Did ya miss me? I missed you! I've been chasing my own tail for a bit, between classes that I'm teaching, classes that I'm planning, a book I'm finishing up, and boring stuff like eating and sleeping.
Lots of you have been asking me when I'm going to re-publish my mom's favorite knitting pattern:
This is mostly due to the fact that I hardly ever take it off, prompting more inquiries every time I meet knitters. There is just something about the way this thing fits, and the way it goes with everything (in spite of its uber-pink hue); I wish I had one in every color. And even non-knitters ask me about it. Here it is (actually still damp in this photo, because I had to take it off long enough to give it a well-deserved bath):
As I said before, this version was only meant to be the prototype. I grabbed the first yarn from my stash that I had a sweater's-worth of (Paton's Classic Wool Worsted, in Magenta, if you're wondering) and tore through the pattern almost exactly as it was originally written. Which took me like, a week, shoehorned in between other projects, BTW.
The only changes I made were to continue the cables all the way down the sides (my mom's totally sexy hack), and to knit the sleeves in the round rather than flat. Oh, and I worked the yarn at a firmer gauge (5.5 sts to the inch), rather than the 4.5 called for in the pattern. Result? prototype cardi worn at zero ease on me. I thought I would hate that fit, and promised to give the thing to my niece, who is wee. But I don't hate it even a little bit, in spite of the fact that I know it looks so much cuter on her. Doesn't hurt that she's a 19-year-old blue-eyed coed, of course. Now that I think about it, it sucks not a little that the universe is awarding her both the figure of a gorgeous 19-YO, AND the pink sweater, but that's probably just my 40-something year old sour (noticably shrivelling) grapes talking. A promise is a promise, so I'm preparing myself emotionally to let pinky go, and making another, more mature test knit for myself.
Here's a better shot of those side cables. They are at once delicate, proportionate, interesting and slimming. Nice work, Mom. And I know she'd be proud of me for giving it up to Sarah, who totally deserves it, and whom I hope will remember this when she has to decide what sort of old-age home to park me in.
Here's the yarn for version 2.0:
Unimaginably dreamy much? Targhee Worsted from BMFA, in "A Hazy Shade of Blue". (BUY HERE) I almost never knit with blue, and I have no idea why not. This is a gorgeous, complicated blue that is begging to be worn with a kilt. Or ratty jeans. Or thrown on over striped pajamas to walk the dogs. Pretty sure there's no place this color does not belong. Oh, and did I mention TARGHEE??? Somebody stop me. It's so sproingy, and full of life and air and fluff and twist! And get a load of the yardage on that beast! 2 skeins should totally cover me (a steal at only $32 each!).
Refinements I'm planning for 2.0 include:
1. I'm going to attempt to knit at the gauge suggested by the original designer, whomever she was. In spite of not loving the more relaxed 4.5 sts/inch, there are a couple of good reasons for me to get over myself and try: A. The neckline is very high and tight (60's Sweater Girl style) to begin with, and ratcheting down the gauge does nothing to help that situation. B. Likewise, the sleeves were sized to be worn solo, not layered over other tops like I do. A little more real estate is needed so the cuff bind-off doesn't become a tourniquet.
2. Working at a looser gauge is not going to be enough to get that neckline sorted, by itself. My professional opinion is that it would look more modern if it were, say, an inch wider. More stitches, please. Eewww; Math. Not to worry, I'm a trained professional on a closed course. What could possibly go wrong?
3. Buttonholes: because I was playing fast and loose (tight?) with the gauge on the first version, I elected not to knit the buttonholes, in fear that they wouldn't land in the right places. Instead I chose to machine-stitch them in at the end. I actually like the polished, dressmaker quality of the thread buttonholes, but they did stretch out, in spite of my having used stabilizer and cutting them very conservatively. No big deal to stitch their ends closed more tightly, but I would like to have avoided that. I'm thinking I might do something with a ribbon to shore up the placket...Your thoughts, Gentle Readers?
4. Many of you have suggested that a new name is in order for this design, with which I totally agree. In honor of my mom, I'm re-naming it "Jane Wolff Scott".