31 March 2008


phrase, "eefff" "oh" used on Ravelry as an abbreviation for Finished Object, a completed knitting/crochet project.

(And here you thought that I was going to be obscene and foul-mouthed, didn't ya? HA! Fooled ya!)

This? I knitted this. This is a sweater. One that I knitted. Laid out on my dining room table. Did I mention I knitted it? It only took me 6 years. Seriously.

This is a detail shot of the bottom left corner. The pattern has the sweater knitted in one large piece, with the sleeves attached later. The border is garter stitched, knitted every row. The body is stockinette stitch, thus the difference in the textures.

The sleeves were knitted separately, and then joined to the body, then, finally, sewn into round sleeves. I made a mistake on the first sleeve, adding a few extra rows of garter stitches after the solid color border. (See the second section of bumpy stitches, in the variegated blue/light blue? Right there, that's a mistake.) Rather than admit that I screwed up, and rip back ten rows, I kept the mistake, and repeated it on the second sleeve. I can't follow a pattern as written to save my soul. Sigh. That's my Type B personality side coming out; I want to put my own personal spin on everything I touch.

My stitches are nice, though.

I learned how to knit in one series of classes, a six week session. In the fall of 2002. That was Knitting 101. Knitting 201 was to putting those stitches learned to practical application, making a sweater. I finished most of the body of the sweater during Knitting 201, but wasn't even close to finishing the whole thing.

I knitted the sleeves while in Europe in 2003.

And there it sat, for the next 5 years.

We moved house, and it moved with us. It has been sitting in a basket in my bedroom for the last 3 years, where I saw it, unfinished, every single darned day. This winter, as I've been knitting like a house on fire, I've thought nearly every weekend, "I'll finish that sweater this weekend. Right after the laundry/dishes/dusting/cooking is done."

Finally, yesterday, I began the last few steps, by sewing the shoulder seams. And then sewing the arms into place, and lastly, closing up the sleeves. The very last detail was knitting the collar, which I did today.

Now two things remain. One, to wash it. I always wash F.O.s before I give them away, or wear them. My thought is that I've carried whatever the F.O. is around for as little as a few weeks to as long as a few years, and it is bound to be dirty. So each thing I make gets a hand wash and drip-dry, no matter what the yarn's washing instructions may be, even if it is safe to wash in the washing machine, a hand-wash is what happens the first time around.

Two is to decide WTF to do with it. When I cast it on to the needles, the intention was that the sweater was for me. After looking at it for the past 6 years, I no longer like it very much.

So perhaps I ought to give it away.

But it is rather poorly made, not at all to my usual standard, as I knit it not long after learning how to knit. Your skill level improves with time and practice, practice, practice. I am a much better knitter now than I was in 2001. (If I do say so myself!)

The mistakes are myriad. The sleeves don't match up to the body of the garment well, the collar is uneven, there were holes here and there until I wove in the loose ends and fixed those spots with spurious sewn stitches. Those are all relatively minor; the biggest problem is the underarm portion of each sleeve. There are two huuuuge spots where I had to make major corrections when piecing it together that resulted in big gathers at each armpit. You can't see it when wearing the garment, but you can feel it. The worst part is not how it looks when turned inside out, the worst part is that *I* know the screw-ups are there. That really bothers me. (That's my Type A personality part showing itself.)

Last of all is the fact that it really and truly did take me six years to finish. I do believe that this sweater will be the first and LAST sweater I'll ever make. Unless we're talking about making an infant sized sweater, which would be much, much smaller. The whole experience wasn't very positive, so why should I try it again? I like my knitted hats, scarves, and other small projects like baby blankets that don't need blocking, piecing together, and such painstaking accuracy.

At least, that's what I'll think until I find a tantalizing yarn, like the GGH Vamos I bought in Brooklyn, which might make a nice sweater.....


MotherMe said...

Who cares about mistakes? It's your first sweater. Congrats on finishing it!

Lucy Arin said...

Finally Finished Object is what this should be titled!

I'll admit to relief that it is done, but I don't fancy it lying around here for the next 10 years!

Dawna said...

Yes, you certainly get a big congrats for finishing it. As a thought, why don't you donate it to the Salvation Army or something?

Lucy Arin said...

I'd actually be embarrassed to give it away to charity, because it is so badly constructed.

It is hanging up to dry now, and it will probably be folded into a box for the time being.

John said...

Interesting that the very things you see as imperfections are the very things that give this beautiful creation value. There is not another like it anywhere! (Ahhh, I'm tempted to run down that path...)

I start the on-blog bidding at $20.

Lucy Arin said...

what a refreshing perspective! Thank you for that.

Knitting, however, is not an inexpensive hobby, and the yarn for that sweater, purchased at the chi-chi boutique where I learned how to knit, cost me around $50.

Knitting for personal profit is an outrageous idea; my time as a skilled craft-person, plus the yarn, needles, and other various notions (stitch markers, tapestry needle, row counter, etc, etc) make the finished garments cost more than would be practical or affordable. Skilled tradespeople get between $15-30 an hour in the factories and machine shops around here, so if we settle upon a rate of $25/hour, plus materials, times six years.....huh. You're right.

It *IS* priceless.

Thank you.