I washed Gemma-Rose’s favourite cardigan and her face lit up. She’d placed it in the hand washing pile a few days ago and I guess she expected it to remain there a little longer. You see, I’m not always good at getting around to doing things.
I knitted that particular cardigan a couple of winters ago. It was my second cardigan of the season. First, I made a Sophie a pale pink creation with a shawl collar and pockets. I asked Sophie, “What size do you want me to knit?”
She thought for a moment and then said, “You’d better make it a size ten. You don’t always finish things quickly.” For an eight year old girl, she was very wise.
But I surprised myself and Sophie, and a few weeks later, well before the end of winter, I’d completed the cardigan. It was all sewn up, buttons had been added and it was ready to wear.
“It’s a little bit big, Mum,” observed my number 4 daughter.
“Well that’s because you had no faith in me. You thought I'd take forever finishing it.”
Encouraged by my success, I bought more wool and cast on stitches for a cardigan for Gemma-Rose, and she in turn was very surprised when a month later she was trying on her pink blanket-stitch edged, zip-up-the-front garment. Perhaps I was acquiring a new image. Maybe I was gaining a reputation for being a reliable and persistent worker and a fulfiller of promises.
And so another winter came along and again I brought smiles to young faces with my woollen creations. Just before the season came to an end, with my confidence overflowing, I purchased some extra soft white wool and a pattern for a ¾ sleeved cardigan edged with knitted lace. Gemma-Rose looked longingly at the picture. Yes, she could see herself in such a cardigan. It would be perfect to wear over her spring dresses. She’d feel like a princess. I had time to make it. Spring was still a little way off.
Back, fronts, sleeves – all were completed. Just the lace to go.
Then I made a fatal mistake: I created a blog. I stopped knitting and I started writing. Instead of getting out my needles whenever I had a spare moment, I’d head to the computer to write or read or (I will admit it) waste time.
So spring came and went and Gemma-Rose didn’t receive her new fairy-tale cardigan. Summer arrived and everyone knows cardigans aren’t needed over the warmer months. I promised myself that I’d finish the cardigan before the cooler temperatures of autumn appeared. But I didn’t.
Several weeks ago, I gave myself a stern talking to. I closed the computer and hunted out my needles and started knitting and purling.
“You’re knitting my cardigan.” Gemma-Rose looked delighted.
I worked hard. The lace grew into a long, long strip. I sewed it to the edges of the cardigan. Gemma-Rose was getting excited. Just the sleeve edging to do. And then I had a thought: perhaps Gemma-Rose should try it on.
She slipped her arms into the sleeves and wrapped it over her chest. No problem. But then I noticed her exposed tummy. The cardigan is much too short. It is a size too small. I looked at Gemma-Rose. How would she react?
“Oh well, never mind, Mum. You can give it to Emma.” (A younger friend.) She accepted the situation easily. She should have had a huge disappointed look on her face. But she didn’t. I don’t think she really expected the cardigan to fit. She’d probably given up on me months ago. My youngest daughter had stopped believing she was ever going to wear that pretty lacy cardigan. I have regained my reputation for never finishing things, never fulfilling little girl promises.
I say, “Yes, I’ll do that for you,” and smiles appear on young faces. And I think, “I’ll do that later when I have finished this or that… “ I never get around to it. And the girls give up on me.
It’s not about lack of time. I just choose to spend time on my own projects instead of investing it in my daughters. But time moves so quickly. One day very soon I won’t have girls to knit cardigans for. Maybe I should close the computer more often and spend time stitching buttons back onto favourite dresses or sewing summer skirts for them or I could begin some new knitting projects…
My computer will be here forever.
The big question is: will I finish knitting the lace to edge the sleeves of the too small cardigan? Will Elizabeth get to wear it?