Archive for October 2013

Paddling out, paddling out

October 21, 2013

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Pattern: Currant Cardigan by Margie Mitchell (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Berroco Vintage (50% acrylic, 40% wool, 10% nylon), colorway Cork
Needles: US 5, 6, 7 24″ Harmony wood Options circular needles (knit flat in pieces)

Who can say what it is about a design that draws you in? Maybe you know yourself well enough to understand them. Maybe you know that a certain sleeve, texture, or shape is just your thing. For me, pictures get stuck in my head and won’t go away. The cover image of Interweave Knits Spring 2013 was one of those pictures. From the moment I saw that sweater, I wanted to make it. Was it the cables spiraling all the way to the edges, no ribbing, no collar, no concessions? Was it the curve of the open front below the three strategically-place buttons? Or was it something particular to this sample and this model that I had little to no chance of replicating — the color, her tousled hair, the belted dress underneath, her poise?

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I wasn’t willing to dither endlessly over whether my selection of sweater-quantity yarns contained an entry with enough yardage to make this in my size; I found a Raveler who seemed to have made it work with less than 1500 yards and decided to trust her experience. I started as soon as my summer linen top was done. And that summer linen top seemed to take forever. I finished it just in time to wear it in August for the first days back to school, and by that time, all my thoughts were of the future. I wanted wool in my hands, something other than hard twisted string. I started August 3, just as the full heat of an unusually mild summer finally arrived. I worked slowly, slowly, slowly, but steadily.

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One month later, the back and one front side were done. Then, surprisingly quickly, both fronts, and I was looking worriedly at the two skeins plus 90% of a third left in my knitting bag. Enough for two full-sized sleeves and finishing? Yes, it turns out — but only because there’s only the barest hint of finishing, just two button bands, no neckline treatment at all. I snipped and sewed and attached buttons with about 100 yards to spare.

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Cables eat yarn. And this is all cables. All you want is for them to stand up tall and even, to snake in bas-relief across their bed of purls. Here, in this sweater, nothing stops them. It’s as if a cabled fabric was carefully cut and assembled into a sweater. Clean and uncompromising, strange qualities for a material so convoluted and ornamented.

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If only it were cold enough to wear this already. It’s no shrinking violet of a sweater, nothing delicate about it, despite the feminine shape. When the time comes, this will take on the chill. I haven’t been willing to wait for anything about this sweater. So thank goodness I won’t have to wait long for a day when the weather justifies showing it off.