LindaR@3 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 6:14 PM

From a person who has gone through may changes in their body, just give those sweaters up!  I know you want to keep your work around but if you keep them then you will have something to wear if you even think about gaining back your weight.  If a person were very adventurous they might re-knit the sweater with the old used yarn.  Sort of a recycle of your yarn.  I, on the other hand, like to shop for new yarn and patterns so that my friends at the yarn shop don't forget what I look like.  I am proud of your lose.  Keep it up.

Linda Robbins

Slickchick wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 6:14 PM

If I really love the colour of the sweater, I unravel it and reknit it.  I am currently reknitting a gorgeous shade of emerald green that was originally knit up as a cable sweater. It was oversize to start with and after having finished with having  babies, way too big.  I have never seen that colour wool again and so rather than rue it, I reknit it. I did the same with a tweedy wool and knit it up into one of Kathy Zimmerman's sweater a couple of years ago. I'm still wearing it.

As an aside, I have met a local woman who buys sweaters at thrift shops, paints tham with dye, washes and unravels them (or vice versa) and reknits them.  They are works of art.

LucyP wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 6:04 PM

Turn them into tote-bags and auction them off for charity......New you, new use for the sweater, new purpose for someone in need.

AliceE@2 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 6:04 PM

Congratulations on a great achievement!  I am quite a novice knitter, so others may have much better suggestions.  In case it helps, I have gathered most of the yarn for my "learning to knit" projects from the 99c sales at the local thrift store.  On Monday, tags of one color all sell for 99c.  I have been able to unravel the yarn where people who bought good yarn but didn't quite have the fashion sense have consigned it to the thrift store.  Soaking it and hanging it, it comes of well.

So, it MIGHT work and be a pretty cool photo project to unravel the sweaters and knit them again, the same way but with a new size.  You would have the photos of the original you and the orginal sweater--and then have the new you and the new sweater.

Aside from that, I really think there is no harm in keeping adored objects until one is ready to let them go.  I have a Memorabilia box that I go through periodically--and find there are things to add and things I am ready to let go of.

SharonH wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 6:02 PM

I guess I'm fortunate that even losing or gaining 60-80 lbs doesn't make my frame look that much different.  My shoulders and ribs are so broad that they don't change shape that much.  I lose it all off my hips and extremeties, but I still wear the same size tops now at 260 lbs as I did at 180 lbs (which for me, was my marathoning, running 40 miles a week weight ;) I'm also tall).  That's why it's hard for me to understand why people would care if they lost 20 lbs.  If I lose 20 lbs, no one can tell (except for me because I feel slightly better)

Pants are another story, but I don't tend to knit those.

Peaceful Sea wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:55 PM

Sandi, I have to admit that this is the biggest reason that I have yet to undertake my first sweater. Not a lack of confidence but a fear that by the time I actually finish it I will have changed size again and it won't fit. (I've never stayed the same size for very long.) Maybe oneday, but for now I think I will stick with socks. The reason I learned to knit in the first place.

As for your beloved sweaters, there is a time for everything. It is ok to hold on to them untill you feel less of an attachment and feel you can part with them. Who knows, you may have a moment of insperation one day and know just what to do with them. Or make a new friend who is just that size.

Peaceful Sea

BerniP wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:52 PM

I'm a slow knitter.  I made a sweater in 4X.  By the time I finished it, I was in a size 1X.  I'm giving it to my sister, who is the same size I was.

I had almost enough yarn leftover to make another sweater.  I ordered a few more skeins and knit a second in size L.  I'm almost done with the second sleeve, so this one should fit!

on Jun 23, 2008 5:47 PM

Well, the yarn seems compatible so I'd un-do them all and weave the fabric into something that reminds me of all the joy of the first accomplishment (actually knitting them) and the 2nd accomplishment...losing enough weight to need to create the 3rd accomplishment...weaving it.  

Charlene Fort

Lily1214 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:46 PM

Congratulations on the weight loss and the move to Toronto.  We have cousins living there and they love it! When I lose weight I just donate the sweater to the Whittier battered women's shelter. But do it fast before you have time to reflect . . .

Best wishes.

BarbaraF@5 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:46 PM

Give them to someone who will love them as you do and marvel in how good they look in them

AmyM wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:46 PM

First of all, you rock with the weight loss.  Congratulations!

Second, I say keep the sweaters because you love them, and they are a part of your history.  I have kept special maternity clothes and special pieces of clothing from my five children because I'm a sentimental old fool and I can't bear to let them go.  Frame them, or make pillows, but keep them because they are special to you.

HannyB wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:43 PM

Rip, recycle, rededicate... Sandi, I have read all the comments so far. When I knit, it's not just the yarn - it's the situations, the thoughts, the experience. I'm having the worst time parting with things I made, unless I intended them to be gifts in the first place.

How about trying to find anybody in this circle with whom you could just TRADE? You've both spent the money and the time for knitting the sweaters already - quite an investment! A one-on-one trade would preserve that and give it an additional meaning.

I live and knit in Philly - how can KariS and I link up?

Mary wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:42 PM

Dear Sandi,

All the other commenters have left great suggestions; I'm sure you'll be able to choose the right solution for each sweater.

As a Torontonian, I am so happy to welcome you to the GTA and Canada!  It must be hard to move away from a place you've lived in for years, but it's even harder being away from your beloved!  I'm also a student at your husband's university - so a big welcome from York U too!  Let us know about your yarn crawl adventures and which Knit Nights you'll be attending!

JackieE wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:41 PM

I took mine to a friend who is a taylor and she was able to take it in for me:)

I ended up giving it away anyway but it looks great on the person I gave it to:)

jackie

RikiK wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:40 PM

I will echo everyone's congratulations on the weight loss, but to me what is far more exciting is that you're finally going to move to be with your honey! That is absolutely the greatest news ever! (And just think - it is colder there, so more need for more sweaters, hah!)

My suggestions are the same as multiple others: if you like it that much, reknit or steek it. OR give it to a very close friend who can wear it for you and you can just enjoy them vicariously!

Riki in Bangkok

LishamarieH wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:35 PM

You're right no sympathy but Congrats! to you.  I say recycle the yarn. That's want I've done several times.  You liked the color that you made the sweaters out of.  Just rip it! and do something awesome again.  Just imagine how much left over yarn you're going to have from making it smaller. You could get making gloves and a hat!  HEHE!  Good luck.

Wendy wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:31 PM

I still have a long multicolored crocheted skirt tucked in the corner of my closet. I made it when I was 15; the waist of the garment measures approximately 22 inches. I'm now 51 and my waist measurement is . . . well, let's just say that it's more than 22 inches!

Some things just weren't meant to be discarded. They're part of your personal history,

Anne S wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:31 PM

Wow, does this hit the knitting needle on it's head!  Would you believe that I have yarn in my stash waiting for me to loose weight?  I don't want to knit it up (even though I bought enough for a XXXL sweater) because I couldn't bare to see it not fit when and if I ever loose the weight I need too.  Knitting actually help me keep from eating.  Hands too busy to eat right?  Congrats on your success and I too would really like to see the new you.  All of the suggestions above sound good so I don't feel the need to add any of my sage advise.

CherylL wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:10 PM

I have the opposite problem...I'm outgrowing my sweaters.  But, I can't bear to give my sweaters away, so I am planning to use them to decorate my new knitting room once we get our house built.  I'll probably enjoy them every bit as much (or more) than I did when I could fit into them.  Congrats on the weight loss!

PlayaT wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:07 PM

Much as I am a great fan of take a picture and let it be loved by others, I admit to having some sweaters I cannot part with.  There is a scratchy one from my grandmother, a lumpy Lopi I made (and still wear sometimes) and a Pinguin cotton number from the 80's.  

I consider these like the demitasse set I inherited from my grandmother.  I do not use it, but it brings me enormous pleasure.  Just because this is clothing does not mean it can't be cherished.

I love the framing idea.  I just store mine with my regular clothes and smile when I see them.  

Thanks for opening this up.  We all have lots to say.

LoriH wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:06 PM

After losing 40 pounds I too was in this dilemma.  One cherished cotton tank was unraveled and re-knit in my new size.  The other few (I'm fairly new at knitting) sit in my closet waiting for me to be able to let go and give to someone else in need.

Bpv.johnston wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:05 PM

Hi Sandi,

Congrats on the weight loss!!  Working thru that struggle myself.  I would concur with the comment re: steeking above.  

Also want to extend a welcome to Canada, in particular GTA.  I live in a city just east of there. Believe you mentioned before your hubby works at York ??...need to know some cool  LYS send a note my way.  ;-)  bets

Mrscjh wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 5:00 PM

I'm sure there are plenty of worthy charities that can use beautiful hand knit sweaters. I always feel good when I donate to a good cause. Also, if you have friends that need a gift and the sweater is still in great shape you can give them away.

Would the yarn be in good enough shape to take apart the sweaters and re-make them into something else?

EileenM wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:59 PM

Sandi,  congratulations on the weight loss!  I lost 50 pounds and had the same problem, closets full of knits that didn't fit.  I agonized over the time, effort and money that went into them but finally got rid of most of them.  I only kept a couple that could be worn as outerwear that truly meant a lot and a few were altered but most were donated.  For me, life is too short to unravel!  The best part of the problem is that now sweaters are far easier to knit as they are smaller, take far less yarn and are completely different styles than I used to knit.  I knit little shells and lots of sleeveless things that I never would have in the past.  Plus I knit in bright 'look at me' colours.  You'll love knitting for the new you and your new location.  Welcome to the Toronto area.

NancyH wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:56 PM

Life sometimes is letting go of the previous years stuff.  I like the idea of donating or auctioning the too large sweaters and of course buying new yarn and making new sweaters to fit.  Maybe the yarn company will donate the same yarn to you for all the PR!  

TaraM wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:54 PM

I am wondering how big is "too" big.  You also mentioned that you are moving to Canada.  It get's pretty cold there.  Hot Tomato may be a short sleeved sweater, but would it fit better with a long sleeved shirt underneath?   Some of my sweaters I have as winter sweaters-they are all bigger because they have to accomodate more clothes underneath.

Brouhaha wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:52 PM

If it's wool yarn, why not felt it then make it into some fancy handbags?  or even a bulletin board?  For examples, see my blog post: http://bespokebybrouhaha.com/2008/04/15/advocates-corner-spring-auctionfundraiser/">bespokebybrouhaha.com/.../advocates-corner-spring-auctionfundraiser  (items 4, 5 and 6 - please note it's headed "auction" but the auction has since finished).  

If not feltable, you could always cut it into panels (augh!!!!) and then crochet the pieces together.  For some tips on how to do this, check out this blog post: http://bespokebybrouhaha.com/2007/10/28/zombie-fighting-lawsuit/">bespokebybrouhaha.com/.../zombie-fighting-lawsuit

Congratulations on a healthier life and happy crafting!

Kristina

http://bespokebybrouhaha.com

KatherineK wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:51 PM

A  friend of mine, of German origin, was telling me that her mother would take sweaters she had grown out of, unravel them and knit stripes or whathaveyou into them to make them fit again.  

How about the reverse of this?

Laurenknits wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:51 PM

Congratulations on the move, getting to be with your hubby, and on the self transformation.

I just LOVE the idea suggested in this thread of turning your unwearable garments into pillows of various shapes and sizes. I can picture your fabulous, stylish new at-home knitting studio with a couch strewn with your ecclectic mix of hand-knit memoir throw pillows, above which will be a bulletin board displaying photos of the "old" you wearing those items, along with other posts that give you inspiration.

Is it totally obvious that I am living out my fantasy knitting life vicariously through you?

Alternatively, I think the idea of a charity auction would be great. You might be surprised how much one of your items could go for....

Thanks for bringing all of us readers this bit of joy every day.

LissyF wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:48 PM

Best wishes to you, Sandy.  I am going through the same thing with beloved t-shirts I have worn for a decade as I lose weight.  And of course I cannot find their twins in today's shops.  

I don't actually have a ton of knitted sweaters because I never really liked how they looked on me at a heavier weight, not to mention how much more expensive they were to knit.  So I'm looking forward to being a smaller size to resume sweater knitting, and in the meantime, my feet are pretty much the same size and I can hold on to my knitted socks, and my scarves still fit quite well, too.  

The sweaters I do have will probably just hang around my closet as souvenirs, as they are the first wearable objects I made and I am attached to them in a similar manner as you and your sweaters.  I hope you find a way to honor your beloved and now-too-big sweaters.  I like the idea of framing them.  

ChristineH wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:46 PM

I too lost weight and made pillows... Imagine a 250lb pregnant lady always wearing stretch velvet skirts (1 royal blue and 1 black). Now imagine 2 six year old twin boys laying on huge floor pillows made from said stretch velvet skirts (size 3x).

The best part is that the skirts could actually be worn again, and so could your sweaters. Just think about an antique dealer specializing in handmade fiber art being delighted to buy your handmade pillows at your estate auction 60 years from now - LOL!

If they are treasures, by all means keep them. If you can box them up and not miss them for a while, then you might be ready to part with them in any of the creative ways expressed in the many comments.

Congratualtions for all of the wonderful people, things and opportunities in your life!

kissmyknits wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:46 PM

First of all - congratulations on your weight loss.  It's a difficult achievement and I knocked on wood for you to keep it off.  This article strikes close to home for me because I am overweight and that reason alone has stopped me from knitting myself a sweater.  I'd love to knit a sweater or even a tee or a vest, but I don't because while the patterns may come in my size, I hope to not be this size in the future and even though I'm not doing a thing about it to change my size right now, I still have hopes that I might get the gumption soon.  In the meantime, I fawn over patterns, like the Nantucket Jacket, I even go so far as to buy yarn for it, but I cannot  bring myself to put the loving work into it, hoping that one day it won't fit.  

ElinorW wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:44 PM

well done to you.I have the same problem but not yet at my desired weight so have been putting off new projects for now.The bag of TOO BIG clothes keeps one motivated.

I have ripped down one uncompleted garment of Merino and Possum and will wait to reknit till next season.

Freezing cold here today in New Zealand .Elinor W

MarilouM wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:44 PM

As a member of Weight Watchers, I too have lost weight (about 40 pounds) But I am also a "Fearless" knitter. In most cases, it was the yarn that I fell in love with and then found a pattern to suit. So I simply RIP IT out, let it sit for a few days (to unkink a bit) and then start again. Sometimes I reknit the same pattern only smaller. Other times I choose a new pattern and it is like getting a new sweater again.  

As others have said...how about some pictures of the "new you"!!

KatherineH wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:28 PM

Welcome to (just outside of) Toronto! I see you already got a recommendation for Lettuce Knit. Their s'n'b is on Wednesdays -- if you have a Tuesday night free, come check out The Purple Purl at Queen & Jones in the east end.

Someone (not me!) in TO does every major s'n'b each night of the week. I don't know them, but if you have the time and stamina it might be fun to do "the tour" over a few weeks just to get to meet people...

AnnG@3 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:24 PM

If you love to WEAR the sweater, and it's wool, seam it. You can steek and cut when a pattern calls for it, right? You can cut this. If you loved knitting it and don't mind knitting it again, frog and re-knit. Make shrugs, shawls, hats, gloves, and socks.

KariS wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:22 PM

Congrats!  I've been losing weight myself (65 lbs so far) and knitting is what made it happen (it's an interesting story, but I won't go into it here) and I'm about to move to Philly to get my MFA as a knitting artist.

I refused to knit myself sweaters when I was fat, so I don't have any that don't fit.  But I was thinking that maybe you could organize a swap with others who also have sweaters that don't fit.  But I also like the idea of auctioning off your sweaters for charity.

I am so happy to finally be able to AFFORD to knit a sweater (because I don't have to buy a gajillion skeins of yarn) and finish w/in the time they'll actually be in style (because there are so many fewer stitches) yarn to knit myself something other than socks and mittens.  That's what I'm looking forward to, as I'm just about to cast on my first TANK top (yes, sleeveless, for the first time ever!)

Marg wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:21 PM

Congratulations on the weight loss.  In regards to your lovely but too big clothes, can I recommend that you give them to a battered women's shelter or other charity.  There are many extremely poor, larger women who don't have anything, and would really appreciate some quality clothes that fit.

Kymmiam wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:18 PM

Honey, rip those puppies out and re-knit them if the yarn's still good. Remember what EZ said about making mistakes and ripping back--it's just more of your favorite hobby! Same thing applies here. And you'd get to do more bust darts--how cool is that?

Vis Major wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:18 PM

Yay, Sandi & Nicholas!  It sounds like you have some fabulous things going on in your life; despite not knowing you in person, I'm very happy for you.  Hope that doesn't sound odd!  :)

Is there anyone you might want to gift your beloved too-big sweaters to?  If not, perhaps a LYS could use them as sample sweaters or sell them for you?

SueN wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:17 PM

Holy Cow, there's a lot of responses, here!

I'd either:

1) Wash them in really, really hot water and dry them in the dryer, thus becoming "boiled wool" sweaters

2)Give them to a needy friend or organization

3) Present them to someone who might fit them

4) Recycle, recycle, recycle

5) Sew up the holes and start a new SweaterBag trend, perhaps using the arms as the straps?

BTW, congrats on the weight loss, girl!!!!!

KimY wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:15 PM

Congratulations and I am in the same boat!  I have lost over 50 pounds since last July and hope to loose about that much more.  My quandry isn't over sweaters I have made (since I never made them for myself at that size), but over what sweaters to make now that will last me loosing more weight...I have qeued the sweater you mentioned and will look into that one...any other suggestions?

RedS wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:13 PM

Woo HOO!  Sandi's moving to Toronto!!!  Are you moving north, west or east of TO?  FYI.. there is no south.. well there is, but it'd be rather damp...

As far as your beautiful sweaters... I'd frog and reknit... to re-live the enjoyable experience.  How many times in life do we have the opportunity to do just that, eh?

PS. You look fantastic!

MonicaE wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:10 PM

unravelling sounds dreadful to me - you need friends in assorted sizes!!  I gave my thick wooly sweater that was huge on me to a friend recovering from cancer who lived in a colder climate.  it worked beautifully.  I've also framed things - I had a sweater (kaffe fasset's 'foolish virgins' ) that I knitted the back of and realized that it would require me to gain about 100 pounds to wear.  (gauge?  what's that?)  so I framed it and love having it on my wall.

CaroleK wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:09 PM

Sandi,

I have just finished reading the section on washing sweaters.  EZ did state on page ll5 that you can wash and block and ease the sweater into a smaller.size if needed.  Doing this while reshaping.  I know this will not cure it all but maybe it might save one of them huh?  Also,  congrats with your new you and your moving to Toronto.  That is just wonderful!

Knittingly,

Carole

sarahkc wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:03 PM

I would either give it away or recycle the yarn.

anne.c.rojas wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:03 PM

I didn't use a hand knit sweater for this, but I have an old sweater hanging on the wall behind my door with a ton of earrings hanging from it - makes it easy to find a pair to wear in the morning, and the sweater looks great.

BronwynW wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 4:00 PM

Congrats on losing weight Sandi! I too have had this problem, but not since becoming a knitter, thank goodness. I have however knit myself a sweater that just didn't look great on my body and will just rip the finished project to find something I like better to knit later. You can knit something you liked again only smalle with the salvaged yarn or something new altogether out of a yarn you just LOVED. You can give it to a friend who is more consistently that size that you trust to take care of the garment (because I have trouble giving something handmade to a shelter like another commenter mentioned— only because they aren't easy care garments, usually and require more trouble in washing than many non-knitting folks want to be bothered with even when something was knit specifically for them).

Either way, I'm BIG into recycling and hope that might be something that works for more people as a long term solution :~)

AnnG@2 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:58 PM

I recently took a sweater that no longer fit, was in style, etc. (all of those things) and because it was made of very nice (and very expensive) bulky 100% wool, I took it completely apart (sneezing from the wool lint shed in the process) and have been making lovely felted bags, bowls and mittens out of the four different colors.  This was one of the first sweaters I ever made and I'm glad it lives on in more usable form!

P.S. Do we get to see your "today" photo somewhere?  Lots of us are trying to lose weight like you did.  You should be extremely proud of yourself!

Ann

BrandiM wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:57 PM

You should put after photos.

ok here is an idea for pieced articles.  Can you un-seam them, then with a sewing maching stitch across the sides as if you were going to steek it then cut off the extra and re-seam it all together.

if the rest felt how about felting them and cutting them up for coasters or as a bathroom rug or something.

The rest I would frog and give new life as a new better fitting project (since you are smaller now you know you have enough yarn.  

I might even put one or two in a box for "just in case" or "someday" but I know, they will just be wasted.

KelliK wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:57 PM

WooHoo! Congrats on the weight loss.  As you said, most of us have the opposite problem.  I usually do 1 of 3 things with my no-longer-fitting sweaters.  First, they sit in the drawer just waiting and hoping that I will again lose the weight I've gained.  Then after a few years of languishing there in the drawer, I take them out and sigh and say "OK, I guess you'll fit one of my daughters and you'll look really cute on her."  After several weeks of sitting on top of the dresser, I finally get up the courage to take the sweater to said daughter and doubtfully suggest that if she thinks she might like it, I could let her have it but only if she promises to take extremely good care of it and only wash it by hand.  Finally,  if I just can't part with it...I rip it out and make something that does fit! HA

ShellyH wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:57 PM

When clothing, hand knitted or otherwise, I put it on freecycle.  It just happens I've gained weight and I'd happily give your lovely hand knits a wonderful home where they'd be cared for properly <grin>.

I'm sure there are charities in your area who provide 'work appropriate' clothing to people going back into the work place that would love to have them.  I also like the idea of auctioning them.

LisaL wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:56 PM

Sandi,

You just completely rock!  I know you will figure out the "right" thing to do with your sweaters.  Best to you and your hubby, together again!

I so hope that I will someday share your problem...I'm trying!

AngelaB wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:55 PM

Congrats on your weight loss and relocation plans :)

I agree with those who've encouraged you to pass the treasured garments on.  Something tells me you don't have a shortage of yarn to re-knit them in your new size ;)

GabrielleO wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:54 PM

I lost 4.5 stone last year (63lb?) via a very low calorie diet regime and I decided to break my lifelong fat-thin-fat cycle by donating everything over a UK size 16 to charity.  Gone - I am not to allow myself to gain weight to more than a UK size 14 again.

However I had started the Norah Gaughan Phyllo Yoked Pullover in a size 48" at the start of my diet and by summer I had reached the point where I had done all of the stocking stitch elements (all I needed to do was join the pieces for the lace yoke) and I realised that this jumper was going to hang off me like an Edgar Suit (MIB).  

So it has sat unattended for a whole year.

I have just got it out to finish it because I love the pattern and I cannot bear that I did all of the dull bits and did not get to do the fun bit that is the point of the whole pattern.

I am going to see what it looks like when it is finished and whether I can get away with it as an oversized, sloppy jumper.  It is going to hurt a bit if it does not because I love the pattern.

If it doesn't work (deep down, I suspect it looks best with just a little negative ease), then I plan to see if anyone would like to swap it with me for a jumper that they have knitted that doesn't fit them?  

In the beautiful neat and tidy world that exists only in my mind, maybe someone who would like to have a go at the phyllo pullover but doesn't fancy knitting it in a size 48" but maybe in a size 38" instead?!

Failing that, I am not sure.  I feel uncomfortable about gifting it.  Simply because I know that I knitted this jumper for me.  To give it away to someone else could be emotive:  'I knitted this and as I have lost weight and it will not fit me anymore - I thought of you?'

Hmm. Even if I did not say those words out loud?  I'd would hear them in my head and I would worry that they would be thinking this in theirs, even if they were too polite to say so.  

Also, when I finish this jumper, it will be a real achievement for me.  There is absolutely no way that I am going to rip out all of that hard work (I am a slow knitter).

I would rather (if possible) that this jumper will go to a home that will appreciate it. So we'll see....!

Susan@12 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:53 PM

Sandi, I've been there where you are with losing weight, and my solution was to either give it to a friend who would love it (for the real special ones) or, if I didn't care much about it, put it in my give-away-to-charity bag.  Sometimes, even if it's painful at first, the best thing is to just let go.  Alterations just don't work, especially when it's a favorite garment.  However, if the sweaters are that important to you, how about knitting another one that fits properly - and put that great bust dart spreadsheet to work!  I really enjoy reading your column.

ElizabethI wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:51 PM

I just, in the last nine months, lost about a third of me!  I couldn't keep up with my kidlets anymore and found myself a great trainer and diet coach.  50 pounds and counting!  So, I kept a two of my faves and put them away in my "Special box" with the kidlet's favorite sweaters from their baby days.  They rest I gifted to friends who always wanted me to knit them a sweater.  The ones that were truly "beloved" read "too ragged to wear in public, were fianlly put to rest.  Now I can knit new sweaters from the enormous stash without feeling like i am making one more cardigan/pullover/vest for me!  

JillR wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:51 PM

We have heard so much about the new you, when are we going to see some pictures?  We would just love to be simpathertic to your plight! And we will be able to relate to the separation anxiety you are feeling to your previous wardrobe :)  p.s. Sweaters don't gain weight with you either!

AnnR wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:47 PM

Congratulations on your weight loss, Sandi.

Would really like to see a picture of you, skinny.

Knit yourself some new sweaters, and donate the old ones or give them to someone that can use them. Focus on your weight loss, not your old sweaters.

Monkeygurl wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:46 PM

Good for you - happier and healthier.  I, too, recently shed a bunch of lbs in a manner I wouldn't recommend to anyone, and have enjoyed reading these comments.

My favorite would be to find a battered women/childrens shelter - and it won't be easy.  They try to keep their information unattainable for a reason.  But don't let that stop you.  There are many (too many) women out there who left with the literal shirts on their backs, and they would be very grateful for something that is nice.  I think the fact that it is handmade would make it particularly prizeful.

Also remember, most of the women in shelters are not size 0 - 6.  They *need* the "plus" size stuff more than anything, particularly something nice enough to wear to job interviews.

Good for you.  Keep healthy, and pass it along.  :)

KimberlyC@2 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:44 PM

Congratulations! I'm knocking wood with you that you stay the size that makes you happy (and I'll knock wood for myself that I get to a size that makes me happy!)

As for what to do with the sweaters---I understand the dilemma. I'm a pack rat, myself, so I have a hard time throwing out, but honestly, it doesn't seem to be the same for giving away. That I can usually do without too much trouble. I think the idea that *I* no longer have my work-intensive and loved garment is not as painful of the idea of all that work living in a closet. I think I'd be wandering around, holding up my sweaters to anyone who looks about right!

Good luck!  

Lynn G. wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:43 PM

I think the charitable auction idea suggested above is marvelous, especially if you do it through this site, where you are so well-known.  Then, you could still donate the proceeds to a program supporting women in need, but the impact would be many times that of simply donating a single sweater.  The other possibility would be to do a "sponsorship auction" in which you choose the nonprofit beneficiary of your choice, write a column about it, and request very small donations from a large readership to "sponsor" the donation of the sweater to that cause.  In that instance, the nonprofit will receive the sweater, to give to one individual in need, AND the funds collected...can't beat that!

LeeG wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:42 PM

Well, maybe because I grew up in Norway and I've always felt comfortable with steeking, what I usually do if a beloved sweater is suddenly way out-sized is pin it to the measurements I want.  Then I use chalk to draw a line where I will want to cut it.  I take out my sewing machine and sew on either side of the chalk as I would on either side of a steek and then I cut and resew.  

kaspienne wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:41 PM

My boyfriend's remedy to the situation of a too-big-sweater is to eat and eat until you fit back into it.  

My solution:  Unravel and re-knit, because I'm a knitting maniac.

pjgolenzer wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:41 PM

Sandi, Sandi, Sandi:  You rock, girl!  So love reading your snippets and this time I may actually be able to help!  I WAS going to suggest the ol' shrink the sweater if you can trick, but after reading some of the blogs I thought I'd place my first vote with the pillow idea.  How cute would a Hot Tomato Pillow be in Canada!  Nothing like some spicy colors to keep you warm during their winters!  Another idea: Keep them for Bertha...can't keep looking at the same sweater all time now can we?  My final suggestion is that you hang them on the walls/ceiling of your NEW office/home where you'll be working out of.  They can be used this way to inspire, reflect, and add interesting decor to your knitting room.

Nice job!

Pam G

LisaK@2 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:40 PM

Alternatively, see pages 85-86 in Knit Fix (Interweave, 2006), "Subtracting Body or Sleeve Width."  

It works.  Really.

All best,

Lisa Kartus

DevoZ wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:34 PM

If you still love the sweaters I say do them over again to fit the new you. The hot tomato salsa is just too pretty to just give away. Knit it over again is my option. Go for it, and congratulations.

MissKnotty wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:33 PM

First, best wishes on your move!!

Second, this is a tough call.  Do you love the sweaters because of the pattern? Do you love the yarn and so knit it to feel it in your hands?

If the answer is pattern, I'd reknit it in a smaller size

If the answer is yarn, then frog, maybe repurpose and knit something else (reincarnate it?), or reknit it again (I second whoever already said that),or, if we're talking a seriously substantial amount of weight, maybe a twinset; a lady in my knitting guild did that.  She knitted a shell, lost a BUNCH of weight (>100 lbs), frogged the shell, reknit it and had enough left over for a 3/4 sleeve cardigan in the same yarn. (and she looked FABULOUS while doing it).

Bully for you on the weight loss, that's great, and it's a fantastic feeling to feeling it come off - better on the knees, better on the back, better (in Certain Areas) on the shoulders - infer at will. :)

Cheers to you!

catmomnw wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:32 PM

I'm soooo happy you're getting to be with your beloved Nicholas.  I've been so worried about you with the long distance marriage.  Its the best news of all and equal to all the weight loss.  Congratulations!  I know how hard it is.  I have no idea what to do.  My weight, aside from pregnancies, hasn't changed all that much.  My sizing issues come from bad gauge and the damn thing doesn't fit right off the needles.  I never get a chance to wear them.  I give them away to someone usually much smaller than myself.  Good Luck!!

TammyM wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:31 PM

First of all, commend yourself..pat yourself on the back.....Great JOB!.....And donate the sweater to a homeless shelter for women!....Your sweater can keep on giving instead of being retired in a picture frame.....And then knit yourself a NEW fabulous sweater.....For your NEW fabulous shape..There is something cleansing about Letting go!  Be daring...be fearless.....YOU can do it!!!

Now...Dance around in joy!!!

Tami

vschlecht wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:31 PM

Well, I like the idea of framing it.  But this is where kitchner stitch comes in handy if you want to wear it.

You can re-knit the part that doesn't fit without re-knitting  the whole sweater.    Most of the time, the straps or very top of the sweater fits just fine.  Shoulders don't lose weight.  The length of your arms doesn't change.  Sleeves are very amenable to being taken in at the seam or faux seam.

Cut & remove one row of stitching below and/or above the part that no longer fits.   Re-knit the part that doesn't fit, and kitchner stitch it together.

SueK wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:27 PM

What a wonderful accomplishment!  I agree that you could give them to someone who really loves them as much as you do.  My biggest disappointment has been slaving over a very difficult multicolor fairlisle sweater that I had planned to make for myself and was talked into giving it to my daughter in law and I have never seen her wear it even once. :-(

JanL wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:26 PM

I have recently lost  enough weight that my clothing no longer fits, too. Fortunately I hadn't knit any sweaters yet so that part isn't an issue.

If those two sweaters mean a lot to you then I say keep them for now at least. You can always reevaluate next time you go on a sorting spree. Make some new ones to take their place! More knitting!

And yes...we'd love to see an 'after' photo, too!

on Jun 23, 2008 3:21 PM

Congrats on the planned move! As another expat living in Toronto, I can assure you the knitting community around here is absolutely unmatched. I hope we'll see you some Wednesday nights at Lettuce Knit!

As for the sweaters---I have to say, donating them is probably your best bet. Photos of the really beloved ones can stay with you forever, and take up a lot less space than the sweaters themselves. Or keep them and just accept that they're bigger than you really need; they could be great house sweaters!

LindaMick wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:21 PM

Firstt of all, CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Second, the idea of pillows is a favorite - I'm taking old t-shirts of DH's that have memories, and turning them into a quilt, and old sweatshirts of DD's and turning them into pillows.

Third - sigh.  I am drooling over patterns that I just can't bring myself to knit because I "know" I will lose weight... so why doesn't my body agree?? :)

LisaB@4 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:20 PM

I've neither been knitting long enough nor lost enough weight since I have been knitting to share your problem, but I can understand your quandary. The first thing that came to mind as a solution is to simply reknit your favorites if you love them that much. Saving the originals is fine since they are a piece of your knitting history, but if you want to be able to wear your faves, then remake them. Chances are you learned things in the making of them the first time that you can put into them the second time and make them even better. Good luck! Hope you find a solution that works for you.

DeirdreM wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:18 PM

Find a good picture of you in your favorite sweater when it fit (like the green hemp picture), then give the sweater to someone it does fit, who loves it, in exchange for a picture of them in the sweater. Put both in your picture album - and knit a new sweater - the same or different - for your new body. You have the photo memories now.

Air.blueskys wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:18 PM

You must watch the flic "Harold and Maude" and then, if you really, really love the sweaters, 'let them go'.

Me, they go to a woman's shelter. Sandi, you have "reduced", now either reuse or recylce.

hugs to you and Nicolas and tell us more about the 3 legged love of your life.

PS I am wild about the "Fearless" tape measure and the book I purchase.

Mise

LenaB wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:18 PM

Turn them into pillows?

MargaretR wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:12 PM

I do what my mother did. Frog the sweater, wash the yarn to restore it and reknit the sweater (or whatever) in my new size, or give it to someone who will appreciate it.

AllisonB wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:12 PM

Can you block or shrink some of them?

I have a beautiful Alpaca bolero with lace sleeves that I knit too big in the bust and was wondering if I could wet the sections that don't fit and throw the sweater in the dryer to shrink? I hesitate to try this without being certain of the outcome. I'd rather give it away than wreck it.

FionaN@2 wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:11 PM

I've been reading a lot lately about "hacking" stuff (clothes, furniture) to remake something different from what was originally intended. Maybe some knitwear can be repurposed into a different style of garment - a pullover could be modified into a cardigan or a tank top could be laced up to make a corset-style top.

auntie elmo wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:07 PM

How about donating them to a women's shelter or "career closet" that provides business clothes for indigent women entering the job market?

mducky wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 3:03 PM

Thank you so much for bringing this up. I'm in the process of shedding a LOT of extra weight (over 40 lbs. so far) and have really been struggling with this exact problem. I love my clothes. Love them. The hand-knit sweaters and the Gap jeans and all the rest define who I am. And to be completely unable to wear any of it has been extremely frustrating and confusing. So I'll be re-evaluating my wardrobe right along with you.

And I have to agree with DanielleK - re-make it! That way, you'll always have that reminder of the clothes you love(d), you'll have lots of projects to keep you busy AND who doesn't love a new sweater every now and then - even if it's only a new shape on an old fiber.

MDS wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 2:57 PM

If you are willing to let some of your beautiful work go, why not auction it off on this or a related web site and have the $$ go to some wonderful charity you support?

JoC wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 2:51 PM

Other than being an avid knitter, I am into Simple Living, which to me means getting rid of all excess whether physical, emotional, psychological, etc. Because they are dear to you, take pictures (digital ones) and then donate the sweaters to charity. Second option: after taking a photo, RIP-IT, RIP-IT, RIP-IT and make one that fits.

DanielleK wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 2:35 PM

Where are your "after" photos?  I have been trying to lose some weight, 14 pounds so far, and was wondering about this same topic.  I am currently in the middle of the Lotus Blossom Tank.  After all the time I have spent on those rows of lace, will it still fit?  I figured, if it's too big, I can wear it with an undershirt a couple of times and then  I can rip it out, and do it over again.  I have had enough practice, that knitting it up won't take nearly as long.  If I am really in love with it, I will have no problem making it again.  Plus, I would be "re-using" the fiber- Reduce, reuse, recycle.  Please think about posting some of photos of the new you, it will give me motivation to keep at it.

KarinP wrote
on Jun 23, 2008 2:26 PM

There is always "practice non-attachment" and give it to someone in need. Just remember the joy it has given you to make those sweaters etc. It also gives you  a "valid reason to make something new for yourself.