“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

Perfect Sweater: Sticking Their Necks Out

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Dear Kay, and Everybody Who Has Found Peace with Their Finish in the Knitting Olympics,
If I sound deliriously excited, it’s because I am.
Just goofy, really, because even as I write, there are seven geniuses at work on the Perfect Sweater pattern. Seven intrepid artists who have looked Destiny in the face and said, “Destiny, I’m not askeered of you.” “Destiny, I flinch not.” “Destiny–look, you’re not really destiny, you’re just a neckline that has to be designed, and it’s just not rocket science or anything, but Ann sounds kind of desperate and clearly needs the help blessherheart.”
For those just joining us, go back and read every entry with the word “Perfect” in the title, dating from September through November 2005.
OK, you’re back? Long story short, we (the readers of this blog) have been in deep discussion, in a Future Search, about what constitutes the perfect handknit. What are the elements? What is it–a sweater, a sock, a dress that harkens to the days of Flashdance? What is the perfect yarn? Wool? Cotton? Alpaca? Scratchy wool? Merino???? We nominated; we voted; we had run-offs; we broke into factions; we argued about how you pronounce the word schism; we veered off into the subject of beverages. Some people retired to the lounge rather than face the possibility of continuing this process.
The conclusions that came out of this winnowing process: Cascade 220 was deemed the perfect yarn. A sweater was named the perfect project, by a good margin, and we managed to get a majority for slight shaping and set-in sleeves. But at that point, the consensus collapsed like a pup tent in a hurricane. Cardigan? Pullover? Couldn’t crack it–so we’re writing patterns for both. Edging? A flat-out tie between hemmed and seed stitch, so we’re including both options. Neckline? Ach, hopeless! Try to get a turtlenecker to lay down with a scoopnecker, and all you get are complaints of itchiness and immodesty. We concluded that the perfect sweater really does need a neckline that suits its wearer, so we decided on a variety of necklines.
As I have mentioned, I’ve been trying out the pattern (beautifully edited by Mandy), along with Kathy of California and Kendall of Tulsa. We are feeling pretty good about the way it’s working, so at this point in this (quick) (E-Z) process, it’s time to create the varied necklines that everybody seems to like so much.
Please say hello to the women who are going to be working out the necklines. They may be writing about their design process on their blogs, and I’ll let you know when they’re posting. I think it’s going to be very interesting to see how they do what they do.
Tara will be designing the crewneck.
Lauren: sweetheart neckline
Suzanne: V neck
Molly: shawl collar
Kathy: jewelneck AND cardigan
Morgan: scoop neck
Oh yes and one more! Kristy: square neck
Can’t wait to see what you cook up. Everybody, please get out your leftover cowbells from the Torino downhill and give a rattle for these designers. Thank you, designers!!!!
We expect to start having patterns available later this month.
Love,
Ann

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. This has been a long fezzle, hasn’t it? But I’m still excited about it and looking forward to the pattern.

  2. Ladies, thank y’all for your work! And Ann, bless your heart, thank you too!

  3. Go team! I have full confidence in y’all. And even more appreciation for your efforts!

  4. I love the edging. I cannot wait to see these finished sweaters.

  5. It will really be the perfect sweater for EVERYBODY with all these variations – thank you to all the designers…..

  6. Here is to the pioneers, the ones willing to risk needle and yarn in the pursuit of excellence. I, for one, dream about the day when I can cast off and say with certainty, this is the perfect collar for this sweater, the day when I won’t have to rip back and re-do, a day when I won’t have to hide my neckline under a silk scarf, a day when I can stand up and announce from the rooftops “I am wearing the perfect handknit.”
    Ladies, this (Beverage of your choice) is for you.

  7. Very excited! I have some Cascade 220 in the stash!

  8. Thanks for the links to all those blogs! Nice to see some new-to-me folks. A ring of the cowbell to you all!

  9. Wow, this is so exciting! Would it be a little too much if I knit them all? Would that make me one of *those* people? But I’m thinking if this is to be the Perfect Sweater, how could one have too many? Go girls, you’re in the home stretch! Just try not to catch an edge…;)

  10. A perfect sweater is one everyone can knit, wear and make all their own. It looks like you’ll have that pegged! Can’t wait.

  11. Ya’ll had a charette. That’s what those architect-types call it. A brainstorming session is called a charette. And I know this because Haley Barbour, governor of the Great State of Missippi, has even used it, which is remarkable being that the only other French word he claims to know is “bourbon.” I’ll buy that.
    Anywho, your charette yielded one (or twenty) fine pattern and i can’t wait to knit it.

  12. There used to be an art supply store called Charette and I never understood it. I thought it might mean ‘expensive notebook’ since that’s what they sold there.
    Yes, Ann has been charetting away with her Perfect People, and she’s burned through a couple of expensive notebooks too I’m sure. xox Kay

  13. What, no turtleneck?! what happened to the turtleneck, people? I need me one of them there Perfect Sweaters, but it’s gotta cover the uh, several chins I seem to have accumulated recently.

  14. Ok, so I broke down this morning and ordered the yarn.
    I will probably waffle and try to make legwarmers for roller derby practice out of it, but by god, I will knit this sweater. Eventually.

  15. AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW LIBBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
    This is a real moment in knitting history. I can hardly stand it. No, I cannot stand it. I must go lie down now. A semi-tear of emotional overwhelmedness is welling up.
    What shade did you pick??????

  16. I’m bummed about the book tour because I’ll be in London on the 26th but have to leave that morning to travel to a convention in Falmouth. I’m meeting up with others for the trip so I can’t even delay my departure long enough to drop in the shop and meet Kay. And that’s as close as I’ll come to being where y’all will be. Bummers!

  17. Shake your beauties!

  18. You know what this band needs? More cowbells!
    But seriously, I’m almost finished – almost! Just the last half of the front of the cardigan and a neck finish and I’m done. The sweater is looking rather perfect, even not quite done :-)

  19. Ooooh! I’m excited. I’m looking forward to a nice red sweater that fits better than my current grey thing. As long as it’s wool, and not stolen from an ex-boyfriend, it’ll be perfect. ~x~

  20. The little teeny contrasting edging is precious. Is it okay if we add intarsia flames or birds or something to the perfect sweater? I’m getting giddy….

  21. Thank goodness! I just can hardly wait any longer. I have even considered knitting something else with my “perfect yarn”, but I resisted. But March is Perfect!

  22. This is motivation for me to get off my duff and finish my Olympic Sweater. :)

  23. Are these patterns available? I’m ready to start knitting my first garment…and I want it to be “perfect”!