I love summer so much. Really, I do. I live in California, so I love the hot, 106 degree days. I love swimming at the river, I love going to the beach, I love wearing spaghetti strap dresses with sandals, I love eating watermelon and ice creams, I love barbecues and mosquitoes, and roasted marshmallows and camping. Most of all, I love how the days last so long it doesn't ever seem to get dark because I love love love love love the sunshine. But every year when the summer is beginning to wane, I begin to get the call of .... "make something warm."
Right now is perfect fall knitting time. Right now is when all the project possibilities are beginning to ripen. Before I remember how much I hate the cold, when I can picture myself on long walks on the crunchy leaves, holding a latte and wearing a slouchy beanie and cute boots, with my hair longer than its ever been and for some reason I'm walking a white fluffy dog that I don't own. And the wind is blowing the leaves around in an artistic fashion yet for some reason has not messed up my hair one bit. I look like a picture in a magazine. Right now, before the sweater I'm bound to knit ends up having fatal flaws- gauge is off, lost a stitch, counted wrong, wrong size, wrong color, baggy puckering- right now it is perfect. It flatters me. It looks amazing. It doesn't itch. It's the sweater that people stop me on the street and ask, "Where did you get that beautiful sweater!?" to which I amaze them when I reply, "I made it last month." It inspires people to learn to knit. It comes along with me to the pumpkin patch, to Apple Hill, it looks good with my outfit on Thanksgiving or with my work clothes. By the time summer comes, it still hasn't lost it's luster and I love this sweater so much I'll wear it again next winter. It's all a beautiful lie that I begin to taste in the air right around September every year.
I've made many sweaters. My Ravelry project page tells me I've made at least 30 and I know there are a few that were never documented on Ravelry. So more than thirty sweaters, and not one of them has been that perfect sweater. One has bulging underarms, one is the wrong color, one pills, one has mitered corners that I have always regretted making, more than a few have unflattering seams, some are too short, one is too long, some are itchy, and one has a very saggy button band. The one I cast on yesterday will also not be that perfect sweater. I know I think alpaca is itchy, and the color isn't very pretty- it's just a plain, no-nonsense brown. It won't button, which will annoy me after this season is over and I no longer have a giant belly to accommodate. When I run out of the brown yarn I will avoid buying a nice contrasting color and find something in the stash which will clash with other things I wear. I will problem solve. But by winter I will have already started something new to be the "perfect sweater", which will have issues of its own, and before you know it I will have distracted myself with gauge, maths, and knitting until it's blossoming into Spring again. A clever trick my brain has devised, to fool me into not noticing how cold it is, how dark and drab, and how utterly depressed it makes me.
This year my sweater that won't be perfect is going to be based on Etude in Stripes by Diana Rozenshteyn. (I say based on because I'm getting a different gauge, not doing stripes, and probably changing the border stitch pattern.) The yarn is Berocco Ultra Alpaca in an unknown colorway.
It is knit top-down, which means I'm getting all of the interesting knitting out of the way first and after I separate the sleeves and body it will become a marathon. A behemoth of knitting to work on.
In the end, even though it is not perfect it will be exactly what I needed. It's funny how that happens. I am never unsatisfied with my sweaters, and I wear most of them even though they have their quirks. They do their job: Keep me warm, and remind me of the beautiful things in life like wool and needles clicking away. Stitch by stitch, I knit into them seconds of my life where everything is ok. And in the wintertime, I really really need that.