Thursday, February 10, 2011

I ♥ my old sweater...

Regress with me to's a cold, dreary day in February, by which time the relentless ice and snow of winter have turned everyone into a mental case. I am in the process of divorce, and custodial parent of sons, ages eight and four. Between doing the mother thing--balancing child-care and two horribly-paid college teaching jobs in two cities fifty miles apart--and burdened with a Greek chorus of doomsaying relatives and the ex-husband from hell, between talking interminably to lawyers and therapists and trying to reinvent my life, post-divorce, I am, shall we say, a bit tense?

Then, for reasons long forgotten, I find myself surprisingly alone in the car, near an outlet store in Needham, Massachusetts called De Celle, and all the fibers of my being tilt into shopping mode. An inner voice tells me to buy, to buy, to buy, though I have little money and no real need for anything to wear. As if in a dream, I enter De Celle's, my body automatically propelled through its glassy doors, past the handbags and hats, the umbrellas and dresses, to the section demarcated "Ladies Tops." A while later, I emerge with this sweater, which once (but no longer) had an inner label stating "hand-knitted in Great Britain."

I wear it every Valentine's Day.  And also whenever I feel a strong need for protective magic.

The sweater has sustained some moth damage over the past twenty-three years. But it's been a stalwart friend, and I love it still.


  1. Ah.... I understand. I too have such a "sweater of solace"-- a cardigan that I made in the '80's, a deep red Aran that was destined for "Santa" in a magazine that folded. It became MINE, and it is my comfort sweater. Large and warm, with pompoms for necessary whimsy in times of trouble.

    I am sure many knitters also have a such a comfort sweater....

    Happy Valentine's Day!!! We, your readers, will picture your attire!

  2. There's something about red that is ever so compelling. It is maternal as well as strong. Wearing a large red sweater is like being inside a protective ring of fire.

    I would be interested in hearing from other readers if they have a handmade comfort sweater. A photo gallery of them would be an excellent post. Readers, send me images of your handknitted comfort sweaters, please!