My favorite cardigans are falling apart.  I spent a considerable amount of time last winter repairing them, preceded by an even longer period of searching for appropriate weight and color yarn to use for darning.  Despite my efforts, they continue to deteriorate.  The elbows are wearing thin on the blue, and the stitching on one of the buttonholes has unraveled.  The cuffs and collars are disintegrating on the green, and although I know how to darn holes, I can’t figure out a good fix for these edges.  

It’s not unexpected that they are going to pieces:  they are hand-me-downs from my mother, are at least forty years old, and I wear them nearly every day.  But while I had very little trouble removing the matching wool a-line skirts from my closet when they became too tight to breathe in, the idea that I have to retire these sweaters from my wardrobe is causing me some distress.

I am somewhat ambivalent about fashion.  I want to look put together and stylish, to wear clothes that reflect who I am, but I have trouble putting forth the effort required for shopping and coordinating and sifting through styles that that don’t suit, please, or fit me.  These sweaters, however, strike a strong connection deep down inside of me.  I love them not just because they are familiar, but because they are perfect.

Accepting that my cardigans are on their last breaths, I have started looking for alternatives.  So far this has involved several exploratory shopping trips to various department, thrift, vintage, and yarn stores.  I don’t actually expect to find “the” sweater any time I walk into a new store, but I remain hopeful that by browsing I am signaling my intentions to the universe, bringing me one step closer to a suitable replacement.  Just like you can’t sit at home and expect Mr. or Mrs. Right to show up at your front door, I can’t go about my life just expecting a perfect wool cardigan to magically appear in my closet.  I’m calling it “sweater dating”, but since for the most part I am just giving them the up and down with my eyes before rejecting, not even taking them into the dressing room for an introduction, “sweater cruising” might be a more appropriate term.

Here are some sweaters that I am contemplating initiating (potentially long and torrid) affairs with:

Katherine Hepburn Cardigan

Lucy in the Sky 

modified cropped fitted cardigan

If only I could decide on the right yarn.

I finished this back in August, and after several creative blocking attempts threw it into the back of my closet convinced that it was unwearable due to baggy sleeves.  In the intervening months I have realized that a) I have absolutely no intention of re-knitting the sleeves and b) it’s not like I don’t wear ill-fitting clothing all the time anyway.  I put it on this morning and wore it to work where it’s flaws did not drive me crazy, so I’m rescuing it from the purgatory of failed knitting projects and throwing it into the regular rotation.

I’m not in love with it, but it’s not terrible either.  I am done using knitpicks wool of the andes, though.  This was done up in “firecracker heather” and it’s a perfectly nice color, but it’s time for me to start spending the money required for wool that feels a bit nicer between one’s fingers.

My favorite part is where I duplicate stitched my initials and the year into the hem, a la Elizabeth Zimmermann.  It’s a nice little touch, don’t you think?

02/07/2009

This afternoon I let my macho pride compel me into going on a run that was incompatible with my actual fitness level.  “Ouch”, say my calves.  On the positive side, the multi-use trail near my house overlooks the reservoir and is absolutely gorgeous.  I am so lucky to live here.  So, so, so lucky.

felicisocksOne of the nice things about socks is how portable they are.  So portable that one can carry them around in one’s messenger bag every day for nine months without working on them and not seem to notice.  

I decided enough was enough last week and buckled down.  And they are nice, even if I already have a positively exorbitant quantity of wool socks stuffed into my bureau.  Which wouldn’t be so bad if I weren’t going to go and start another pair just to have something small and easy to carry around in my bag and not work on.  It’s a vicious cycle, really.

Made with Knitpicks Felici in “patina” on 00s.