A glimpse

Published on Thursday September 24th, 2009


It fits. The sleeves are a bit narrow and will be revised before I offer this pattern, but it works for Mr. G. We will have a proper photo shoot this weekend if time and lighting allow, but this little hint shows off the bits I’m most proud of anyway. See the shoulder gussets that allow a comfortable fit around the neck without having to slope the back or front at the shoulders? This unusual feature is what attracted me to the sweater in this historical photograph from Gladys Thompson’s excellent Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys & Arans:

Runswick_fishermanTempting as it is, I probably won’t require my beloved to don a sou’wester
and smoke a pipe for the official photoshoot.

Nor am I certain my considerable attraction to him could sustain a gnarly neck beard,
so we won’t be going for that authentic touch, either.

I love this book for its treasury of sweater designs and careful attention to the differences from one little cove’s worth of knitters to the next, and also for its photographs of crusty old fisherman. This is only one of the fabulous portraits it offers, although Gladys writes that it’s her favorite. I couldn’t tell, though, what might happen at the back of that particular old sweater, so I had to devise a way to raise the neckline at the back, as you see above.

See, too, how the maple leaves are changing. A last gasp of summer came through in the guise of a blustery hot wind that littered the sidewalk with roughly four thousand treacherous gum nuts from the hundred-year-old trees in front of our house, so it’s officially raking season. I’d like to pretend there’s another month to go before we really reach leaf fall, but I fear for the neighbors’ ankles. Our sweet gums are fine handsome old trees, but they are more accomplished than any other tree at protracting the drop of their pretty, star-shaped leaves over many months and then continuing to bombard unsuspecting passers-by with their spiky seed pods even after the leaves are gone. This year I see they are celebrating their centennial by growing a number of large clusters of conjoined pods, like gum nut rat kings, which will prove especially uncomfortable if they drop on people’s heads. You may wish to wear an old-timey felt hat for protection if you’re strolling in the neighborhood… fair warning. Luckily, I own several. I may need to knit a few more.

Thank you all for the excellent resources on intarsia in the round that flooded the comments! Special appreciation to Rodger, who tipped me off to an excellent book that was already right under my nose. I took Priscilla Gibson-Roberts to bed (um, you know what I mean) that very night to read up. I have begun a swatchcap to practice my Invisible Join 1. (I tried Invisible Join 2 at first, but it quickly got the better of me and left my circular needle locked in a contorted figure 8. I am sure this is my fault and not Priscilla’s, but I was too tired to work out what I’d done wrong.) We’ll evaluate the results together in a couple of days.

I may have finished a sweater.

Published on Tuesday September 15th, 2009

No photos yet, because at this point it doesn’t look good enough on my husband. It is snug, and rather short in the torso. I may have grossly underestimated the circumference of my beloved’s manly chest.  And I should have heeded Elizabeth Zimmermann’s wisdom about short rows across the back above the hem. Last night I was all ready to make a decisive surgical snip and tear out a line of stitches so I could lengthen the torso and graft it back together again, but the look on Mr. G’s face stopped me cold. He was horrified that I was about to cut the knitting. I had explained the procedure to him upon our discovery that the sweater was looking a little short in the body, but apparently the reality didn’t sink in until he saw the jaws of sharp, cold steel poised above a solitary, innocent stitch.

“Are you sure? I feel like I’m going to cry!”

This was so plaintive that I found I just couldn’t do it. I put the scissors down. I put him back in the sweater. (Dang, that little bit of ribbing sure did draw the sleeves in snug!)

“Can’t we just block it?”

The man has been learning by osmosis! He’s actually picking this stuff up! And he might even be right. A good stiff blocking all over might just make it possible for us not to cut apart the sweater. (Although I might still add those short rows.) I agreed that I’d knit the neck band and then we’d block it and see where we stood.

Into the tub with you, purple sweater. Grow, grow!