Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Dr. Who Scarf is Entirely Curse-Free

          There is a bit of dark magic out there that All Who Knit are acquainted with. Knitters who gather in coffee shops for their weekly knitting group murmur stories to one another about it as young hipsters eye them warily. Knitters who meet in bars, and call their groups Stitch & Bitch, tell stories also, often louder and accompanied by large sloppy gestures, that inevitably end with a shouted, "…and then (s)he dumped me!"

          A Knitting Curse, if you will, affects every knitter who has ever Loved and Knit. This is how it works. You are a person who, in addition to all your other interesting vocations and avocations, knits. In between bouts of knitting, you meet someone. You fall in love, so so so deeply in love. You want to share your very soul with your loved one. Your loved one reciprocates. You spend hours, days, weeks gazing into each other's loving eyes. You decide, as a token of your deep and abiding love, that you will make your loved one a sweater. A beautiful, beautiful sweater. (And here it doesn't matter whether the sweater is, in fact a work of wondrousness or whether it has three arms and the neck opening ten inches down and four inches to the left of where neck openings usually go, because you Made It With Love. So so so much love.)

          You work on the Sweater of Love for a long time, for sweaters are not quickly made. You knit your love into each and every stitch. You imagine your loved one wearing it. You stay up late working on the Sweater of Love. You turn down invitations from friends to go out and have extra super fun so that you may toil even harder on this sweater that is the physical embodiment of your deep, abiding love.

          Finally comes a day when the Sweater of Love is finished. All the stitches knitted, seams sewn, loose ends work in. With trembling hands you offer it to your loved one—this symbol of your love over which you have labored so long.

          At this point, one of two things happens. Your loved one dumps you right then and there to run screaming away from you and your bizarre obsession with sweaters. Or, your loved one thanks you bleakly for the Sweater of Love and then a week later texts you some version of it's not you; it's me (with no really it's that sweater as the subtext) and disappears as completely from your life as that one friend of yours who owes you money.

          Those of us who manage to avoid The Curse of the Love Sweater, as it is known to all knitterdom, will not escape its lesser sibling, The Curse of the Cat Sweater.

          Before we were married, I prudently eschewed making any sweaters at all for K (although I did darn his beloved and moth-eaten sailing sweater at his request). After we were married, I made him a beautiful warm sweater that he thanked me nicely for and then put on the remote shelf in the closet where unwearable sweaters went to be discovered by our cats and put to their true intended use: the beautifullest and warmest of cat beds.

          I am a slow learner, and so a few years later I made him another sweater. The cats were excellent pleased with their new, handspun cat bed.

          There were one or two objects after this—the world's scratchiest socks for my mother, interestingly engineered but impractical as regards the actual wearing mittens for our oldest son—but I finally learned not to knit anything out of love for anyone except myself unless I received a signed, notarized request. In triplicate.

The Season 18 Dr. Who scarf.  All the necessary paperwork was filed prior to the making of this scarf.

          So my delightful niece moved me almost to tears this fall when she voluntarily said, without coaching or prodding of any kind from me, "Aunt Nancy, could you knit me a Dr. Who scarf?"

          After she wrote out the request and we found a notary public, I did, indeed, knit her a Dr. Who scarf. It is the most fun I've had on a knitting project this year. And she assures me no cat of hers will be able to use it for a bed, because she will be wearing it.

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