Today I took up a challenge: fix a knit dress an exuberant dog messed up a bit.
We live in the Caribbean, right next door to a casino complex with the most amazing restaurants. I don’t gamble, although I have walked through the casino often enough to feel I should at least lose $20 to the slot machines. But I gambled in buying a knitted dress. How is this a gamble? We have two cats with claws intact, and an exuberant and loving dog. In buying this dress, I lost. Sort of. Because…
When the Rince greeted me and got his claw caught in the knit, I couldn’t get angry with him. I tried, but it didn’t last long. I was convinced the dress–now sporting a new line across the bottom front–was ruined. And still I could not be angry with the dog for more than a split second. Mostly, the accident caught me by surprise. We have cats. Cats with very sharp claws. They were the ones I was avoiding while wearing this dress–especially since it was its debut evening out. Frankly, I was surprised that the cats hadn’t destroyed it in the month or two it hung in the closet, waiting for the right occasion to be shown off. Dinner, I thought to myself. It’s just going out to dinner at the restaurant next door–our favorite in the casino. I can avoid the cats that long. And then the dog came bounding to greet me as I descended the staircase from the bedroom. Yup. It all happened before we even stepped out of the condo to meet friends for dinner and a drink.
This is The Island. Time is relative, so there was plenty of time to change dresses and still be “on time.” But I just laughed at Rincey, whose ears, head, and tail were lowered and whose big brown eyes clearly said he had done something wrong and was so, so sorry. I knelt down and gave him a hug, and he knew all was forgiven. I think he probably licked off whatever makeup I may have applied, but that was OK, too. We were dining with good friends.
“It’s really not bad,” comforted my usually nonobservant husband.
Looking down at the horizontal pull in the fabric, I knew it was evident–but it was even and just a few inches above another line the manufacturer deliberately added where the dress began to flare out. So I hoped for the best and wore it because the flaw was put in out of love.
No one noticed.
Today, after months of neglecting the dress, I finally took it out and examined the damage. Being a needlework enthusiast, it was easy to see how to minimize the damage; it was also obvious to me the flaw would never be completely repaired–just camouflaged. Two hours was all I allowed myself in repair time. Using the tip of a yarn needle, I managed to redistribute the stitches by going over the work several times while feeding the “excess” yarn to both sides of the place where poor Rincey caught his claw. Thankfully, he managed to do so just about in the center of the row, so I had a good idea about how much of the thread to massage into each side. After two hours, I cut off the bit of thread remaining, tied a knot and trimmed it, and declared it good as new.
Of course, I know where the flaw is, but it really does look like an intentional soft line in the overall design.
Don’t ask me why I bought the first knit dress I’ve owned in decades. It looked pretty good on me when I tried it on for fun. The price was great, and, knowing that it’s lifespan would be significantly curtailed by a furry member of the family, I bought it anyway. There is not a sweater or afghan in the house that doesn’t show signs that we live with pets, so it’s not like I didn’t know what to expect. It is why I so rarely buy anything anymore that is knit or crocheted. But I took a chance. And after a little work, it may survive to be worn one more time. Or maybe not. It’s another gamble on pets versus clothes.