The Margaret Sweater: A Common Reader
September 23, 2008
I want to talk about the Margaret Sweater, but first I have to raise my hand in the back of the Monteagle Bag class and say “Ooh ooh ooh Miss Shayne! I know a seamless way to do the bottom, too!”
My way is not as elegant as Judy’s Magic Cast-On. Frankly, it involves garter stitch, so it might not make the most refined sock toe. But it’s really intuitive and requires no new learning.
Here we go, Monteagle Bag Start Up, My Way:
Cast on 34 stitches. Knit every row until you have 2 garter ridges showing at the start of a RS row. Knit across the 34 stitches. NOW, pick up 2 new stitches along the left edge of the little strip you’ve just knit. Using a second circular needle, pick up 34 stitches along the cast-on edge of the strip, and then pick up 2 more stitches. You are now back at the start of the piece, and have a total of 72 stitches. Work according to the pattern. I used 2 circular needles until after the increase row in the pattern, and then put all the stitches on a single circular needle. You may want to work on 2 circs for longer, or you may work on a single circ from the very beginning.
Isn’t it pretty? The yarn is Katia Jamaica. I couldn’t resist the crazy self-striping color, but didn’t know what to do with a single skein of Brady Kitchen 1971 (not its real name). Until now.
In other Monteagle Bag news, the green lifestyle magazine Plenty blogged about the Monteagle Bag here. Wouldn’t it be cool to see them in the checkout line on the shoulders of strangers? This one is going in my purse. Although I have a bunch of self-congratulatory reusable bags by the front door, I am not that good at forecasting my food shopping opportunities. I frequently find myself at the store (or worse, in the Greenmarket, with all the green people) without a bag and have to hang my head in shame as they pack my stuff into disposable bags. NO MORE.
(Photo copyright Gale Zucker. Thanks, Gale!).
I have one little difficulty with the Margaret Sweater (by Mary Neal Meador, in our new book). It’s the same problem I have about tattoos. I would dearly love to embellish myself with a timeless piece of body art. (Apart from fainting at the thought of anything even slightly hurty happening to my body, I mean.) But how does one choose something so personal, so hard to erase? It amazes me that many people are able to do this.
Here’s the thing. What if I change my mind? If I had gotten a tattoo when I was 16, it very likely would have been a tribute to the band Bread. [Pause to click the link and mock me. Hey! They were well-crafted soft-rock singles. I had my standards.] If I had gotten a tattoo when I was 26, it would have been a portrait of Dave Winfield. A person evolves, is what I’m saying. One’s left calf should not be a reminder of past enthusiasms. (Or should it? Maybe that’s the point I’m missing.)
Like one’s own flesh, a handknit sweater in beautiful wool is more or less a relationship for life. That’s my problem with knitting the Margaret Sweater for myself: the text. I’m either drawing a blank or coming up with stuff that’s too long for chain-stitching. (Wouldn’t want an abridged Margaret Sweater.) Now, I think this garment would be fine in its natural, blank-page state. But the idea of words-on-sweater really appeals to me. I want words, but what words?
It occurred to me that this might be a sticking point for others, and that it could be helpful to collect suggested quotations for various interests and fan clubs. So here’s a sampling. A mere Googlesworth of ideas. Please feel free to add other options in the comments.
I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them.
We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.
For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?
Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.
Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.
I cannot pretend to be impartial about the colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.
Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization.
Mick Jagger (shown here in pilled sweater):
My mother has always been unhappy with what I do. She would rather I do something nicer, like be a bricklayer.
Slump? I ain’t in no slump… I just ain’t hitting.
Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.
“I am,” I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair.
I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.
There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.
I couldn’t talk to people face to face, so I got on stage and started screaming and squealing and twitching.
I find rebellion packaged by a major corporation a little hard to take seriously.
I’ve been in beautiful landscapes where one is tempted to whip out a camera and take a picture. I’ve learned to resist that.
The release date is just one day, but the record is forever.
Pee Wee Herman (Paul Rubens)
For the rest of the day, whenever anybody says the secret word, scream real loud. Ready? Let’s try it.
For the rest of the day, whenever anybody says the secret word, chain-stitch it. Ready?