I have been on such an endorphin rush with this Kaffe Fassett Big Flower Jacket. It has taken years off my age. (Or maybe, years off my life? Those are two very different things.) This state of elation, of giddiness at the fun of knitting something slightly above my pay grade, has put me in a strange, powerful state of mind. (On Whole30, they call this feeling “Tiger Blood.”) I’m awesome! I can Do Stuff!–that’s the general idea.
The latest evidence is that on Tuesday, as we packed up for a day trip to visit a college 190 miles away, I decided to take the Big Flower jacket as my car knitting.
Mind you, I was not driving. I was going to be a passenger, the whole seven hours there and back.
I was aware of the difficulties of working on a project like this while in a moving vehicle. I knew that I’d be digging around on the floor and fishing balls out of the giant bag of Big Flower fixings, measuring off lengths, using my scissors (losing my scissors), and peering at the Big Flower chart, the stripe color chart, and the shade key card, several times per row. Lots of dangling and tangling would be happening, at 70 miles per hour. But having been given the gift of seven whole hours of prime knitting time, I couldn’t stand to work on anything else.
As it turned out, walking around a college campus for 90 minutes in blazing sunshine meant that I didn’t do too much on Big Flower on the return trip, but on the way down, I did ten rows. Ten! Rows!
One hard fact I’ve learned: in 1985, it must not have been common practice to number the rows in a 68-row chart. Nor is there a grid of bold lines marking off every 10 rows and every 10 stitches, as is so common in this profligate age of free-flowing ink. There is a bold line marking the center of the chart. Apart from that, you’re on your own. You have to count, and recount, and mark up the chart your own self.
Knitters today are spoiled rotten with bolded lines and numbers and color coding and such. The knitters of 1985 had it tough, and it made them strong.
Stephen Foster wrote a song about this.
(If you let YouTube keep playing the next song for a while, you will not be sorry. So many great versions.)
Another problem with Big Flower is that there are a lot of single-row stripes running across the background. That single row includes several instances where only a single stitch of the background stripe color is needed, between the petals of the flower. If a few of these single stitches are stacked up (each with two dangling, unmoored ends), you have a disastrous hole waiting to happen. (This is why people were telling me to strand the background color across the back, I know. Not doing it! Stubborn!)
These wobbly single stitches make it important to stop every now and then, and weave in all the loose ends, thereby closing up those holes and stabilizing the fabric of the sweater. Having completed row 68 (of 120 in the sweater), it was time to take a weaving break.
On the right: before weaving. On the left: after weaving. All better.
Weaving in the ends is tedious but not difficult. It’s a nice thing to do with your hands while you are on a long phone call with your co-bloggette.
Here’s another gem of a tutorial from Ruth Herring on how to weave in the ends in intarsia. Thank you, Ruth Herring!
That’s all I’ve got this beautiful Thursday. More Big Flower ahead. I promise to talk about something else–someday.