About Me

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Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rust Fibonacci Sweater

It all started with a scarf purchased at an outlet store, something like nine years ago. Followed maybe six years later by a pair of dark terra cotta socks, genus Discount Store. And year before last by a pair of brown pants from Wally World that look like corduroy, but aren't. [Nice enough for the office, cheap enough for my budget, and comfortable enough that I can put them on and forget them.] And then, for about two months last summer, there was Oh Gracious, I'm *Dating* Syndrome, which necessitated the purchase of half a dozen new T-shirts, all on sale at my favorite plus-size shop, one of them about the color of pumpkin chiffon pie.

My decaying black sweater added nothing to the outfit, which otherwise drew raves from the fashionistas at work. And sometime around Thanksgiving, I began to ponder the possibilities of creating a sweater that would elevate "outfit" to "ensemble". I had some 20 year old Berroco Mandarin Silk in cream and some equally well-seasoned Crystal Palace Country Silk in caramel, and I thought it would be nice to incorporate them. So one Saturday, I threw the clothing onto a hanger, grabbed the socks and a hank of each yarn, and spent a lovely half hour or so wandering from bin to bin. My budget was particularly tight at the time, so I only came home with two balls of Denim Silk in "Cayenne", which is the dark rust you see in the pictures, and one ball of the Plymouth "Foxy", which just screamed I-cord at me. Considering its price, I nearly screamed back!

We built this city, not on rock and roll, but one or two balls at a time as we waltzed joyfully with Signore Fibonacci. [Like Ben or Jerry, a gentleman most entertaining.] I cast on 50 sts at one sleeve in Denim Silk and worked my way up to the underarm as budget permitted. The wide band of bobbles and eyelets is from "Knitting on the Edge", page 131, Floral Bouquet.

When I arrived at the underarm, I knitted a tab from there to the hem of the sweater. Long enough to cover my T-shirt, short enough to prevent the need for future "tush patches". That pattern is on p. 130, Leaf Vein Insertion.

Once I reached the hem, I picked up stitches along the tab and worked short rows to turn a rectangle into a wedge, then over the shoulder on the sleeve stitches to the other side of the tab. More short rows, then back and forth until it was time for the back of the sweater. Since I didn't know what I wanted it to look like, I cast on the other sleeve and worked it to the same point.

I worked the back and grafted it to the second side with the last of the pale peach cotton, which I didn't want to cut because I didn't want to weave in ends. That became a two or three hour project: graft a few stitches, pull 20 yards of cotton through the stitches and tighten them up, weave a few more stitches, pull slightly less than 20 yards of cotton, etc. Next time I will just bite the bullet and weave it together a yard or so at a time, assuming I'm working in something grabby like cotton or wool, and not silk.

At this point I tried the sweater on and was relieved to see that it fit perfectly across the back and shoulders, and that I'd put just the right amount of "wedge" into the side panels. The front panels are short-rowed at the neck, about every 10 stitches to make a nice deep V. For the hem, I decreased in the early stages, then bound off outright. I wanted something curvy like a shrug but more flattering to a Rubenesque body. [Melissa McCarthy on "Gilmore Girls" is the only larger woman I've seen who can carry off something wider than it is long.] Something a little Paul Poiret, a little Mae West, and a whole lot unforgettable.

I had hoped to get the "faux fox" trim done with only two balls of the Foxy, but it was not to be. I got within six inches and had to go back and buy ball #3. The ties on the front are knitted on (I decreased to 3 sts on each front and hauled out the DP's for I-cord in the Denim Silk. The fluff balls at the end of each tie are more I-cord, and they take me back to a hat I saw as a child in the late 50's or very early 60's.

The Mandarin Silk needed some discreet patterning to keep it from slithering out of control like an aging soprano's vibrato. I did a seed stitch variation on the sleeves, a meticulously mirrored eyelet over the shoulders, and purl bumps on the back panel.

All the brown sections except for the underarm tab are purl bumps [two rows of garter stitch, forming one purl bump], ranging from one to five bumps wide. Most of the purl bumps were on size 3 needles; the stockinette portions are on size 4. Normal people would have used needles three sizes larger, in both cases. Normal people don't get claustrophobic when wrapping yarn around their hand; I do. So I just crook the little finger on my right hand and feed the yarn through there, and I gear down on the needles, and Knit Happens.

The Damage:
2 Berroco Mandarin Silk; 1 Crystal Palace Country Silk; 3 Berroco Denim Silk, Cayenne; 2 Lorna’s Laces Dove, Pumpkin; 2 GGH Linova, Terra Cotta Light; 1 GGH Merino Soft, Dark Brown; 2 Baruffa Maratona, Caramel; 1 GGH Tiffany, Light Orange; 3 Plymouth Foxy, Orange. Just doing my part to bless the local economy...

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