Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Other Blue Sweater

See that blue sweater? The photograph is less than a year old. The sweater itself is 36.

I know. I can't believe it either. I was married a little over a year when I made it. The Air Force had sent my husband off to Southeast Asia for eighteen months and I was back home in my parents' apartment in Queens.

What else could I do but turn to needlework?

Actually needlework has always been my comfort and refuge. I don't know how people who don't embrace the needle arts get through life with their sanity intact.

The sweater was made during the summer of 1970 from a pattern I found in the late and deeply lamented McCall's Needlework Arts and Crafts, a huge oversized magazine (the way magazines were in thsoe days) filled with dreams. The pattern was for a man's crocheted tennis sweater in crisp white yarn with navy trim. The model was an impossibly preppy looking fellow who clearly didn't have a worry in his whole college-bound, draft-exempt world. I hated him on sight.

But I loved the sweater and decided it was just the thing for my sergeant husband to wear in 100 degree/100% humidity summer days on The Rock.

Clearly I was crazy at the time but I went to Ackerman's on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, bought the only yarn I could afford, then sat down and crocheted myself a sweater to keep him safe.

I guess it worked. I still have the man and he still has the sweater. Can't ask for more than that.


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