Handmade with Love: the Lumi Tunic
“Meghan, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I lost my hat.”
My friend’s face was full of apprehension as he awaited my angry response, but to his surprise I started laughing. I asked him where he lost it, and he responded, “Yosemite.”
Can you think of a more beautiful place to lose a handknit? I can’t.
It was an accident, and an easily forgivable one. He clearly loved his hat and respected the time, skill, and care that went into its making, and those are the qualities that make someone “knitworthy”—so I made him another one. Honestly, he could lose this one as well, and I’d still make him another, as long as he loses it in another national park.
To Knit, or Not to Knit?
Here’s the thing about making handknits: if they go to the right person, anything that might happen to them is fair game as long as they are loved. Which is why I was a bit hesitant to make my sister another sweater. She’s quite persnickety about her clothes and always has been. Over the years I’ve made her a couple of sweaters, but they never quite hit the mark.
I love her dearly and still want to make for her, so I switched to accessory knits. These are always well received and worn. I wasn’t even mad when she lost a colorwork mitten in the Minneapolis snow; I knew she loved them enough to wear them every day.
I was ready to offer another F.O. to her, in honor of her late January birthday; her thirtieth. While we were home for the winter holidays she happened to pick up knit.wear Fall/Winter 2017 from my mother’s magazine pile. Her fingers stopped on the Lumi Tunic by Sarah Solomon.
“This one,” she said, and held up the magazine for me to examine.
“This one, what?” I said.
“I want this one for my birthday.” It was the first time she’d asked for a sweater in years, and it was her 30th birthday after all. On the spot, I experienced a change of heart on the garment-making front for my sister.
“Black,” she said.
And I moaned, “My eyes! Really? Any other color?”
“Do you want me to wear it?”
The next day, I went over to my hometown LYS and picked up several skeins of Stone Hedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool Worsted in black. By New Year’s Eve I had a black swatch, and by New Year’s Day the tubular cast-on for the back was complete and I was working my way through the bottom ribbing. While I was on my flight back to Colorado I nearly finished the back, and considering this was a tunic (in black), I was rather shocked. The textured diamond stitch pattern was so intuitive and easy it didn’t matter that I could barely see the fabric in the dim airplane lighting.
In the following few weeks the front worked up almost as quickly, despite the fact that I couldn’t just knit all the time—I had to go into the office and do my real job. But I re-watched The West Wing and got complacent with easy dinners so I could work on her sweater. It wasn’t a chore. I loved working every stitch, I loved the soft merino, I even loved the eye-exhausting black color, because I love her.
Just after her birthday, I completed the tubular cast-off on the cowl neck and filled up my kitchen sink with wool wash. The Lumi Tunic took a good soak, and then I did my least favorite thing when finishing a knit: I measured and pinned out the tunic on my guest room floor.
When I packed up the sweater, sealed the box closed, and wrote out a label destined for Brooklyn, NY, I felt sure it was going to the right person.
A few days later, my phone lit up with a sweater selfie from my sister. She had just opened the box and pulled on her new tunic.
“I’M OBSESSED! I’M NEVER TAKING IT OFF!”
“Good! Have someone at work take a picture of you and send it to me, please!”
This conversation translates to “I love you so much!” and “I love you, too!” in sister speak.
The next day it snowed in New York, and my sister got to test out her new Lumi Tunic on a picturesque cobblestone street in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge.
I think she likes it. I think she loves it. A handknit sweater, made with love, and loved.
Everything else is fair game.
Find the Lumi Tunic and More in knit.wear Fall/Winter 2017