From the sidelines, I’ve been watching all this Yarn Democracy in Action and I must say I’m amazed. People get quite excited, don’t they? Not me. To quote a country song:
I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
To knit Denim although it’s not the tops
Oh—it doesn’t say that last part? Well, what good is it? (I voted for Wool Cotton. Does it surprise you that I didn’t vote for Calmer? Hey–I’m not a 100% cotton radical extremist, ya know. The Wool Cotton is simply delish — a dream of stitch definition and good behavior. )
The Secret’s In The Sideburns
What’s new with me? Much shrugging has occurred, but I think I’ve gotten it out of my system for the moment. I’ve moved on. Lately, my Conscience has been haunting me. Would you care to see my Conscience?
(A boat tote, carrying My Conscience.)
A couple of Christmases ago, my dad shocked the life out of me when he asked me to knit a cardi for him (well, okay, he didn’t say ‘cardi’; I think he said, ‘one of those sweaters, that you button’). I was further dumbfounded when he specified that he would like raglan sleeves and marled wool, ‘like the overcoats we used to wear in the 50s’. I had no idea that Dad, who gets up every morning and puts on a fresh shirt and Sansabelt slacks that my mother has laid out on the bed for him, knew the word ‘raglan’. (For our overseas friends, and those who think I’m kidding about Dad wearing Sansabelts, here’s proof. Let’s just say that in Sansabelt Nation, Maroon is reserved for the nobility. )
So you would think that I would jump right on this project, and I did! I put out a worldwide May-Day call to the Rowanettes for Portly Dad raglan cardi patterns. Yvonne, who seems to run a mini-Yesterknits museum in her home, quickly found just the thing, a 1970s pattern in archives, and lobbed it across the Atlantic.
Isn’t it the cutest? So gentlemanly! Just the thing to set off Dad’s signature Cowboy Hat (the Akubra or the Stetson, depending on whether Dad is having a Taupe day or a Charcoal day).
(Point of Information: Dad is one of 6 men on the planet who looks Right in a cowboy hat. When John Wayne was alive, there were 7.)
(Fun fact: When Dad visits New York, he is sometimes mistaken for McCloud.)
Dad will wear this cardi as his only article of outerwear in Nebraska’s below-zero winters, occasionally swapping it with the Ancient Paternal and Unlined Leather Jacket. Yes, a leather jacket will freeze brittle just walking across the parking lot, but a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. It’s the Code of the Cowboy-Hat Guys:
1. Never shiver.
2. Toothpick as accessory.
3. Sideburns, now and forever.
After Yvonne stepped up with the pattern, it was a simple matter of shopping for yarn. The suave Reynolds Andean Alpaca was a contender, and in fact it made the Swatch Finals, but ultimately I feared it would be too hot. At the end, I went with Rowanspun Aran in a Classic Dad Shade, Shark, otherwise known as “1950s Raglan Overcoat”. I ordered it all the way from England, paid pounds for it and everything.
But Life got in the way. Entire blankets appeared from my needles, but the Rowanspun languished. Once in a while, Dad would inquire ‘how’s my sweater?’ and I would feel a filial pang, but there was always a new baby or high humidity or some other excuse not to start a great honkin’ cardi in thick wool.
Then one day our wise Valentina gently reminded me that one should do for one’s father if one is lucky enough to have a father to do for. Way to ratchet the pressure, Valentina—you’re the best!
So, at long last, I’m casting on. The wool is so rough it’s positively medieval. Everytime I look at the pattern, I get 8-Track Flashbacks like you wouldn’t believe. I’m cranking the Johnny Cash AND the stockinette, and hopefully dad will have his raglan cardi before the snow flies. You, my little co-bloggette, have many murky pictures to look forward to.