Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Yarn Harlot Makes Me Feel Shame

She’s making a Gansey for her husband, out of hand-spun wool. Spun by her own hands. Washed, carded, spun and then knitted – by her, herself. For him.

My husband is lucky if I’ll make him a sandwich, because he, like the Harlot’s Joe, is a big guy. Tall. Mine is 6’4”. And has these freakishly long average for a 6’4” tall human male arms.

In the twelve years (gads!) we’ve been together, I’ve knitted him one (1) sweater. One lousy sweater. From store-bought wool. Good wool! But store bought wool. BULKY wool. Oh my goodness yes. Bulky is the word. That sweater could be used to stop bullets, that’s how bulky it is. The last time I washed it, I almost couldn’t lift it out of the tub afterwards. Bulky, bulky, bulky wool yarn.

And yet, I still thought I was going to grow old and die before I finished that @*^&ing sweater for that man. I’ve never been closer to divorce. Fortunately, I realized before calling the attorney how stupid this would sound to any rational, non-knitting person: “Yes, I’d like to file for divorce. Because he’s too tall and has freakishly long average for a 6’4” tall human male arms.”

I’ve been plotting the winter sweaters for the kids. Nice, small winter sweaters. Nothing too fancy. A fish here, a bear there, a little robin on the pocket and we’re good. He watches me laying out the magazines and books and yarn samples and needles and joins in the discussion of pink v. purple, zipper v. buttons, boat-neck or crew.

It's a lot of thought, a lot of discussion, a lot of work, putting together sweaters for those children to drag through the mud, throw on the classroom floor and then leave balled up in a cubby all winter.

But for my husband? Uh…how about…I just buy you a nice windbreaker, dear?

While Stephanie is washing a mountain of fleece, carding and spinning it into a tiny tight little yarn and then painstakingly knitting around and around and around and around forever and ever and ever to make a sweater for her mate, I’m pretending mine doesn’t exist.

At least, not when it comes to sweaters. Socks, I will make for him. I’ve made him a ton of socks. And he wears them. Anytime I take out a set of double-pointed needles he says, “Oh! Are those going to be for me?!”

I know he’d like a new sweater. I know he would. It’s just that…he’s so…tall. And then there’s those freakishly long average for a 6’4” tall human male arms of his...

I can feel myself aging already.

And yet, I also feel shame. I love my husband rather tremendously. He deserves a nice warm winter sweater, especially given that on our anniversary (in February), I insist on dragging him not to Maui, but to rugged coastlines or snow-laden mountains.


OK, fine. I’ll make him a sweater, too. Geesh.

But the spinning wheel, and on this I am firm, stays on the shelf. I am not going to go all native and start buying up fleece that I then have to find time to wash and card and spin and dye and LORD ONLY KNOWS what-all else! The last time I had the wheel down, Danger Mouse toddled up to it, stuck her finger right in the drive belt and then cranked the wheel. She was just about Captain Adventure’s age at the time. And he’s even more fascinated by things that whirl and spin and bobble and make funny noises. All of which my spinning wheel definitely does.

It stays on the shelf. No piles of fleece are entering this Den. My love only goes so far, and here it stops: There shall be no washing, carding, spinning, dyeing, skeining/balling of yarn in this Den. Not even for the husband. Not unless the social order breaks down and all manufactured yarn disappears from the face of the earth.

That’s just how it is.


Marianne said...

I'm lucky I remember to buy my husband a CARD!

Very Herodotus said...

If your husband is anything like mine, he's too daggone hot-blooded to wear a sweater, and would rather go around in short sleeves in the winter time.

Moira said...

Even if I learned how to read a #$%& pattern my husband wouldn't wear it... so I will knit for me and the kids... now to learn to purl :)
Oh and your wheel looks lovely on the shelf. Don't worry.

Barb said...

How 'bout a vest for the husband?