Monday, January 15, 2007

Mr S's Arms

** Welcome, Yarnival readers! Thanks for stopping by our blog. Be sure to check back in a few days for shots of Mr. S in his finished sweater.


I have read enough blogs to have read countless posts where people complain about being stranded on Sleeve Island. The interminable dullness of sleeves. That boring sleeve-knitting that makes for boring knit-blogging.

I will hear none of it. I will not read with a sympathetic eye any longer for any knitter suffering through the sleeves of their latest project.

Not until you have knit sleeves for my husband. Two at once. With a K2,P3 rib pattern. For 22 inches. So make that 44 inches.

Mr S has unusually long arms. He has to buy his shirts one size too big to accomodate his almost simian arm length. His arms are as long as my inseam. I know I am petite, but I swear I just knit myself a pair of pants.


As I have plodded along the last few weeks, knitting along on the sleeves for Mr S's sweater, I have been thinking about his arms quite a bit. And I've been cursing them, wondering why in the world I ever complained about knitting him socks for his size 13 feet. Or why I bristle at making him gloves for his big hands. I've asked him several times how he would feel about a vest.

But as I sat to write this post, I thought about how disloyal it has been of me to curse these arms.

Mr S. takes after his late grandfather, a World War II fighter pilot with the longest arms and gentlest heart I have ever known. When Mr S's and my friendship bloomed into romance about a dozen years ago, I remember meeting the gracefully gangly Grandpa, and loving the sight of 6'5" Grandpa walking beside 5'0" Grandma. Mr. S has an old cardigan of Grandpa's, the only sweater with long-enough arms he owns.

His arms were the first to cradle our children with love, while I was strapped down on an operating table, or as with Rosebud, unconscious at the time of her birth. Those arms carried them both as newborns into our home for the first time.

His arms bore my father's casket, three years ago this week. His arms change my mother's light bulbs and clean her gutters and empty her attic. His arms have hoisted many a pint with friends, and usually wear one of his collection of vintage mechanical watches, his one and only indulgence, as he silently approves my many. His arms have helped countless friends move, painted dozens of rooms, and have fixed many things that I have broken.

Every Friday night, these arms provide me with the most soul-renewing moment of my week, our long, tight hug after the lighting of the Shabbat candles.

Knitting these sleeves was an arduous exercise in endurance, bourne out of love.

Sort of like marriage. And parenthood. And anything else worth the effort.

36 comments:

Martina said...

I will never complain about sleeve island again! I promise! But, oh, what a wonderful homage to your dear DH's arms!

Anonymous said...

Lovely. I'm going to go and hug my husband.

Mo said...

Liz ... that was beautiful.

HPNY Knits said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HPNY Knits said...

oops- i was trying to say
very touching and lovely! knitting is life!

Mintyfresh said...

sniff! what a lovely tribute to arms.

i'm going to go and get a husband now. (to quote anonymous.)

Dave said...

Beautifully said!

Ashley said...

What a sweet post. Sniff.

iSeL said...

If that isn't love, I do know what is. I admire your tenacity.

Anonymous said...

awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

anne marie in philly

Lolly said...

What a post! So sweet, and funny too (love the picture of your "pants"!) One of my best friends has the same problem - her bf has size 13 feet (she has knit him 2 pair of socks) and what we affectionately call "gorilla arms". She hasn't knit a sweater for him yet, and I don't know if she ever will... I will forward this post to her. She will definitely get a kick out of it.

Best wishes, and thanks for sharing!

Margene said...

Oh Liz, what a beautiful post. Everyone who dislikes knitting sleeves should read this. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

Dorothy said...

A very beautiful way to say you love him and his arms.

Jenna said...

I'm the friend Lolly referenced in her comment. I can barely muster sympathy for you because my bf does indeed have 26ish inch long arms. There's actually a term for arms this unusually long: positive ape index! while they are the best for getting hugs, there's a very good reason I have not yet tackled knitting a sweater for him yet.

Your words were infused with such love, I hope your sweater for him has just as much.

Sally said...

Waaaaaaahhhhhhhh

You sure do have the gift of writing, my dear friend. You are very fortunate to have such a wonderful man in your life, and I know that he will appreciate those sleeves more than you will ever know, because your cute little fingers made them for him.

tiennie said...

This is too sweet!

Laurie said...

It's so much about the love, and not the knitting. You did such a beautiful job of expressing that.

Debi said...

What a charming and love filled post. I'm glad I came for a visit :)

Cara said...

LOL! My husband has size 13 feet and I told him I'd knit him socks. I'm going to use dk yarn. He's also got super long arms (and legs) but thankfully he doesn't wear sweaters.

This is a great post - please submit it to the next Yarnival!

Annie said...

Well now, that's a man to knit for!

lookinout said...

Wonderful! Long life to you both.

Wendy said...

Gosh, now I feel guilty that I've never knit my 300+ lbs father a sweater.

Wendy

Lana said...

That's simply one of the nicest posts I've read! I'm sure your husband will feel very loved and appreciated:D

Dallas Schulze said...

Wonderful!

Ann said...

Thank you Liz. That was a tremendously great post. I had similar feelings about my mother's socks -- totally worth every single stitch for those wonderful feet.

You must submit to Yarnival!

Birdsong said...

Liz, this is so absolutely beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes. It must be really heartwarming to him to know that his wife loves him so much and that he will soon have another sweater than actually was "made to fit".

Claudia in CT said...

Liz,
That was the most beautiful entry I've read. Kudos to you for loving your husband and him loving you. It's a rare thing.

Robin said...

Wonderful post!!!

jody said...

Liz, what a beautiful post. I absolutely love it.

jane said...

I loved your arms story and sent a link to your blog to my cousin who is currently knitting long sleeves for her husband, Mitch! Jane

eyeknit said...

Liz--That was your best post, ever! Unfortunately, I've lost your e-mail address, but I wanted to see if you were free for lunch this Sunday. I'm taking the BB-R course (2-5) at Loop. Do you want to get together before that? Please e-mail me eyeknit@comcast.net either way.

Rachel said...

I am many days late to thirty-second what everyone else said about this being a beautiful post. You and Mr. S. sound very lucky to have each other indeed.

The Purloined Letter said...

What a beautiful post. And what a great picture, too!

Mighty Momogus said...

That was wonderful and touching. I shall never complain about knitting sleeves again...well, I'll try not to complain too much.

And your post made me look at my (relatively-short-armed) husband with renewed love.

The Purloined Letter said...

Thanks for allowing me to post this on Yarnival!

librarian-in-training said...

What a lovely way of looking at it!