In November, I decided I could no longer resist the siren call of Targhee Worsted from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, and succumbed. The goal: a CustomFit cardigan. What could be better than bright blue wool to snuggle up in during the long winter months? I swatched, generated the pattern, and cast on. The yarn was such a pleasure to work with that my sweater pieces practically flew off the needles. Then came the first sleeve — or half of it. I realized that I would not have enough yarn, and I stopped knitting. I sent an SOS to Tina of Blue Moon, and sat back and waited.
In the meantime, I knit other things. I finished a sock. I finished a baby blanket that was long overdue to its recipient. The sweater kept calling to me, though.
Then, somewhere between casting on and waiting for more yarn, it happened: My other CustomFit sweaters stopped fitting. My worn-open cardigan knit with BFL sport kind of hung from my shoulders and looked slovenly. My Foyle’s Pullover, knit with Jackson DK, is trying to masquerade as a tunic. It’s gappy at the underarms and I feel miserable about it. I would live in that sweater if I could, but I can’t, especially now that it no longer fits.
What happened? A lot of denial happened, really. (I can’t explain that. I think if you’ve been where I am, you get it, but I can’t really explain it).
Anna asked me to share a bit about what has happened with you, so here goes. It’s very, very personal, and I feel like I’m exposing myself here, but I’m okay with that. Or at least I think I am. If I’m not — well, we can just call it a growing experience.
Face it: I’m not a small person. I’m 5’4” and technically, by medical definition, I am morbidly obese. Those two words, when spoken together, make me feel a little sick to my stomach. When those two words are spoken about me, not only do I feel sick to my stomach but I also cringe. I might also blush because I’m embarrassed that those words are being spoken about me, and I will crawl into my shell a little bit to lick my wounds. I realize, though, that those words are the truth and, as they say, the truth hurts.
We won’t talk about what the turning point was for me. Suffice it to say that enough was enough, and with the help of a dear friend (you know who you are, I know you’re reading this right now, and once again, I cannot thank you enough), I’ve made some changes in my life that brought about enough weight loss that it requires me to say goodbye to sweaters I love.
When Amy Herzog visited Natural Stitches to help us launch CustomFit, she told the group that was gathered that the “average” fit sweater gives room for about 20 pounds either way — lost or gained. I think that’s a good estimate, really — because when I started losing weight, my sweaters still fit well. It was when I went above that mark that things started to get a little wonky, and when I hit — breathe — 50 pounds, it was time to take a hard look at how that sweater was fitting.
This realization brought about another one: That I was wasting my time and energy on that lovely blue sweater. Why should I continue to knit on it when there really is no way on earth that the sweater is going to fit me? And the blue sweater isn’t the only one! I have — er, had — a summer top in the works that will also be heading to the frog pond very soon.
When I was ripping my sweater out, we had a few customers in the store gasp, and someone mentioned that they would never be able to do such a thing. My husband said he was very sad because I had put all this work and effort into it and I was just throwing that time away. Again, I say, why waste my time and energy on a sweater that I love but that won’t fit me?
This, though, doesn’t mean that I can’t have nice things! Anna remeasured me*, and I thought about generating another pattern and casting on…but I’m not going to wear that blue sweater in the summer, and in three months, who knows what will happen weight-wise? I could lose more, I could gain more, I could stay the same — but I don’t think I will. So in September, I’ll get remeasured (again) and I’ll swatch (again) and I’ll generate a pattern for a new cushy cardigan that I’ll love knitting and that I’ll be able to wear for a few months.
So why did we tell you these things?
- Don’t be afraid to rip things out. If it isn’t bringing you joy, if it isn’t going to fit you, why expend the time and effort on it? It’ll fit someone — sure. But will it make you happy if you give it to someone rather than the person it was intended for?
- CustomFit is a great choice for someone whose weight fluctuates a bit here and there. Don’t forget, with the new no-shaping designs, it’s great for men and women, and children age 4 and up!
- If I can do this, so can you. If you need to make a lifestyle change, just do it. Nobody can do it for you. Take small steps. One thing at a time. One day at a time. And all of those other things that you have heard reiterated time and time and time again when people talk about making a lifestyle change. No, there’s no magic potion. It takes hard work, but the end results are so worth it. YOU are worth it.
*In case you’re wondering, 13 inches difference overall.