Many (many!) years ago I overheard a conversation between my then husband (whom I shall refer to as Beelzebob – yes the typo is on purpose; he was an awful man) and one of his best friends. His (very large) friend was lamenting how hard it was to find a nice sweater in his size. The conversation went something like this:
Beelzebob: “Oh don’t worry about it! My old lady [me] will knit one for you. I’ll get her to knit you one of those sweaters with those cross things [cables] on it – you know, the sweaters Irish fishermen wear.”
Friend: “Really?! Oh that’d be great! What should I do?”
Beelzebob: “Just bring her the yarn you want. Better yet, bring her the wool ready to spin, and she can make the yarn. No, no – I know – just bring her a FLEECE, and she’ll take it from there.”
Listening to this conversation, I shook my head, started humming “To Dream the Impossible Dream” and braced myself for what I knew would be the inevitable fight. Here’s how the conversation went later that night:
Beelzebob: “Babe [me], my friend is going to bring you a fleece. I told him you’d make him a sweater from it. One of those Irish crossy-sweaters.”
Me: “You should have asked me first. No, I won’t.”
Beezebob (sounding astonished): “What do you mean you won’t?! He’s my best friend!”
Me: “Then you make the sweater for him. Don’t ever volunteer me to make a sweater for anybody … [proverbial pregnant pause] … and I think I want a divorce.”
It took him volunteering me to knit a sweater (starting with a fleece, no less!) before I thought seriously about a divorce! I moved out a few months later.
Curiously, the fight about sweaters wasn’t over yet. About a year after our divorce was final he told me that I “owed” him a sweater because in our 3 years of marriage I never knit him anything. I laughed and shut my front door.
To this day my rule is I only knit, crochet, or weave items for dear friends of mine or for customers. He was (and still is) neither!