Perfect Sweater: Shaping Up
November 17, 2005
Dear Kay, and all you country music fans,
Apologies for the long silence, but I’m still reeling from the sight of Dolly Parton and Elton John singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” together on the Country Music Association Awards Tuesday night. This fell in the category of Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should. I mean, I love barbecue and I love sushi, but let’s not be putting them on a plate together.
First of All, A Shopping Opportunity
If you’ve been following Emma & Co. in recent weeks, you know that Emma’s beautiful son Oliver has recently acquired a superfancy trike which has put the fella on the road. He also has a car seat which has made it much easier for him to gad about, and a much-needed stair lift. From what Emma says, a lot of you guys have helped make this possible.
I encourage everybody to go visit Emma’s Nov. 8 entry (scroll down) to see what happens when Oliver enjoys his newfound mobility. Pure delight!
Now. There is another set of wheels that Oliver needs. To raise funds for his new wheelchair, the brilliant Ina has cooked up two beautiful Clapotis scarves:
Wool and tencel!
Wool and alpaca!
Thank you, Ina, for your generosity. The knitting is perfect, and so is the cause. Bid early, bid high, bid often!
Speaking of Knitting . . .
I wouldn’t call it a howl of protest, but somebody was asking if we had already cooked up the Perfect Sweater pattern and not told her. Are ye daft? They wrote the Bible faster than we’re writing this thing. When we’re finished, there is no way you won’t know it. We’re going to bind it in rich corinthian leather with the Words of Kay in red.
What I have done is to cook up a beta version of the pattern and begun testing it. This is going to be a pullover, with set-in sleeves, slight shaping, with a plain jewelneck collar. It’s like the framework for a Rose Bowl parade float, OK? You guys get to do the fun part once the flatbed truck’s in place.
As I started writing the pattern, I realized that we hadn’t actually voted on about ten different things that could be voted on. But I am sensing what we in the Future Search business call “Blogpoll Fatigue.” “Overvoting.” “Too Much Democracy.” “Enough, Willya?” I’m concerned about the drinking over in the lounge, frankly. So, with the realization that I might be wrong, and you guys may be drunk, I executive-decisioned the following elements:
Stockinette stitch. Seems to be a good place to start, is pretty much the industry standard when it comes to What Knitting Is, and besides, I know full well that everybody out there who hates stockinette is going to rejigger this thing anyway.
Length of sweater: Hits right below the hip.
Shaping: Total of 4″ (10 cm) narrower at the waist than at the bottom.
Here’s a first peek:
Here’s the back, which features a 1″ (2.5 cm) shaping on each side. My question: is this what you had in mind when you voted for “slight shaping”? Any slighter, and it kind of disappears. And any shapelier, it gets to be so fitted that we’re going to look like Dolly Parton in the not-good-Dolly-Parton way.
(On many occasions I have ditched the side shaping when I wanted a boxier look. And that’s simple to do here. So if the sight of these curves is giving you shpilkes, just knit straight.)
Other details: Gauge is 20 sts + 27 rows = 4″ (10 cm) using a size 6 (4 mm) needle. The decreases and increases are made 2 stitches in from the edge. Those are short rows at the shoulders, which we’ll join with a three-needle bindoff.
As for the knitting, I find this stretch of stockinette weirdly soothing. And this Cascade 220 is a blocker’s dream: knits up all supercurled, then flattens out like a possum on Highway 31.
This is what the hem looks like when done without the picot edge.
The hem adds a certain borderish heft to the sweater. You hemmers will be happy with your choice. And you moss stitchers will like yours, too.
I happen to know someone who is a Size Small (finished sweater chest measurement: 36″/91 cm, to fit a 32″ bust). Here’s what the back looks like on Ms. Small.
It’s hitting Ms. Small below the hip, maybe two inches below.
So. No polls; this is more of an essay question. Whaddyathink?
If anybody’s out there dying to test knit this along with me, let me know and I’ll send you the pattern. This pattern is currently only to fit a 32″ chest–more sizes will be available in weeks to come, after the Neckline Designers cook up their varied neckline options.
And finally, I can’t tell you how much I’ve loved seeing everybody on the Frappr map. Amazing! So incredibly cool to see so many faces and new blogs.