Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

Perfect Sweater: Naive Utopia? We Think Not!

Dear Kay, and Keepers of the Olympic Flame,
Knitty’s technical editor Mandy is picking away at the Perfect Sweater pattern like some CSI investigator. Oh, it’s a crime scene all right.
Such care! Such meticulation! And two brave knitters are testing out the size small pullover pattern to make sure it’s ready for prime time before we send it to all the also-brave designers who are going to be designing the many neckline styles we all so desperately desire.
Kendall of Oklahoma (not to be confused with Mutual of Omaha) is working like a Trojan as well, test-knitting this pattern and unearthing all sorts of embarrassing missteps in the area of shortrowing and, um, counting stitches. She’s starting a blog, www.annslamepatternwritingskills.com, where she’ll share every excruciating error.
Here are ultracovert snaps of Kendall’s progress. These were taken with a camera embedded in the end of her needle:
perfectkendall1.jpg
perfectkendall3.jpg
perfectkendall4.jpg
And Vast Amount of Spare Time Kathy of Southern-California-Soon-of-Oregon has delved so deeply into the issue of armhole shaping that graph paper is required. (Remember: Kathy has vast amounts of spare time. Shyeahright.)
We should all thank these brave souls for diving into the pattern. We may actually achieve perfection with this kind of help.
If you have picked out a shade of Cascade 220 for your Perfect Sweater, please lemme know which color you chose. I’m creating a database of Cascade Yarn shades. Don’t ask me why; it just seems tidier or something.
A Deadline!
Now. With the new year upon us, there has been no end of questions about when the Perfect Sweater pattern will be complete. I do believe that Jan has come up with a deadline that is ambitious yet feasible: the Winter Olympics.
Opening ceremonies are February 10. I’m thinking that the passion of the Games is something we all need in these hard times, peace among different populations, fair play in sports, the unselfish sharing of joys and emotions which seem to be contradicted by the daily news, as if they were nothing but a naive utopia.
This is not the case for us, nor is it for all those who firmly believe in the Olympic Spirit and strive to give it body and soul, for the volunteers, the torchbearers, the sportsmen and those who bear witness to the value of participation with their work and commitment to being there at all costs.
The Olympic spirit– the athletic spirit–is an integral part of the hope for a better future–
OH CRAP I’m repeating the promo copy from the Olympic web site. Never mind the allegedly sexually harrassing U.S. skeleton team coach. (Do we have any skeletoners out there? What kind of insane sport is this?) Never mind steroids. Dammit, y’all, we are going to knit this sweater in the name of peace among different populations, fair play in sports, the unselfish sharing of joys and emotions–in the name of Neve and Gliz, the snowball and ice cube mascots of the Torino Olympics!
Love,
Ann

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36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Hurrah for the perfect sweater by Olympics time! My shop has recently gotten in new Cascade 220s and disco’d old colors. This means we have TWEEDs.
    Now here’s the thing. Once a while ago I said that if the perfect sweater weren’t my perfect sweater, I’d just try to make up somethin’ pretty based on something I saw somewhere else. Now and since then, Rebecca has previewed a pattern for almost the thing I was thinking of! What does this mean? Do I still want to knit it and if not, does that mean it was not my perfect sweater after all? Is the perfect sweater truly timeless?
    The questions sprung from the perfect sweater future search are endless and give more meaning to life, no?

  2. aha! covert pictures! (i dig that shade of 220 too). Thanks to everyone working dutifully on the pattern!
    I have c220 in “Walnut Heather” (8013) for the perfect sweater! Thank you for giving me a (better) target for when I need to have some of these WiP off of the needles and hooks… :)

  3. Ann, I picked color 4010(don’t know if it has a name or not) and it’s sitting in my living room gathering dust! This could be a crisis. I am beginnning to be tempted in other directions, do you know about the FLAK? Not to mention Crossed in Translation. We will all need something to knit during those interminable games. Hurry!

  4. Dude, Ann – we need a perfect sweater database! So instead of you manually cataloging Cascade 220 color choices, we could have graphs and stuff charting popularity over time and stuff. Kinda like the Baby Name Wizard, but for a sweater.

  5. Oh ho! The Spirit of the Perfect Sweater reigns supreme. I was thinking, hey, what if I substitute something from my stash instead of the 220, but…but then I remembered that this is SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN PERFECT YARN, ya’ll! You can’t substitute without some pangs of guilt, and a feeling that, as if you were changing a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, you are somehow blaspheming the scientific method and rendering pointless the 427 trial runs they made on your behalf. So, for posterity, if I join you in the Perfect Sweater Olympics, I will MOST DEFINITELY use the Perfect Yarn.
    P.S. If we do knit this sweater, can we organize a knitters’ field trip to Torino? I speak Italian and could get us directions to the nearest yarn shop. And also a good wine bar where the lugers maybe hang out.

  6. Well, I’ve never knit a sweater (gasp) but if I did, I would pick the color that Kendall did. LOVE that blue.

  7. Skeleton racing? Isn’t that what us old-timers used to do with the Flexible Flyer on the hill at the golf course?

  8. Ooh, I can’t wait! Both for the Perfect Sweater AND for the Olympics. I love the Olympics, and even though I don’t watch sports any other time of the year, will watch almost anything if it’s got those five rings nearby. Yay!

  9. Still not knitting it.
    Will someone knit one FOR me?

  10. Oh, and I’ve picked color 4020, “Aporto,” for mine.

  11. Hi Ann! I just picked up 4 skeins of 7803 which is a lovely magenta for my daughter’s cardigan. I’m knitting it top down, which will give me some time to think about a fair isle design across the bottom hem – or maybe one of Nicky Epstein’s great edgings! What about a hooded cardigan like those speedskaters wear? There’s nothing like getting beyond your mother’s range of sight and unzipping your sweater and throwing off your hood like you’ve just finished a record-breaking race!

  12. Oh I just love databases compiled for no earthly reason. Here ya go: Celtic green (9410). It’s been in the stash for such a long time, waiting for the perfect pattern.

  13. are people really trying to steal my database thunder? I wanted to be the one to build the perfect sweater database, me me me …
    Ok, deep yoga breathing, swallow the afternoon coffee amy, inhale peace, exhale love … doing better now, sorry for the hissy fit.
    Maybe if I build the P.S.P.S.D. (plus size perfect sweater database) they will come?

  14. I’m loving the Olympic feeling. I think we knitters should have our Perfect Sweaters finished by the end of the games, and do a huge big relay as a get together, passing our needles as we go. Har!

  15. VAST amounts of spare time, I tell you. And more than two hands, or something like that. Now off to photograph my sweater back in progress :-)

  16. Cristina here, fellow Top Downer with Ann HB. I’ve got 9449 Midnight Heather, but now that we’ve got this Winter Olympics Torino theme running, I’m thinking I should have chosen the other color I liked, Como Blue. Per carita! I’ll have to knit two.

  17. needle cameras? Well why not since they have needles that count stitches now… as long as they don’t start dictating how to knit. Can you even imagine that? Like a knitting GPS system.

  18. Here, it will be perfect sweater as a spectator sport.
    Setting opening ceremonies for the TPS knit-along is brilliant, however, so in the spirit of world peace and knitterly solidarity, I will haul out my 2006 purgatory sweater (I think I know where it is), which includes Cascade 220 among other yarns, once the Olympics begin. We watch a LOT of Olympics in our house, so this plan could work!

  19. Ok, if we can’t knit the sweater while using steroids, can we at least have caffeine?!?

  20. Now I am really wishing that I had ordered that Cascade 220 already! Perfect sweater knitting during the Olympics – sounds, well, perfect.
    I am with Kathleen on the caffeine thing.

  21. shyeahright??! I love it! I will use that term the next time one of my teenagers gives me a story.

  22. I have 220 in 2453, which is sort of a grapey-heather, though it looks totally disgusting on my computer screen. As for the skeleton, I have a friend who went to skeleton camp in park city after the last olympics, pretty scary doctors clearance and waiver you had to fill out before going though. I hope having the pattern done by the start of the olympics doesn’t mean you think I’ll have it done by the end though. Sheeesh.

  23. Hi Ann,
    I picked 4192 .. but I think you knew that already.

  24. Who knew I was going to start such a frenzy!?
    Did I miss something or did you already post a suggested yarn amount *range* for the sweater/variations?

  25. It was a hard choice between Black (8555), Jet (4002), and Dryer Lint (7806), but I went with the most cheerful color, Jet. It’s rilly rilly dark charcoal gray.

  26. I have 7809. I don’t know what the official Cascade name for it is, but I’m calling it lavender. Or maybe lilac.

  27. My perfect sweater will be red. But I can’t remember which red. Will check ~x~

  28. Peacock! Um, that’s my color.

  29. ohmigod – you are putting the Cascade 220 colors into a DATABASE? I’m so sorry for all those bad things I said about the scissor posting and all the senseless bourbon ball accusations. Ann, you are a woman after my own heart. God bless you and god bless that database. Woo-hoo!

  30. Okay, I was wrong. I have 9453, still grapey-heathery, but now seems more normal according to what I see on screen. Sorry, didn’t want to corrupt the database.

  31. I picked a lovely deep purple color, #7811. I’m into purple these days, and not just because I’m getting old(er). I could get warmed up for the main event by winding the yarn and knitting a swatch. Or is that cheating by starting ahead of the opening ceremony? I may be gone by then, washed away by our more persistent than usual Seattle rain.

  32. No sweater for me, I’m in the seventh hell of knitting for a large husband and will be there for some time. In my case the perfect sweater is one that knits itself in the night.
    I loved the intarsia chicken and its friends, do we get to see the thingy that they are a part of sometime soon?

  33. Oh goodness. In the name of Neve and Gliz indeed!

  34. intarsia squares….so many babies….so little time….LOVE is the answer….

  35. I think I’ll be using 2429 edged with 9407. At least that’s what I think this week.

  36. Thanks for linking to my page about Neve and Gliz! :-)