Is Starshower the new Honey Cowl? Only time will tell (but it looks good).

Perfect Sweater: Squirrel Hits Transformer

candlelightkeava.jpg
Dear Kay, and the Needleworkers on the Verge of Breakdown,
The thing that gets me is how tenuous it is, this Internet. Kick the plug out of the wall, and it vanishes. Take for example, last night. At 7:08 pm, we heard one of those distant, muffled BOOMs that means a squirrel somewhere made a wrong turn on a power line and blew out a transformer. Lights out; Future Search for Perfect Handknit vanishes into the ether. I had been carefully styling URLs for our Perfect Handknit fashion show, then poof! I’m digging up candles and worrying about the freezer. No, Hubbo did not climb on the roof and spray paint HELP US, but the word generator was said. Not, mind you, by me.
We did have some tender low-tech moments. The fellas fought a ferocious battle of Stratego, and I got to indulge my We Move to Fair Isle fantasy: yes, that’s Keava there in the gloaming, my first try at Fair Isle knitting and my latest effort to finish the unfinished before the year ends. (More on that later. Let’s just say that I am flat goofy about that project, just loving it.)
At midnight the cosmic joke was complete when ALL THE LIGHTS and STUFF came back on. Right as we were dozing off.
Happily, all those URLs were snoozing safely on our server out in California or something.
So, Consider These Sweaters
Grab a beverage, and take a look at these. To my eye, this is pretty much a Sweater Hall of Fame. (And apologies if I somehow mangled your link.)
Cristina: Lush
Ryan: Welcome Back Old Friend
Amanda: Pierrotucci cardigan/$1200 twinset!
Samus
Maggi: Ribby Cardi
Susan: Anthropologie–a versatile shape.
Lorraine: Tweedie
Susan: this but chunkier Girlshop
Tish: Kepler
cardigan
Karlie: Rogue
Kristel: Eris
Ma Hatfield: patternworks
Kim: cardigan
Stephy: Molly Ann Sweater Jacket
Diana:
Debbie Bliss
Anne: Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Lauren P: scoop neck Noro cardigan
Audrey cardigan
Danielle: cardigan
NOT the perfect sweater Not perfect!
perfect beverage: perfect beverage
Beth R: pretty feminine and lacy
comfy
Amy: Sand dollar
Jenna: Debbie Bliss Lara
jnovgirl: Pam from Rowan 30
Julia FC: cardigan/pullover
Jenny: cardigan and cardigan
Susan M: Samus from Knitty
Therese: Norah Gaughan’s Vintage Pink Cardigan
Melinda: Neck Down Shaped Cardigan
Jill: Chicknits Twist–go to Gallery.
Karin: LL Bean cardigan
Bex: Leigh Radford keyhole stripes
Laura: Everyday cardigan
Sam: Audrey
Thomas: Sunday Best” (while technically Denim, it would look good in a true Guernsey wool too).
Jo: Debbie Bliss really lovely bolero
Rise: like the shaping of this
perfect cardi
KT: (Photo is in the September 9th entry) Zoe Mellor Tartan Jacket
Kyla: Phildar Phildar
Sarah: Poetry in Stitches (can be knit as a jumper)
Sharon: hoodie sweater
The Road Less Traveled? More Traveled? A Road at All? How About a Zipline? What If We All Carpool? Does Anybody Have the Bus Schedule? Can I Have a Pony?
Now. Please know that there has been no end of discussion about how to proceed from here. Out in the lobby, during the buffet supper last night, all the talk was about what happens next. Obviously, we have some strong feelings: the cable fans are outspoken, but no more outspoken than the cable avoiders. The shaped contingent is as vocal as the unshaped. But it goes beyond that: there are issues of girliness, of professorialness, of style, of comfort, of zippers and buttons and lace and texture and hoods, such a welter of options and details that we MAY have hit capacity on the number of things that can be resolved by a blogpoll before the year 2012.
The squirrel has hit the transformer, people.
The time has come where each of us has to search our heart and decide what we need to do. The original intent of the Future Search was to end up designing a handknit that we all would love. All 4,390,212 of us. I ask you now [cue dramatic scary-sounding music], Is that possible?
We follow the will of the people. I don’t think this is a winner-take-all kind of vote. It’s more of a take-the-temperature-of-everybody kind of vote. A finger in the wind. A gut check. Here are the options as I see them:
Serene Highness Option: We vote on all the nominated sweaters shown in this entry and select one as the Serene Highness of Handknits. We are done. We have declared perfection, which is AWEsome.
Consensus All the Way Option: We continue as we have, nominating the features we like, then voting on them until we arrive at a pattern for one sweater. Ann cranks the pattern instructions and we all make it.
Keep Ourselves Busy Option: As a group we decide on a basic sweater pattern that already exists, one that can be fairly easily modified with cables/details/hoods/lace/texture/zippers. We then modify it on our own in the privacy of our own knitting dungeons.
Retire to the Lounge Option: Stop voting altogether, hug each other, and go make our own perfect sweater, with a light heart and the satisfaction that we have kept the blogpoll people very busy.
Other: In which you leave a comment with some other idea that seems sensible.

Please vote by Wednesday, October 5, 8:55 pm CDT so that I can watch America’s Next Top Model.
Remember, this is not a winner-take-all poll. But I think it will be instructive.
Happy New Year to all our Jewish friends!
Love,
Ann

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49 Comments

49 Comments

  1. Forget the squirrel & the serene highness, this is where bodies (with all their different shapes, sizes, and lifestyles) have to wear the sweaters.

  2. I voted “consensus all the way,” because it seems silly to turn back now! Yes, I do prefer cables, but not every sweater I own has cables. I like lace (though perhaps not in Cascade 220?), but again not everything has lace.
    Maybe the title needs to be changed. Maybe instead of “The perfect handknit,” we agree to agree on “One Perfect Sweater,” given that in the universe there can be many perfect sweaters.
    And anyway, as a general rule we don’t really follow the instructions anyway, do we? If I sneak in a little waist shaping, will I be voted off the island? If I change dropped shoulders (ugh) to much more charming and flattering cap sleeves, will my drink tickets not be accepted at the lobby bar?
    Really, I say: Push on! Besides the fact that this is really fun, I think we’re all learning a lot, too, and I am specifically looking forward to the discussion of what kinds of shapes flatter what kinds of bodies…

  3. I am totally with MaryB in Richmond. Consensus all the way! Power to the People! We are the Virginia Contingent and we are Strong!(And Mary,if they revoke our drink tickets, let’s meet half way in Fredricksburg.)
    I find this whole process so fantastically illuminating and fun. I agree that turning back now is not the choice to make. Though if this keeps up much longer we are all going to have to pitch in and get Ann a weekend at Canyon Ranch.

  4. I voted for the “Keep Ourselves Busy” option. I think it would be an interesting excercise to take a pattern which is more or less easily adaptable and see what we ingenious knitter people do with it! Hmmm. Should we provide starting point instructions for various, er, variations?

  5. I’m going to rebel and make a shawl.

  6. by the way — i’m the lone “other” vote.

  7. The sweater I liked would have looked funny in Cascade (although I wish someone would pirate a pattern for that first Anthropologie) so I’m for a consensus. Why quit now?

  8. There are so many designs, and many are similar to one another. How about polling for the best cardigan design, polling for the best pullover, and polling for other? The top design in each category wins, and everyone chooses if they want to make the favorite cardigan, the favorite pullover, or the favorite other.
    Complicated enough? If you need the fun removed from any other activity, let me know. Clearly, I have the skills.

  9. Consensus All the Way Option has gotten us this far. If we’re in for an ounce we might has well be in for our collective pound. And I agree with Mary B in Richmond: maybe “One Perfect Sweater” is a better goal. Plus, it will be thrilling to see all the ideas and likes and dislikes come together in one harmonious We-Are-the-World-esque handknit!

  10. Ann Thank you so much for linking to all the sweaters! I had gotten to most of them but not all and this is so much faster.
    “One Perfect Sweater” !! That’s it IMHO. I love the process of designing something together so lets keep on.

  11. I voted for the “Other” option. My comments: we have done fine work here. Let us retire to the lounge and drink margaritas, knit, kvell (see, I learned something from this), and enjoy the fineness of the work we have done as our just reward.

  12. I was going to vote the Consensus all the Way option, but only because I was feeling a bit sadistic. I mean, c’mon! How many of those mind map charts can you make, right?
    But I did throw away my sins today and it doesn’t feel right being sadistic during the Days of Awe, so I voted Keep Ourselves Busy. I think it would be great fun to come up with one easily adjustable pattern – maybe with some ground rules that can’t be modified (Has to be a raglan? Must be done in the round? I don’t know.) The amazing variations – especially given working with Cascade and it’s color/texture possibilities. I think it would be really fun to see what everyone comes up with – you know – same but different.
    If I have to pick a Supreme Sweater I’m going with the Zoe Mellor Tartan Jacket – I fell in love with that the first time I saw it!
    L’Shana Tovah!

  13. This was a tough vote. Despite the level of stink that I have allowed myself to air re:consensus in your comments, I am really really curious to see what consensus leaves us with. We’ve come this far, right? How can we NOT find out how the story ends. My second choice would be the “keep ourselves busy” option, because I think the best sweaters truly are the ones that we all make like lemmings, simply changing something here and there. I think a Rogue or a Ribby is a good choice, since almost everyone has made one – they’ve stood the test of time.

  14. I don’t want to knit a sweater!!!! *pouting*
    I can’t even knit Rogue…it’s making my eyes cross and now that I’m almost to the armholes, I don’t even think it will fit and it scares me to death that y’all are going to knit the “same sweater” and end up with 40,000 different sweaters, all of which have cooler yarns or neater cables or fiddlesticks or bell sleeves or a cowl neck and I can’t even figure out how to knit a damned scarf and are my knitting needles going to get confiscated if I have to follow the directions exactly but it still looks weird and I don’t know how to alter a pattern, so I’d have to find JUST the right yarn and I have to go lie down now because I think my brain just exploded and I’ve been rambling for too long now.
    Sorry :)

  15. Uh oh, looks like concensus all the way is winning out. That’s how I voted. I happen to love this whole thing. And what kind of knitters would we be if we quit now? Ok, normal ones considering the sheer volume of our cumulative UFO’s, but that’s beside the point really. We must persist!

  16. I don’t think Todd Oldham knits. I mean, I don’t know for sure, but I suspect he’s too busy making space-saving freestanding bookshelves out of plywood and modge podge. He does have a pretty great philosophy, though, and one which applies itself towards many things, including knitting: “If you love it, it’s perfect.” Of course, if we’d started with that philosophy, everyone would have gone in different directions from the get go and we’d have missed out on all the fab mind maps and blogpolls, which I love. But I think it’s applicable from this point forward, which is why I’m staunchly in favor of the Keep Ourselves Busy Option. Basic pattern, modified as desired until we love it, and consequently it’s perfect. Once we’re done, I’d really be interested to see a gallery of all the variations people came up with.

  17. Drat! I forgot to send in my nomination for the Retro Prep. http://iwpshopinfo.interweave.com/Knits/images/retro.jpg
    Perfect lightweight shaped cardi. Knit in the round then steeked.

  18. I hate to stir the pot, but just reading Je’s comment, I must say that the only item I have ever gone up to a stranger in a yarn shop to ask about was the Retro Prep which she was wearing. It may just be the perfect cardi. I’d forgotten about that. Thanks, Je! (Heading to dig out the IK issue….)
    Oh, umm…consensus.

  19. I think consesus will be good for us…working out our differences, maybe trying something new…And it is fun to attempt consesus even if we each alter ‘The Perfection’ a bit.
    Once this is over with, I really think we should have a ring for all those who choose to knit the pattern…maybe called “I created Perfection” or somthing like that, so we can easily surf around to others’ versions of our Cascade sweater.
    I just realised…we voted on Cardigan V. Pullover, right? Who won? Won’t that narrow down our options?

  20. I don’t particularly care which sweater we agree on (I voted for Keep ourselves busy) because Cascade 220 is going to be Too Damn Hot For Texas, so I’m going to have to modify anyway. However, Kymm and I are going to have to stage a coup about the drinks issue because a g&t is *not* the perfect beverage. Dammit.

  21. I voted for “keep ourselves busy” because I’d love to see what people do as variations on a theme. Also, my nominated sweater (the neck down shaped cardigan) is a perfect candidate, and having been on the losing side of every damn blogpoll except the one that resulted in “sweater,” I’m nervous about consensus.
    I flatly refuse to put a big textured nubbly cabled band SIDEWAYS around my hips. There, I’ve said it. I feel better now.
    Melinda

  22. I voted Keep Ourselves Busy, but then I read Tara’s comment, and now I feel like a worm. It was the part about “working out differences . . . trying something new . . . attempt[ing] consensus. . . .”
    I think she’s right. This is about stretching ourselves for collective joy instead of selfish pleasure. I’m not good at that, but I’ll try.
    Change my vote.

  23. … why vote for “other” when choices are given … i jumped on this wagon ’cause it was about “designing” the perfect knit … thus i jumped on … not because a knit built by a committee would consequently look it … but because i idealized that it would have only the “perfect” pieces to it!!! … thinking outside the box and dreaming that somehow the perfect knit would resemble something along the lines of the “abstract cardigan” from leigh radford’s “alterknits” … it didn’t make it to ann’s list … somehow someway there has to be the genius possibility of concocting the perfect knit that flatters all of us … wraps us in comfort and kindness and makes us radiate our inner beauty … flattery perhaps … but it can be done … if we think outside the box … thus still hoping for a consensus of what will constitute the perfect knit … or i’ll just design one myself and bring it to show and tell later … one of these days when i get to meet kay … so long for now … shall retreat to lurking on the blog again …

  24. Okay Folks. (shaking voice)
    (Clear throat)
    OKAY FOLKS. (no one is listening, this is so embarassing.)
    Ummmm, “I HAVE A …question.”
    (I think I see the Kay lady, I move in”
    “WHat about the cost of these sweaters!”
    (collective hush followed by heads turning slowly and now I am embarassed, I can feel the flush and … and….oh please someone help me say this)
    “She’s worried about the COST! ” someone shouts.
    “Hey, let her talk. We havent’ really considered the cost.”
    (mumbling, people going up to the bar, pretty much dismissed)
    But hey, what’s the bottom line here? The holidays are coming. THere are charities to give to. Are we all going to make a coat that costs more than a few tanks of gas ?

  25. I voted for consensus all the way for two reasons:
    1) I don’t want to know what the perfect handknit is until AFTER I finish my Christmas knitting and I figured that this could draw the process out a little
    2) I think so far, even with all the mud-slinging, this has been A LOT of fun and we are well on our way. If we stop now it’d be like not finishing a great book without reading the end.
    Now, I understand that this is a lot of hard work and perhaps Ann and Kay want their blog back. So, maybe we should spread the wealth a little? Since I’ve spoken up, I can volunteer. Not sure if I’d be the best to fill Ann’s shoes. I’d need some serious tutoring on how to run a blog poll and draw a mind map.

  26. Since Cascade 220 as the required yarn then I already have my sweater in process — it was declared the 2005 Purgatory Sweater and I must finish it before year end. (Either that or chuck the whole Purgatory Sweater theme altogether.) Then Cascade 220 and I will shake hands and part as friends…

  27. ah-hah. so far, we agree that consensus is best. is this cuz we wanna see you sweat it out to the end?
    maybe, maybe not
    methinks that each option will have to have a winner, and we cannot please all..so…onward!

  28. I think that when we started, there was some talk of knitting whatever came up, even if it turned out to be a vacuum cleaner cover. So I guess that leads us to voting on everything, even down to “do you want two sleeves on this thing.” And, already there’s talk of subbing yarns, which I will have to do, too, so can we please have the gauge and weight/length of the Cascade so we can think of completely different yarns that may be perfect? Playing with yarn is the best part…

  29. Sorry to go off topic here, but bearing in mind recent correspondence on fluffy-tailed squirrels – what happens to the squirrel when it hits the transformer? (these things don’t tend to happen in London, see…). I am thinking it is a poor lookout for the squirrel.
    But I voted for ‘other’ – surely at this point we can all admit it’s been fun, we’ll never agree (most importantly on the beverage of choice), so we should all knit our own perfection & send in photos.
    Otherwise someone will have to post me enough Cascade….
    Meanwhile I have 10 balls of KSH glaring resentfully at me, going ‘knit me, knit me…’ (see, I can knit non-denim!)

  30. Pick one out of a hat. It will be the right one.

  31. Ann, I think we’ve come up with an Other that is a blend (shaken, not stirred) of the Consensus and Busy options. It’s too boring to choose a pattern that’s already been written, but we reserve the right to make changes to the one that Consensus determines and that you write up.
    Meanwhile I’m trying to figure out how the rest of the analogy goes that you started on my name…
    Cristina : Lush :: ______ : ______
    a) butter Elvis : stupefying
    b) Cascade 220 : satisfying
    c) squirrels : transformers

  32. Voted to retire to the lounge. With all this voting I need another refill on my perfect beverage!

  33. Design by committee terrifies me. I’m sure to be a dropout to the hotel lounge. But a large show & tell of Keep Ourselves Busy Sweaters with appropriate beverages? That’s my kind of perfect sweater party.

  34. So I was just wondering…do we have to sell all we own for that fabulous $1200 twinset?? I particularly enjoyed the cocktail link.

  35. Hi. I am that quiet participant, the one in the bck row that keeps having to climb over people 10 minutes before the session is over to go to the ‘ladies’ but is crazy at the bar, and doesn’t care if there is one perfect drink – I drink them all!
    Anyway, I think there might be a problem in the process. See, I am working on what is MY perfect sweater (the yarns mean something to me, I found a pattern I like, I know I have enough…yada yada) and I’ve hit a glitch. See, there’s this blog that just posted a ton of patterns I hadn’t seen before for cardigans. And now I think that I may need to frog my perfect sweater, redesign my pattern and start again. Gah. So, just saying. You might not want to read any blogs until you’re done knitting the whole thing. :)

  36. I was one for Keeping Ourselves Busy, but I was sore tempted by that Lounge option, too. The problem is that I have a whole big pile of potential “The Perfect Sweaters,” depending on my mood, my energy level, the season, and what kind of housework I’m avoiding by knitting instead.
    Regardless of the outcome, though, I’m happy to keep up the voting, if only because it gives me something to do besides make and meticulously wash gauge swatches for that WBP of potential TPS.

  37. I voted “Keep ourselves busy” but really should have voted for “other”. My idea is halfway between KOB and consensus. I vote that we create a consensus sweater that can be customized.
    For example, the consensus shape might be a cardigan sweater with set in sleeves and moderate ease. BUT, the individual knitters can customize by adding their own style of collar, or a cable down the front panels, etc.
    We all know that a true knitter is going to ignore the pattern and do what he/she wants anyways! Since that is going to be part of the process of making a “Perfect Sweater” (whether anyone wants it to be or not!), we might as well design the perfect sweater to accomodate that!

  38. Debbie, I know what you mean! The drinks are on me! (Gosh, I feel like the Milky Bar Kid)

  39. I was so tempted to retire to the lounge, but the search for the perfect handknit has been fascinating and we need to see it through. (I’ll be in the lounge while everybody votes).

  40. Yes. To all of it. (in some way or another?)
    My vote was cast for the “keep oursevles busy” option simply because I don’t follow patterns very well and often make chanages to whatever I’m knitting (depending on which way the wind is blowing). However, with that in mind, I’m enjoying my view of goings-on from the student study row of seats back here, and do look forward to perfect pattern that you’ll create.
    Now if you’ll excuse me I need to find another shot or two of espresso so I can push through the last of this antibiotic review…

  41. I like the idea of knitting variations on a theme. Customizing the perfect sweater. When do we start?

  42. Count me in for the Consensus-Keep Ourselves Busy Blend. Ann comes up with a pattern that can be easily modified to meet each knitter’s idiosyncratic notion of the Perfect Sweater from plain-and-simple to cables-out-the-wazoo. And I second the motion to send Ann to Canyon Ranch when this is all done.

  43. I’m with Susan – knitting variations on a theme!!!!!!

  44. Yes. Todd Oldham knits. Todd Oldham has personally made knitting needles out of dowels and in person, personally, knit hats with them.
    Sometimes, I think I don’t know much, but this I know: Todd Oldham knits.

  45. Yay concensus. Particularly if everyone agrees with me that the Rogue-as-cardigan and the Anthropologie cardigan options are the only ones we should be considering seriously.

  46. Ha! I should have known Todd Oldham would knit, and with handmade needles, of course.
    Thanks, Amber!

  47. $1200 for a twinset? With a drop shoulder cardi? If I were carrying my extra cash right in front of my armpits I’d *need* those bumps there, and I could afford the sweater.
    I still love that Pam from Rowan 30 the best. But I would love it more if it had a notched jackety sort of collar instead of that shawl one. And – is it the right gauge for Cascade 220? Looks a bit fine for that yarn.

  48. I’m late but I voted anyways. I said ‘other’. I would break up the sweaters as they are. do the vote thang to break it down to five sweaters or something and then have everyone go their own way. At least then it would be narrowed down slightly.

  49. Ann,
    If you are gonna kill me for voting Consensus all the way so that she could crank out the instructions, please just send me some gorgeous handpainted yarns so I could hang myself instead :P