Great new knitalong starts today over at Fringe Association. We are IN on this thing.

Perfect Sweater: Runoff Time!

Dear Kay, and Tout le Monde,
Is it just me, or does it seem like we’re on the verge of something? At this point in the Future Search for the Perfect Handknit, I think we can all agree that we have made remarkable progress. Remember where we started?
[pause for reflection]
But there is one small element of the group that we need to address: the Retire to the Lounge people. I know, I know how these things work: there is always a small contingent who travel to the beat of a different drum, who blow in the wind, who are going sit on the dock of the bay. To them I say, “Has it come to this? Can we not compete with 2-for-1 Miller Lites? Is it that bad?” I ask you Loungers to participate in this small exercise, which I think will prove helpful:

If you voted “Retire to the Lounge,” and wanted to stop this Future Search for the Perfect Handknit, please answer this question: You are a vegetable. Tell us which one, and why.

Our fervent hope is that your reflection on this question will give you the chance to think about your role in this quest. Yes, you do have a role.
[facilitator sniffs, bites lower lip, recalls Future Searches of days gone by]
Meanwhile, Some Verrrrry Interesting Results
I keep forgetting to put deadlines on the voting. Rest assured that I will make sure there are no last-minute rallies that change the following results. CHECKITOUT:
This garment has . . .
long sleeves. 70.5% 492
3/4-length sleeves. 28.2% 197
short sleeves. 0.7% 5
no sleeves. 0.6% 4
total votes: 698
If you chose sleeves, what sort of construction would you like them to have?
Set-in 44.7% 286
Raglan 34.8% 223
Yoke knitted in the round 6.9% 44
Modified drop 5.9% 38
Drop 4.2% 27
Saddle shoulder 3.4% 22
total votes: 640
The waist is . . .
shaped slightly. 72.4% 490
shaped to be very form fitting. 14.5% 98
straight. 13.1% 89
total votes: 677
The front of the cardigan should be fastened with . . .
a row of buttons. 52.8% 350
one artfully placed button. 20.8% 138
a zipper. 16.6% 110
a tie or sash. 5.4% 36
nothing at all–no fastener. 4.4% 29
total votes: 663
The neckline should be . . .
v-neck 30.1% 193
a jewel collar (round w/no significant edging) 20.4% 131
crewneck (an inch or so of edging) 18.4% 118
shawl collar 16.5% 106
funnel cake (whoops, got off track there) 5.9% 38
two-point collar 5.3% 34
turtleneck 1.7% 11
funnel neck 1.7% 11
total votes: 642
Winnowing Time
So. This robust vote tells us that we have clear majorities in certain areas:
Long sleeves.
A slightly shaped waist.
A row of buttons down the front.
The other areas are not quite clear yet, so we’ll have a
Neck-Off

and a Sleeve-Construction-Off.

Now, there are a lot of folks who did not vote for set-in or raglan sleeves. If you are an avid supporter of either set-in or raglan, now would be a good time to make your case to the people who are going to be voting for them for the first time. I’m not advocating vote-buying, but a good Ride to the Polls program might not be a bad idea. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
By the way, the 38 knuckleheads who voted for a funnel cake collar are going to get their wish. As a special breakout group, you are hereby deputized to engineer a collar that either a) resembles a funnel cake or b) actually is a funnel cake.
Please vote in the Neck-Off and Sleeve-Construction-Off by Friday, 6:02 pm CDT.
Love,
Ann

Tags:

56 Comments

56 Comments

  1. Go raglan, go raglan!
    For one thing, it makes the top-down thing easier. And for another thing, they almost always work. Although I don’t think I’ve done a set-in sleeve for nigh on 20 years, so maybe I should try it again, eh?

  2. O.k., you lost me back when the Cascade 220 thumped my Koigu. But I did vote, because I feel pretty strongly about set-in sleeves, no matter what you’re knitting with. (Did you know the Lounge is a wireless hotspot? Very handy.)

  3. Are there funnel cakes in the lounge?
    (ps I am enjoying this “project” immensely)

  4. OK, people: let’s get with the RAGLAN PROGRAM. Here’s why: Raglans are easy to install. If you knit top-down in the round, there is NO INSTALLATION. The sleeves are just THERE. They just APPEAR, perfectly placed in the armhole.
    And if you don’t knit top-down (I realize this decision hasn’t been made yet–top-down or bottom-up), they are still easy to install because you just do STRAIGHT SEAMS. None of the ‘easing’ into the ‘armhole’. O how I hate and abhor and loathe the easing, almost as much as I despise the “slightly stretch”-ing of the buttonband.
    I realize that some don’t feel raglans flatter one’s gorgeous physique to the optimum degree that one’s bitchin’ bod richly deserves to be displayed in all its hotsy-totsy kickassness. But I have found this to be a moot point because a raglan flatters me one heckuva lot more than a badly-‘eased’ set-in sleeve. If I want a set-in sleeve these days, I buy the dang sweater.
    OK, I realize I got a little heated about that. Vulgar language was used. I am so frickin’ sorry. I’m going to the lounge for a funnel cake and a nice cup of tea. xoxo Kay

  5. Beware the coming of the funnel cakes…
    They may come into the lounge, but they will be shared only with those who have a ready answer for the vegetable question.

  6. Oh geez … a v-neck cardigan? It’s so Mr. Rogers. Can we make it a high V?
    The Loungers have been in the Lounge so long that they are clearly drunk. Is hops a vegetable? [Is hops singular?]

  7. Kay,
    Tell us what you really think. We can take it.
    By-the-by, just what does a hotsy-totsy kickass gorgeous bitchin’ bod look like?

  8. Boy, I just wish I knew what a funnel cake was…

  9. I had to vote for the shawl collar this time around – the perfect sweater was just getting a little too boring. And I voted for raglan sleeves, probably because I have to sew up some set-ins this evening and I’m not looking forward to it!
    I actually can envision a funnel-cake collar done entirely in random twizzly little ropes like you make for the pistils in felted flowers…but it sounds way too labor intensive.

  10. For Kathen:
    Definitions of Funnel Cake on the Web:
    A Pennsylvania Dutch speciality, funnel cakes are a deep fried pastry made by pouring batter through a funnel into hot fat, and then coating the crispy result with powdered sugar or honey.
    http://www.campcuisine.com/glossary/index.php
    Funnel cake or funnelcake is a regional specialty food, originally associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch region of the United States. It is made by pouring batter through a funnel into hot oil in a circular pattern and deep frying it until golden brown. It is often served with powdered sugar or other toppings.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funnel_cake

  11. Well, I was thinking more of actually designing a two-color stranded pattern based on the free form lovelitude of the Funnel Cake. And there’s a Starmore out there with a cabled neckband that sort of does resemble funnel cake. Especially if you cover it in powdered sugar!

  12. I fear we might be making a Frankensweater. Or at least a Grampa sweater. Like TFM, when I thought of v-neck cardigan, I first thought of this:
    http://tinyurl.com/ayf7t
    And set-in sleeves? I’m getting palpitations. This may be where I exit to the lounge to drink an Irish coffee, eat some funnel cake, and drool over an Anthropologie catalog.
    Oh, and I’d be an eggplant. Purple’s my favorite color, and unfortunately, I’m shaped like one.

  13. Yummm. Funnel cake. Think they’ll have some at Rhinebeck?

  14. Someone in the Lounge just asked me to vote in the Funnel Cake vs. Elephant Ears vs. Fried Dough poll … something about the Best Fairgrounds Treat.

  15. see the other cool thing with a raglan is that the seams can be decorative….. cables anyone?

  16. YES! to Raglan, for the top down reasons mentioned above. NO! to V neck, as much as I love Mr Rogers and mourn his death.

  17. Top down! Woo hoo! Raglan!! Raglan!! YAAYYY!
    (I’m a little buzzed from the whiskey shooters and funnel cake sugar rush)

  18. At 141 votes, SET-IN SLEEVE IS PULLING WAY AHEAD.
    Raglaniacs, GET TO THE POLLS!!!!!
    (Ann, why did you put set-in as the FIRST option! There are going to be some mistake votes for set-in! Your chads are dangling! I demand a re-run!)
    xox Kay

  19. I, myself, accidentally voted for set-in instead of raglan, but I have the excuse that I have the stomach flu. I have to say though, despite that, a funnel cake sounds good. As far as I know it’s a totally American thing, I’ve never heard of them in Canada.

  20. v-neck? really? people, Mr. Rogers was a lovely man, but let’s rethink a sweater that will mimic what he wore every day.
    Cardigans with jewel necks (or even crewnecks – I’ll take that over v-neck) are traditional; they’re warm, and look good with whatever shirt I might have on underneath. V-necks demand a sort of shirt collar internal discussion, and it’s not always pretty given my wardrobe. V-necks on pullovers, yes, there’s something there. But on a cardigan? please, please reconsider! or vote with my shirts in mind!
    I am holding my vote on set in vs. raglan because I need to do some more thinking. I was all gung ho to vote set in (I love the way they look) until Kay’s convicing raglan comment. I’ve knit in the round, and do like raglan, but in the interest of possible cables/patterning I’m concerned about limiting myself to raglan shaping. Another cup of tea or two in the lounge (I’m a string bean because who doesn’t love beans?) and I’ll be back to vote.

  21. I don’t want to be a vegetable. I want to be a fruit. A lime. For my Gin and Tonic. In the lounge.
    *Sigh* if I am going to be forced to be a vegetable, I’m going to have to go with a leek. Tall, and bulbous on the bottom.
    And there’s no tea in the lounge, unless it is the Long Island Iced kind, right? Although I guess the green tea would be OK, and some rooibos. And you’ll have to include black tea if you’ve got rooibos, so you might as well just open the door for the tea-drinking types.
    I’m rambling again…sorry. I’ll go back to my corner.

  22. Ignore me – I’m hopped up on cough medicine that isn’t working.
    Leeks aren’t bulbous on the bottom. I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I think it might be a celery heart.
    I have a vegetable identity crisis.

  23. Vegetable….hmmm….ermmm… that requires serious thought. Will report back after such thought….

  24. Oh, and I know I’ve got no right to vote, merely heckling from the lounge in a happy state and considering vegetables, but it’s got to be raglans (I haven’t actually voted there, I thought I’d just still express an opinion!)

  25. Funnel cake! Funnel Cake! Funnel cake! Funnel Cake! Funnel cake! Funnel Cake! Funnel cake! Mmmmmmmm, funnel cake. Edible sweater. Whoa, better stop that–I could lose my phoney-baloney job.
    Seriously, I know they’re easy to do and have a long, important role in the folk knitting traditions of in many countries, but raglan sleeves look terrible on most women. And most of us are women. And we’re making this sweater for ourselves, right? Boo raglan. Yay Set-in sleeves.

  26. Oh, and I forgot to mention. Mr. Rogers may have worn v-necks, but he didn’t have a nice rack like I do. I promise you, I bear no resemblance to Mr. Rogers when I wear a V-necked cardigan. Am I right, sisters? Up with naughty-librarian style.

  27. Though I think I’m leaning towards raglan, there is a rather extensive set-in article at knitty:
    http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter04/FEATwin04TBP.html
    And, yes, the fact that it is so extensive is in part why I’m leaning towards raglan. Kay’s explanation was just so much sorter and more appealing.
    Personally I think part of what makes funnel cakes so special is the fact that you can get them only a few times during the year (at least here in Colorado, where availability is subject to the carnival/festival/fair schedule). Like candy canes and Cadbury eggs, they would somehow be less exciting if you could get them any time you wanted. But if you have a craving, or no exposure to the Glenwood Springs, Colorado Strawberry Days festival (you’d have to wait until June, anyhow), that genius Alton Brown can help you make them in the comfort of your own home:
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_20681,00.html

  28. Funnel cake cables on the collar? Have to use that speckled yarn for the powdered sugar effect..hmm, it could be done..OOOH OOH Baubles! Funnel cake bobbles!

  29. This is exactly why I voted for Retiring To The Lounge. A V-neck cardigan? I love v-neck pullovers, but not cardigans. And we REALLY don’t want a v-neck raglan. What a disaster. I’m really starting to get afraid of the Frankensweater. I wanted to Retire To The Lounge because I thought we had come so far, let’s not press our luck, the factions will only get stronger as we go farther, and now it’s looking so much worse.

  30. I voted “raglan”, was horrified to see the set-in sleeves pulling ahead, started composing a Fierce Defense of Top-Down Knitting with Raglan Sleeves …. and then saw that Kay covered it already.
    ahem. I’m retiring to the lounge just for a minute to let the adreneline pass from my bloodstream. I’m going to eat some funnel cake while I’m there. Funnel cakes = comfort food.

  31. For those of us who have no rack whatsoever, I feel I need to speak out on the sleeve question. No, not the neckline question. Jewel or V, it matters not. What does matter is having some structure at the shoulder.
    I agree with Lanea that raglan sleeves look awful on most women. Set in sleeves flatter almost anyone; only those who have really wide shoulders and no boobs would look better in a raglan. Ummmm, I guess I’m talking about men.
    And here’s another, perhaps better, argument. It’s true that set in sleeves are harder than raglan sleeves. Much harder. But isn’t the point of this project that we have have advice and support as we hit the technical bumps? Somebody out there knows how to do it so it doesn’t look bunchy or stretchy.
    And for those who invoke Mr. Rogers (MHRIP) as the down side to V-neck, I offer — again — this fabulous sweater: PAM by Kim Hargreaves. This may be our girl. In fact, this one satisfies the V neck and the shawl collar people all at the same time!
    http://www.handworksgallery.com/r3026.htm

  32. Now this is dangerous because I know what everyone thinks about Rowan 38 but–but–I’m knitting up the Echo cardigan in an alternate colorway and it is really a wonder.
    Yet it is a cardigan
    with long, set-in sleeves
    a v-neck
    and a row of buttons up the front
    but Mr. Rogers would never have worn it.
    Set in sleeves! They are elegant! Attractive! Comfortable–don’t you hate shoulders that slip? And truly, can you imagine a V-neck with raglan sleeves? No, don’t do it.

  33. Jewel collar lovers, unite! Surely a jewel collar frames and flatters most figures nicely AND leaves that much less knitting and finishing at the end of the sweater – a clear advantage!

  34. I think if we reexamine everyone’s input, we’ll see that the raglan vs set in divide is actually a process vs outcome divide. Raglan people seem to be all about how easy they are to knit, how pleasant a knitting experience they provide, and how putting them together later is easy. Set in’s people are all about the look of the finished garment, with a few notable exceptions. I agree with daphne – vneck + raglan sleeves = frankensweater big time. Being a final outcome person myself, and not one who knits just for the pleasure of feeling the yarn, I am all about set in sleeves. I also have no shoulders, so they really look better on me. And it realy is all about what the finished item looks like when worn, for me, and not about the journey, no matter how arduous, getting there. Set-in chickens, get thee to Montse Stanley.

  35. No funnel cake unless I pick a vegetable? That sounds suspiciously like a maternal bribe, along the lines of “eat one lima bean for every year old you are.” (Mom discovered several weeks later that my younger sister was carefully stashing her lima beans in her napkin and later depositing them in the winter boots stored in the closet. Clever gal.)
    Fine. A red bell pepper. Now can I have my funnel cake? And another refill on the G&T, please.

  36. Are jewel collar and crewneck both round necks? So if you add up the votes for round necks vs. V-necks, wouldn’t round necks be the winner?

  37. Booooo to the v-neck. You can’t just throw on a cute little t-shirt with a v-neck. Jewel neck cardigan and little t-shirts are a must!

  38. I must admit I’m neutral on the sleeve issue. I’m more than enraged enough at the slightly fitted issue, unless of course they mean ( ) instead of )(. But I need to put one self-knit-sock-clad foot down on the collar issue. This here is Denmark. Land of cold, gusty, wet breezes. Which more often than you like it find a way through my windows and doors or into my bus seat or my computer workplace. Especially in a 40year-old building. A shawl collar would be nice and snuggly and warm, where as V-neck will mean me having to wear a scarf in-doors. A scarf. In-doors!
    Vegetable,potato currently fits quite well. And darling, pour me a shot of Demerara Green Label rum, the oldest you got.

  39. As a die-hard Lounger, I must put down my margarita long enough to refuse to answer the vegetable question. However, I will answer the question “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?”
    My answer – “A shoe tree.”
    Hops is both singular and plural. Hops are rhizomes rather than vegetables, however, the young shoots of spring hops can be eaten as a substitute for asparagus. (It helps to have a husband who brews beer.)
    And, just because I want to make this the longest comment known to man, I imagine a funnel cake neck would look something like the tuck pattern on Whisper in Rowan Calmer.
    http://www.upcountry.co.uk/archive/calmer/calmerfolio/whisper.htm
    Hmm, I may just sit in the lounge and knit Whisper and call it the Perfect Handknit… it has a v-neck, buttons, set-in sleeves, and funnel cake!

  40. Liz, apologies in advance for this:
    Have you read Eats Shoots and Hops?
    xox Kay

  41. I’m getting a little frustrated with the poll because it says: “We voted to have a pattern that could be either a cardigan or a pullover” but I, personally, expect vastly different things from cardigans than I do from pullovers. My ideal pullover would be a V-neck, but my ideal cardigan (I.E. MY IDEAL SWEATER because I don’t wear pullovers — why? I hate that you can’t put one on or take one off without messing up your hair and/or getting static poof) has a classic crew neck because V-neck cardigans are hideous. So it’s a little annoying to have it so loosely defined. I think there should have been separate polls for cardis and pullovers.

  42. I’ve pondered the “you’re a vegetable” question for, oh, ten or twelve seconds now and I just don’t know what kind I am. But, there’s this:
    Two carrots were driving down the road and got into a terrible accident. One escaped injury; the other one was badly hurt. The uninjured one took his friend to the hospital where he anxiously awaited word from the doctor. Finally, the doctor came out and said, “I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is, he’ll live. The bad news is, he’ll be a vegetable for the rest of his life.”

  43. What did Mama Tomato tell Baby Tomato when he started to slow down while running?
    Ketchup!

  44. even though it is tough to choose between raglan and set-in, i voted set-in both times. i dunno, to me that is a traditional sweater…and sometimes they may be a pain to sew in, but i like the fit and look. then again, i enjoy raglan..and if i wanted a sweater knit completely in the round, it’d be raglan, bottoms up! but i love good old sweaters with seams and set-in sleeves

  45. Go set in!
    They just FIT better…. on almost everyone. Some folks look good in raglans… others, well…. let’s just say raglans are not flattering to all shoulders and leave it at that.
    But, with the tailoring element of a slightly fitted waist, the set in sleeves will balance well.
    They’re easy you know… especially picked up and knit down (thereby avoiding pesky seams). And even if they weren’t, this is clearly not trying to be the EASIEST sweater we’ve ever knit. Right? or we wouldn’t bother with waist shaping that really takes darts to do well (thus measuring for bust points and shoulder points and all that rot).
    But… whatever we do, let’s run screaming into the night before we tack drop shoulders on.

  46. Is there some sort of policy for chads, dangling chads, misplaced votes and the like? I seem to have accidentally voted for a set-in sleave. Hey Ann, is there a contingency plan for this? Do the mind map tools include white out?

  47. I just love the poll deadline 6:02pm surley there is going to be a scramlbe of voting going on between 6.00 and 6.02
    I like the set-in sleeve. Raglan worries me if it is done in a yarn other than stated for the pattern, to many things can go wrong.
    We can send this poll to all our friends and get them to vote for what we want.
    Or would that be considered illegal?

  48. Oh, phu, I’m going back to the lounge. All the one’s I voted for didn’t win. Margarita, please!

  49. I have been converted–I voted shawl collar and raglan during the last poll, but I think the perfect sweater should be all about the good looks and the versatility, which seems to mean set in sleeves and a round collar. And since crew necks only belong on pullovers, a jewel neck it must be.
    Now, someone give me a margarita. On the rocks with salt, please.

  50. Woah, now that the “Frankensweater” has been invoked, I feel strangely drawn to it. Can we make the Frankensweater with the funnelcake collar, please? Pleeeeeze? And then guilt people into wearing them for us.

  51. oh dear I am very worried that I’ve joined this voting extravaganza much too late. I voted earlier this week but I am very far behind.
    Also for everyone out there not so sure on the Funnel Cake this may help: funnel cake = fried dough.
    Oh and can someone bring me up to date on this lounge concept? It sounds like this lounge has booze in it which I am for but is inhabited by vegetables. Is it just people who voted to stop the project? hmm I think i need some funnel cake myself now- but separate from any sort of yarn of course… :)

  52. Well, if I had to pick one vegetable, it would be the agave. I know, I know. The agave is technically a plant, not a vegetable. But it is a plant that produces tequila and frankly, I wanted to retire the lounge for a margarita after all this detailed voting!
    I can’t keep up with you ladies. :)
    ~K

  53. I embarrassed to say that I changed my vote on both of these this time around. (I pride myself on consistency – heh.)
    I originally voted for set in sleeves – they have the nicest fit, but I changed to raglan this time because I think that they’re also very nice and easy for us to size and adapt – both bottom up and top down work well and they’re easy to calculate.
    As for the neckline, I orginally went for jewel neck because I thought it was the most universally flattering shape, though V-neck is my personal favorite. However, since so many people voted V-neck I figure it must be fairly universally flattering as well – so this time I went with it.
    This is my long-winded way of saying that I think all of our options are good!

  54. point about the tea in the lounge taken; but does this mean that serving is a 24 hour thing? and if so, is there another spot that I need to find for my coffee/tea/espresso/nonfat-halfcaf vanilla latte?

  55. The Lounge is serving any beverage you want 24 hours a day. At least it is at this end of the world. Of course, I also keep a pitcher of frozen margaritas in my freezer at all times so I may be a bit warped. Then again, this is Texas and I think it’s some sort of regulation down here.

  56. I’m late to the comments. I’m neutral on the sleeve issue. The neckline issue, though…I don’t understand the vehement assertions that v-neck cardigans look funny with t-shirts. They do not. They create an illusion of long neck when worn over a little round neck shell, which for those of us who are busty, is essential. Consider, if you are wearing a suit jacket over a shell, you have a v-neck (with lapels, usually) over whatever shirt you’re wearing. Does this look funny? Mais non! It looks elegant. It glides over the figure, suggesting cleavage even if you’re not showing any.