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 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.