One Knitter to Another

It is one of my favourite things to knit for other knitters.  I know that seems counter intuitive, I suppose on some level you think that if they already have a pathway to knitted stuff that they aren’t going to want to get a gift of knitting. I mean, if you already had a blender, or in our case it’s more like you own a blender factory,  then a blender is going to be a pretty crappy gift.

It turns out though, that at least in my experience, knitters love getting knitted gifts. (Admittedly they also like yarn as a gift, but that’s to be expected.) In my knitting career it hasn’t been unheard of for the recipient of a knitted gift to not meet said gift with the enthusiasm that I’d like them too.  I hand them the box, they open it up, take out the pair of socks or scarf or whatever it is and say “Oh wow. Nice socks. Thank you, I love them.” That may seem like the right thing to say and non-knitters, it is enough gratitude, I assure you, but it is nothing compared to what happens if you give a knitter a pair of socks, which is that they totally get what has just happened. They know what you’re giving them, they know how long it took to make it, they know that you just took however many hours of your life that you could have given to anyone on this earth and gave it to them. That you couldn’t think of anyone else that you would love to give this container of love and time to, and furthermore, they are usually pretty damned impressed that this love-vessel fits.

Over the years I’ve trained most of my common victims in the mighty ways of knitters. They know now when I give them a knitted thing what they’re really worth, and they know how to take care of them (or return them for care) and they appreciate knitting properly. Still, there is no joy like bestowing a piece of knitting on someone who’s going to notice… well, everything.  So it is with this sweater for Ken.  I finished it the other day and after it was done I left my house (how weird is that eh?) and I went over to Ken’s house (he lives very close by) and I put this sweater on his porch, and then texted him, and backed up onto the path so we would be distanced when he came out to get it.  (I cannot &^%$ing wait until I don’t have to treat the people I love like they are potential poison. It is so hard on the heart.)

He came out and was delighted to see it, and tried it on right away, and noticed all the things that he was meant to.

I took that woefully inadequate physically distanced picture of him, and asked him to selfie a few shots of the thing for all of you, and I waved to him (what a nightmare this is) and took myself off back home.  Ken did take some great self portraits (or it is possible a housemate helped him)  and because he’s a knitter, he took pictures he thought that other knitters would like.

Pattern: Rift.  Yarn: Good old Cascade 220, in 8400 – charcoal.

He’s showing you the details of the seams, how it looks under the arms – he’s commented on how beautifully it fits, and it should. I took his measurements back in March before I wasn’t allowed to touch him.* He loves the details on the side, he’s made an appropriate amount of fuss about the tubular cast-on at the bottom and sleeves, and he’s asked how the neck is right, why it’s not stretching out of shape… did I reinforce it? (I did not. I just always pick up stitches at a bound off edge so that it’s nice and strong, which was 100% an answer he cared about.)

The point is, Ken knows exactly how big and nice the love container I knit for him is, and that means that when pulls it on, it should feel like the full breadth of my love is there. Only another knitter could feel the sentiment behind a tubular cast on. Only a knitter.

Until we’re together again Ken.  Wear the sweater.

*There is some hope on the horizon here in Ontario. We’ve had low/declining cases for a while now, and we’re going to Stage 1 of easing restrictions on Tuesday after the holiday. It means certain kinds of businesses will be able to open if they can meet the strict public health rules, though the rules mean that open isn’t really open, they can take so few customers.  No restaurants yet, and no schools or daycares, certainly, and it’s been made clear to us that we’re ages off of being able to get a haircut. We are hoping that there’s some easing of the distancing rules and group size rules (we’re at no more than 5), and that you’ll start being able to have contact with people outside your household bubble.  We’ve got our fingers crossed that the coveted “double bubble” might not be far off for this province, though Canada’s commitment to letting the science lead the response might mean we all have to be apart a little longer. I can’t wait to hug Meg and Elliot. (Ken it will be you right after. Triple bubble.)

94 thoughts on “One Knitter to Another

  1. Fantastic sweater and wonderful details. I’m lucky enough to have a son who also “gets it” when presented with a sweater gift, although I cheat a little by asking first what he’s looking for in a new sweater. Then it’s a balancing act between making something interesting enough to keep my attention but discreet enough that he won’t stand out (see Modern Gansey). Ken’s new sweater is perfect on both counts.
    We are lucky here in Kingston, ON to have had no active, confirmed COVID cases in over a week. Also no hospitalizations and no deaths, or cases in long-term care facilities. Our public health department done an awesome job.

  2. Wow! That is gorgeous! I have to admit that I thought it looked like a pretty boring gray sweater on the needles, but I LOVE those little details. Ken’s one lucky guy to be loved like that.

  3. Such much perfection and comforting and love in those stitches. So perfect on him. It feels in a way like you just knitted for all of us because there’s so much happiness just in reading about it–I can only imagine how great it felt to put it on and wave thanks at you!

  4. Oh it is so perfect for Ken! And do love the “only a knitter would get this” shots. Thanks…because I do want to see all those details!
    I braved a small local grocery store, masked and gloved, saw a good friend m g, & and we just impulsively hugged each other, still squealing at how happy we were to see each other, then realized what we were doing and sprang apart like we were caught doing something shameful. It was only maybe 2 seconds of contact and we’ll see what kind of karma that hug had. I think it’s better to steer clear of everyone- it’s the only way to stay safe. But yeah. That hug of a friend. Golden.

  5. Beautiful sweater. Hoping you get to hug Meg and Elliot soon. My DD works in a hospital so even though we don’t have shelter in place here, we haven’t been able to to more than look in the windows to talk to them for a couple months now. But she was tested last week, and for one glorious day, we took the chance to go and play with our grand kids for a couple hours before she went back to work. A little sad because I had to get reacquainted with the now 6 month old, but heaven just the same. Be safe and strong – we will get through this.

  6. The joy in Ken’s smile – he loves the sweater. Handsome sweater. Warms my lockdown heart way down here I. Texas.

  7. Wow! That pattern was perfect for Ken! Of course, it helps that his sweater was knit by the one and only Yarn Harlot!

    And, a word to the wise: Wear some kind of crash helmet when you see Elliot and his friend, Penny. They’re going to be sooooo excited!

  8. A little tear of joy and sorrow just ran down my face. Joy that you knit Ken a hug that he is so worthy of, and sorrow that it can’t be a real hug for just a little while longer. The sweater is awesome and Ken looks so very pleased.

  9. Oh, what a lovely sweater, lovely fit, lovely friendship, lovely everything.

    Ken– thanks for the detailed pictures!

    Steph– wishing you family-and-friend hugs soon!

  10. Beautiful sweater! Ken looks great.
    Thank you for posting those photos!

    I am glued to the info from our public health professional women across the country these weeks. The future feels very uncertain.

  11. Holy schnikes is that thing gorgeous. And the sweater, too. Honestly, I couldn’t love Cascade 220 any more than I do, but this puts it to SUCH good use. Well done you, and please feel the virtual hugs reaching to you from AZ. Stay well and warm and thanks for posting, it’s wonderful to hear your typed voice in my head.

  12. Beautiful sweater. I’d love to hear more about the details–those Brooklyn Tweed designers are really artists, and you would probably be the perfect person to analyze what they’re doing. Hope you will soon be happily double-bubbling!

    • Yes, right in the first photo I thought, “Ah, the good old Brooklyn Tweed fashioned double decrease.” Makes it instantly recognisable as a BT pattern.

  13. That’s a really great sweater. Also, big brownie points to you for knitting grey during a stressful time, Steph. Ken is doing an impressive modelling job; definitely in the top three for “World’s Top Knitwear Model”!

  14. What a handsome sweater on a sweet and handsome guy! I’ve got the same pattern in my queue, for knitting for my (very handsome) son.
    We’re at a similar time line here in Minnesota, it seems, regarding the loosening of the restrictions. On one hand it’s a relief but on the other very scary. I think I will continue to spend a lot of time knitting and gardening from the safety of my own home and yard.

  15. What a truly gorgeous sweater, and for the record his arms look a perfectly normal length to me. 😉

    On the topic of social distancing, I have found it just the tiniest bit easier to think of it not as treating my loved ones as if they are potential poison (excellent turn of phrase by the way), but as if I am. Truly it is both, but it’s easier on the heart to think of it as an act of love to stay away, an act of protection.

  16. What a beautiful gift! I love the knitterly showing of the details; Brooklyn Tweed does such wonderful patterns.

    I am glad science is ruling your city/country, and glad my small state in the land due south of you is taking that approach as well (only some counties have small lifting of restrictions, and masks are required in public; when I went to the grocery store on Wednesday, everyone but one person had on a mask) but I am terrified for states like Iowa, where u grew up. My mom, dad and aunt were all practicing social distancing there, but not enough others were because their governor didn’t think it was necessary. All three got covid within days if each other. My dad is recovered, my aunt is going through the exhausted but fever free period, but my mom only just got out of the hospital after a month and a day long stay.

    The bubbles are hard, but worth it. Wishing safety for your family and everyone else’s out there

  17. That is one spectacular sweater, and I am henceforth referring to sweaters I knit for others as Love Containers. You are absolutely right that there is no greater joy than knitting for a knitter — no one appreciates your work more!

  18. A handsome sweater for a handsome guy. It is simple yet elegant. And you are right…only craftsmen understand the true meaning of such a gift.

    Canada gives me hope for the human race. I think maybe you should build a wall along your southern border (only half joking).

  19. I am SO IN LOVE with the shoulder – WOW, that looks really, really good!!! The i-cord BO around the neck looks great, too – masculine, elegant, and simple at first glance, but the longer you look, the more details you notice and the better it becomes. (The underarm seams look great). Also, the colour compliments him so well!
    … I really get into making a sweater for my guy.
    Fingers are crossed for a speedy and SAFE end on the lockdown!

  20. I couldn’t agree more….the most appreciation comes from those that can make it themselves. This is a stunner – what a perfect fit, and those details, yikes they’re to die for. I’m envious, Ken, so envious. Gorgeous. Despite knitting with grey in these oh so bleak months. Another grey, wet, foggy day today.

  21. The best way to transfer a hug from one person to another (when an actual hug isn’t possible)! Well done, gorgeous sweater! Thank goodness for knitting…

  22. You say, “I just always pick up stitches at a bound off edge so that it’s nice and strong…”

    Do you mean that you reinforce the edge with a crochet chain?

    The sweater is beautiful, and Ken is a terrific model. Well done to you both!

  23. I spent a chunk of yesterday looking for jobs in Canada… your response to the pandemic has been so… sensible… I mean, I know you have your crazies, but they don’t seem to be invading your government threatening people with guns and that’s good enough for me.
    I could deal with the snow and cold, I live on the south shore of Lake Superior. I might have a little trouble with the language (but not much… you do “eh?” and we do “hey?” “out and about” might give me some trouble… and my french is limited to ordering coffee and food, please and thank you, and je ne parle pas.)
    But really, I don’t want to live in Manitoba or Alberta. And that’s where the majority of the jobs were…
    I’ll keep looking…

    • Another Yooper here, and I was thinking the same thing about a relocation to Canada. Right now Michigan seems a bit short of the sensible. Personally, I’m enjoying the knit time.

  24. The sweater is fabulous, and looks great on Ken. Good job, Ken, for showing us the details on the sweater. I have looked at the Rift pattern before, and this moves it up my (long)list of sweaters to knit. Be safe, stay home, and keep knitting, until we can hug our loved ones once again.

  25. Lovely. Initially found the grey to be a bit daunting, but the final assembly is a masterpiece. Fits beautifully, and Ken is an amazing knitwear model (we knitters do appreciate his sensitivity in sharing details). His smile says it all; virtual hug received and returned x 3.

    Sending heartfelt thoughts and wishes to you and yours, and for everyone affected, in hopes of a safe return to some normalcy sooner than not (as I locally enter week 10 of mandatory stay in place orders… thank goodness for the stash). Touch the airplane – I wish. Be well…

  26. That sweater is Perfect! The fit is fantastic – I’m hoping I can get my younger son to commit to that one. It would look just as terrific on him as Ken’s does (if I can manage to knit it correctly).
    And thank you, Ken, for the excellent choices of photos to share!

  27. Very nice sweater and very well-fitting. I’ve never seen that shoulder construction on a raglan sweater – sort of a faux-fitted sleeve.

    I have a question that maybe you can help with – I got a tick from a walk in the woods a couple of weeks ago – I’ve been treated but I have a woolly sweater question related to that. I wore my brand-new just-finished woolly sweater into the woods and am afraid that there are other ticks hanging out in there. I see from some web sites that you have to put clothing through a hot dryer for an hour to kill off those ticks. Washing with soap won’t necessarily do it.

    This sweater came out a bit big on me, and after I washed it it is even bigger. So drying/washing-in-hot-water/drying-again may not be the complete disaster – but wanted to get your advice before trying it.

    Maybe this is just hopeless – but still wanted to hear what you have to say. I don’t want to put a URL in this message – but I searched for “does laundry soap kill or remove ticks from clothing” to get some info on this topic and got a few hits.

    For those who are curious – I took the doctor’s prescription (phone appointment! – and photos of arm) – and there was no bulls-eye. The small-ish (about 2″) red rash just faded over a week or two.

    And no, I don’t think I’ll be walking in the woods again any time soon. A real shame – I live next to the woods and it’s very nice. Except for the ticks.

  28. Beautiful sweater, with all the knitterly details…and can I just say how dead sexy Ken looks with that touch of gray in his beard??!!

  29. Oh, my gosh, the sweater is gorgeous and perfect.

    I’m horribly jealous of so many things – that you have a knitter to knit for that appreciates it.

    That your country is exhibiting more compassion and sense from the leadership than ours is.

    That your easing of restrictions is being handled with what appears to be sense and sensitivity.

    Thank you for writing from a country with brains and sense.

  30. Ken looks like such a charming person, and I take it that is probably who he really is. The sweater is lovely, and the details are so nice. It’s amazing the miracles you can make happen with cascade 200. It’s one of my favorite yarns.

  31. Oh so much to love here! The sweater, the knitting and the model are all gorgeous. You two have a lasting love.

    I think one of the first posts of yours I read was a Christmas that you gave Ken a pair of socks with lines from Pablo Neruda’s poem about socks knitted in (in Spanish!), and he gave you a drum carder.

    Wear it in good health Ken!

  32. The sweater is beautiful, especially the shoulder and underarm details. Ken looks absolutely thrilled. I know lots of non-knitters who appreciate knitted gifts (my son loves his hand-knitted socks) but knitters have a different appreciation, because they understand the process and they know the sock or whatever didn’t exactly just fall off the needles.

  33. There are so many things machines can make, including sweaters. But no machine can make that sweater. He’s a lucky man on so many levels. Oddly, here in Connecticut among the first things we are opening are the barber shops and hair salons. The restrictions are so severe that the stylist might as well be doing surgery. And… no talking! Or, at least is discouraged. My wife points out that its a pretty weird world when you can’t talk to your hair stylist.

  34. Oh, Canada, how we envy this: “Canada’s commitment to letting the science lead the response.” Ooof. Ken’s having taken “pictures knitters would like” makes my heart explode, as does your post. Take good care and thanks for sharing.

  35. It is true, knitting for knitters is the best! And receiving a knitted gift is also the best! This morning at the farmers’ market a fellow knitter complimented my sweater and I felt a warm glow. This distancing and the fear feeling have been very hard so I think it felt extra wonderful.
    Ken’s sweater is fabulous.

  36. I love everything about this post. It makes me super Happy. (yes, with a capital H). I love how it fits, I love how wonderful it looks on him, and I love, Love, LOVE that he is a knitter and understands. If only they were all that way… Well done, the both of you. *Isn’t it still cold in Canada? What the heck is Ken doing in flip-flops?

    • Canada has springtime and summer too, and it is a really big place so climate is going to vary, y’know, just a wee bit. 😉

  37. This does my heart good today. Lovely sweater. Lovely humans. Sending you all safe virtual hugs from the West Coast.

  38. Man, to live in a country with a sane reopening policy. Or really any thought involved at all… So jealous. I too like giving knitters presents…

  39. That is an incredibly beautiful sweater. The details and finishing really make it.

    Excellent modelling too! Very knit-aware.

    I know Ken will feel the ´hug’.

  40. It has crossed my mind several times that I should take an extended visit to Toronto, (I used to live there so I know my way around) and try to find a way to bump into you, become good friends and let it be known that I would truly cherish a knitted gift. From your needles. I love your blog, it has so often lifed my spirits, but most of all I love your knitting. I actually taught myself to knit listening to a CD of Knitting Rules while doing a bout of chemo. So thank you.

  41. Thank you Stephanie and Ken. Stephanie for giving more living info about Ken whose living arrangements had concerned me following your mother’s death and kudos to Ken not only for the great sweater photos and appreciation but also having the photos taken on the same day as wearing jandals (you might need to Google that one) on one of Toronto’s 53 days of summer.

  42. One knitter to another, Steph, I want you to know that you and Ken have, over the years, gotten so much better as photographers and knitwear models. This reader since 2005 has noticed the incremental progress and is proud of you.

  43. Stellar sweater and doesn’t it fit Ken like a glove!

    Meg Swansen calls that raised arm to show the under-arm details “the Knitter’s Salute”. I think of it every time I see a knitter showing off the knitterly details that way.

    Great job.

  44. Perfect gift. Perfect pattern. Perfect knitting. Social distancing while still being social – perfect. The look of understanding, appreciation and gratitude in Ken’s eye – perfect. The fact that I am happier after reading your blog today – perfect. Thank you!

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