Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Acknowledging the Problem is the First Step . . .

OK, here's something no one talks about, but I'm hoping I'm not the only one who's succumbed. We all know that knitting is expensive, that--in general--knitting a handmade garment is more expensive than buying a comparable garment at the store. We've all responded to those comments of, "Wow--you must save a lot of money by knitting your own sweaters" with knowing smiles, mocking laughs, or itemized lists of the cost of yarn and supplies for that silk-angora sweater we've just finished. Knitting's expensive--that's no secret.

But here's another little phenomenon that I think is much less publicized and almost as insidious. What happens when you've knitted that perfect sweater, in the perfect color, in a beautiful yarn? You'd love to wear the sweater, but you have nothing to wear with it. So you have to--you just have to--head out to pick up a little something to complement your hand-knit finery. Now, I'm not talking about picking up a lovely little necklace or some matching earrings. No, in my case at least, it's a much bigger problem.

It all started last fall, when I had finished a scarf that I thought would match my winter coat. Well, it turned out it looked okay with my existing coat, but it would look so much better with a green coat I spotted at H&M. Plus, it was H&M, so, you know, it was actually affordable. "Did you knit the scarf to match the coat?" people asked when I wore the two together. Well, no, I bought the coat to match the scarf.

Next thing you know, it was Easter. Easter was cool this year (as it often is in the Northeast), but it's tradition to buy a new springy dress for Easter. I mean, really, the stores have had the spring clothes on display since January, and it's just wrong somehow to wear black on Easter. So I picked up a very nice sundress at Ann Taylor Loft just for Easter, just because it's tradition. Was it a coincidence that it happened to match perfectly the ballet wrap I had knitted over the winter? I'll let you decide.

Flash forward to last week. As regular readers of this blog know, I'm knitting this pattern. It's retro, it's feminine, it has that sort of Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn in The Aviator kind of look (this is one movie character, along with Kristin Scott Thomas as Katharine Clifton in The English Patient, whose entire wardrobe I wanted to steal--clearly I have a thing for the 1930s, or for people named Kathe/arine).

So what's a girl to do? I'm about 2/3 done with the sweater, and although I have a knee-length full skirt that will look pretty cute with it, I'm afraid that the days of short skirt weather in Boston are numbered for this year, or they will be by the time I've finished the sweater. For fall, I really needed trousers. 'Cause Kathe/arine wouldn't be caught dead in jeans. So, although I'm equally embarassed by a) how much money I spent and b) the fact that I've now indirectly given money to Rick Santorum, I think I've found the perfect . . . ahem . . . accessory for my newest knitting project.

So I've admitted I have a problem. Now all I have to do is finish that sweater I'm knitting to match my trousers. Or something like that.


Blogger Theresa said...

Love this post - what a great insight. I think most of my wardrobe was bought to complement my knitting . . . (At least my winter wardrobe. . .)

5:55 PM  
Blogger Thea said...

yeah but... I've seen that green coat and it's AWESOME, as are the pants and tha sundress, so really, where's the problem?/? Apparently you've just hit on a really good excuse to buy cool clothes - something we all need!!!

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Fascinating. I think I solve this by wearing lots of black, knitting only things that go with black, and being generally insensitive to fashion. Mostly, though, I delay finishing. Maybe that's the way to get past the finishing block: take the project in progress on a shopping trip.

6:12 AM  
Blogger Dani said...

Love your post! I need to go find a matching jacket for my knitted scarves! The pants are going to be fabulous.. They have some cute ones at AT Loft right now!!

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Stephanie in Portland said...

I love those trousers--if you don't mind, can you let me know where I can find a comparable pair? i.e., what brand (why do we call pants "pairs?" when there is only one). (If I ever lose my last 30 pounds of pregnancy weight--I've lost 35 so far, 30 more to go!--then I could treat myself to such a "pair") kosk0025@yahoo.com

11:43 PM  
Blogger shireen said...

are those pants from anthropologie? if so, i just tried them on yesterday! they're great

9:38 AM  

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