The Death of a Jumper


There are times when you have to say goodbye to things you’ve loved, created, or treasured.  Sometimes the relationship comes to a natural end; sometimes things take an unexpected turn, so that circumstances initiate change; and sometimes your own feelings change, or you confront the painful truth that maybe it just wasn’t quite right for you in the first place.

Take this jumper, for example.  It’s Shannon from Rowan Magazine 52:


There’s nothing wrong with it, really.  The design works and I’d recommend it to other knitters.  What I hated, and tried for far too long to ignore, was the neck detail.  It’s supposed to be a funnel neck; indeed, it IS a funnel neck.  I’m rarely seen in funnel neck tops because I don’t like them, and yet I persevered with this jumper.  Why?  Was it partly because I like the moss stitch yoke and the way it seems to grow on from the diamond panels at the sides?  Was it because that (now discontinued) shade of blue in Rowan Kid Classic is one of my favourites and I’d been trying to save it for the right project, and now had to face my mistake?  Or was it because the idea of ripping out all those pretty cables was too much to bear, and I’d rather fudge a good fit than accept defeat?

It could have been any or all of those reasons, but whichever and whatever, they were no longer good enough for me.  Out came the scissors, and I got stuck into unpicking the seams.

unpickingshannon It reminded me of the truism that the hardest part of making a decision is making the decision.  Once I’d faced up to the disappointed hopes, accepted my mistakes and gracefully faced up to the correct – and inevitable – choice, I felt much calmer.  I wish there were a word in the English language to describe the sense of peace, calm and resolution one feels when you give way and let go of stubborn resistance.  With every stitch I unpicked, and every scrap bit of yarn I threw away, I felt empowered and free.

And embarrassed too: how long had it taken me to get around to this, and why on earth hadn’t I done this before?  What did I think was so difficult?  Why did I think this would be so difficult?  It isn’t, not at all.  The ego has a lot to answer for!  Needless to say, I was humbled.

shannonunpickedBefore too long – a few evenings, I think – Shannon was in pieces and I’d never felt more together about it.  She lay there, prone, supine, and accepting of her destiny.  I photographed her in that state, trying to remember the last time I’d seen her like that; when she was being knitted and I was preparing to sew her together.  Things really do come full circle, I thought.  Some circles are just bigger than others.

I gave it a few more days before I started unravelling the pieces.  Truth be told, I really enjoy ripping out knitting and look forward to occasions when it isn’t a design swatch I’ve laboured over in advance of a deadline ;-).  Now that I had one of those, I was going to enjoy it!  So much so that I decided to record the happy event and share it here for posterity:

So, what’s next?  The plan is to make a Kim Hargreaves Maddy jumper, my third, no less.  After this episode, I’ve decided to knit a design that I already know and wear to death.  I currently have two in grey and pink, so a blue one would be very welcome.  As I write, I’m expecting a tonal shade of Debbie Bliss Angel to hit my doorstep; slightly risky as I’ve only seen the colour online, but if nothing else, it seems to be the best match out there.  I have faith.  If I can believe that my second go with this yarn will be better than the first, then the colour will be perfect.  That’s another thing about passive nonresistance.  In situations like this, going with the flow is rarely a bad idea.





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