It took me three full months to knit this sweater. Started at Christmas, finished on Easter Sunday.
I blame psychology. It is my nature to resist and delay doing things that I’m supposed to do, even if I’m doing them with a willing heart, and especially if it was my idea in the first place. I think what was really going on with Ranger, though, was performance anxiety. I really wanted to get Ranger right. I measured a sweater that fit the recipient, I calculated, I swatched. Things kept going wrong. The sleeve-as-swatch that missed gauge even after blocking, the simple slip-stitch pattern whose texture masked mistakes until I’d knit several inches past them, that episode with the missing short rows. I kept stopping and starting, forgetting my place, needing to pin my restless brain down to concentrate. And the whole time, the sinking feeling that it looked too small.
Then I blocked it; now I’m worried that it’s too big. I hope this means that it’s Just Right. I’ll find out soon; I’m delivering it this week.
It seemed fitting that as I was sewing on the recommended horn buttons, Olive snatched up one of them and took it to her hidey-hole under the bed. By the time I’d lured her away (by going to the kitchen, opening the fridge and popping the lid off a Pyrex full of chicken tajine) and retrieved the button, it was no longer a button. (Luckily I had a spare.)
Ranger is a beautifully designed and written pattern for a classic cardigan. I particularly love the texture of the stitch pattern: a nubbly, flat rib on the right side, with waffle ridges on the inside. Knit in Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter (shade: Old World), the garment looks (and is) sturdy, yet feels so deliciously light. I love the aerodynamic highlighting of the raglan seams with 5 stitches of heel stitch. I love the neat stand-up collar. If this Ranger doesn’t fit Gael’s Stephen, it will fit somebody deserving, and it will become his favorite sweater. And I’ll knit another Ranger, probably a lot faster, with confidence that it will fit. I sure as heck know how to get gauge now.
What I need now is a total yee-ha, Thelma & Louise freedom knit. Either something mindless, or something Epic and Impossible. Guess which way I’m leaning. (Hint: vintage Kaffe. Pattern that predates the Internet, and possibly word processing. If this still seems like a good idea at the end of the day, I’m casting on.)