[Announcement: Strangerville Live will is this week, September 16 & 17. You can get tickets and find other info about the storytellers HERE. Please come so we can see how cute you are.]

I began knitting in Year Of Our Lord Cher Two Thousand and Seventeen. I picked up the hobby as a stress reliever since the other 49 stress relief hobbies were no longer doing the trick.

This was during an exceedingly stressful time at work and I was having actual panic attacks and felt like I needed to find something new to try. I don't know why I picked knitting. I had never had any interest in it before. I think it was the first option that came to mind and I impulsively googled, discovered there was a knitting store down the street from my house, and immediately drove to it.

When I walked into the store, I told the owner I was going to become a knitter and wanted to knit a scarf. She directed me to some supplies and told me to come back in a few weeks when I gave up on the scarf so she could get me started on a hat, which would be much less daunting and boring.

I returned a few weeks later, scarf abandoned, and learned to make a hat.

As is the case with any hobby I pick up, I quickly became manic and obsessive with this one, knitting during every work meeting, any time I was a passenger in a car, etc. I knitted so much during the pandemic that if you unraveled all of the yarn I went through it would wrap around the world seven times.

A few years ago I decided to try my hand at sweaters and this was a convenient thing for someone like me to want to do because I happen to be married to a sweater connoisseur. When Skylar moved in with me he was trailed by an entire parade like that one in Aladdin with hundreds of his volunteer servants riding elephants and carting in enough sweaters to clothe all of Scandinavia. He then filled every drawer, closet, and cupboard in our house with them. I once suggested that we go through these sweaters and whittle down the collection. He called 911 and filed a police report over this. I still can't vote or serve on a jury.

Over the course of two or three years, I made Skylar four very cute sweaters. He did not ask for these, nor did he participate in selecting a pattern or color. And yet, I tossed each at him with contempt as I finished them, telling him he better be grateful, ensuring he could hear the resentment in my voice.

Skylar would try them on and compliment me for my diligent labors. He would wear the sweater for a week, and then I would never see it again.

So last year I finally confronted him about this. I was very mature and understanding. You don't need to ask him for his version of this story. He's busy. Please don't bother him.

In so many words, Skylar told me that he was impressed with the sweaters, but the ones I knitted were just not something he would choose to wear and he said he felt guilty about that. So I told him to find a pattern and color he liked and said I would knit what he wanted this time.

That man—the one who swore before all of the demons of hell and cherubim of purgatory, at a party where I had to pay for everyone we know to get drunk, that he would love and support and worship me for the remainder of our existence—then chose the most boring sweater pattern that has ever patterned in the history of patterning. The instructions for this thing were basically one sentence.

And to make matters worse, it required yarn that was essentially the thickness of floss. And not even the wax kind.

I started knitting this incredibly boring sweater last November while on a flight to New York. The flight attendant stopped to ask me about it, as every flight attendant does on every flight I have flown in the last five years. I usually parade my art in these situations in a manner you might describe as "boastful evangelism." But for the past year, I've shown anyone who was curious this project from a place of defensiveness.

"It's a really boring pattern. I didn't pick it. My husband wanted this. And I serve at the pleasure."

I knitted, every day, for ten months, willing myself to get this stupid era of my life over with.

Finally, last week, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I stayed up late several nights in row while my husband slept in peace, safe and not fully aware of my efforts. I now know how soldiers feel while protecting the country. I'm going to start asking for veteran discounts.

I finished the sweater yesterday and the moment I did I commanded Skylar to come try it on.

My husband—the man who is legally obligated to devote all of his energy to making me happy at all times—apparently made a decision in the last year to work out too much and quadruple the size of his shoulders and arms so when he pulled on this sweater it was so tight that there's going to be a whole conference talk about it this fall.

He looked at me after we struggled with all our might to get it onto his body and noticed that the collar was stretched half down his shoulders so he looked like Pennywise the Clown.

There was terrified amusement in his eyes.

He resisted a smile—I could tell he was resisting.

And then he whispered, "I love it."

~It Just Gets Stranger