Now, the question becomes who thought of this motto first, VK or me? The motto I am now seeing heading the instruction pages in recent issues of Vogue Knitting: plan, make, finish, wear has been my mantra for the last 35 years or so whether it be in knitting or sewing (my personal predecessor to hand knitting). I have always aimed to wear what I make and I do!
It oftentimes becomes more than that because when I have worn my hand knits, I notice whether they are ‘wearing’ the way that I want. Odd to say that if some aspect of a hand knit is noticed (by me) in the wearing, it oftentimes means there is some kind of issue with it. I know, you are thinking that I would want to notice a hand knit, however, as the wearer, it normally means there is a pull or a snag or a tightness/looseness somewhere that is not comfortable or is in the way and then I fuss with it or even worse, will not wear it, again. It is the same with ready wear so I am sure all of you can attest to this in some sort or another. So, it is always my goal to NOT notice the garment that I am wearing and then I realize how great it is and know that I will choose to wear it, again. Likely, I’ve talked about this before however, it was to this end that the project I call “Rust” came to be.
I recently decided that it was time to stop and take inventory of the current collection of my hand knits to tidy up projects that had little nuances or bothers to them that, if fixed or altered, would be more comfortable to me in the next wearing. In some cases it was simply changing the buttons as the original buttons were too heavy or threading elastic into ribbing as the ribbing was stretched or sewing seam binding into a seam that was pulling. You can see and read about these alterations in a recent blog entry called “Snaps and Cackle May Put a Little Pop into your Knits”. Well, on this journey of ‘fix-its’, I came across the below project, a lovely hand knit designed by Norah Gaughan and knitted with Pure Merino DK by Berroco. I love this cardigan for its luxurious fabric and collar and cuff detail.
However, I stopped and told myself to stop lying about this gorgeous piece as truthfully, this sweater feels very tight, especially in the armholes, so tight that as much as I love it, it was not being worn. Now, how to fix THIS, I thought? And, slowly I confronted my reality and told myself I really needed to reknit the entire project for a fit that would be more comfortable for me if indeed I was to get proper enjoyment. After all, is that not why I knit… to enjoy what I wear.
So, the commitment was made to deal with this and the search and questions began. New yarn or rip apart the sweater? If I kept the sweater in tact, what would I do with it? Same or similar pattern? When would I be willing to spend time on this? Somehow, the questions did not linger for long as the pieces of the plan fairly fell into place. The good and only good news about redoing a project is you are so familiar with it that you can keep what went right and easily change what went wrong.
Utilizing Facebook as my avenue for a possible ‘giveaway’, my gently worn sweater was advertised and quickly swept up by a friend. That meant new yarn for my replacement. I loved the yarn of the old, so I went on a quest to find more of the same. Discontinued. Yes, of course. Ebay however had a lovely color with the EXACT number of skeins I needed. Perfect… in rust, much like my hair color or the beautiful oriental area rug that is the focal point of our living room. So happy to receive the yarn I did not notice immediately its shortcomings. However, it did not take long… damaged…not one ball, but several. In researching to keep the yarn or not, I learned of its plight having been bounced from one ‘yarnee to another’ much like unwanted pets. I fell in love with it in its sad condition and felt I needed to do something great with it thinking of the effort that went into producing such a wonderfully soft fiber, not to mention the seller was so darn reasonable. Unwinding each ball and cutting out damaged yardage here and there, I came to realize there would not be enough yarn to work up the original pattern to replicate. However, a similar pattern caught my eye… “Assemblage” by the same designer, Norah Gaughan and I felt I had enough yarn for it. I could NOT let this yarn sit any longer on anyone’s shelf so I knew the time to knit this was immediate. Alterations to the body of the sweater making it longer and narrower as opposed to A-line shape were configured, mix and match buttons from my button collection were chosen, and one row buttonholes, a MUST to actually function properly were put into the plans all the way down for the elongation effect I always desire. Keeping the beautiful sculpture of the collar and sleeve cuff were, of course, a must as they were the link that reminded me of the original.
I cannot say rust is the most thrilling color to knit with or that endless stockinette stitch is interesting and highly engaging and keeps the attention, however what you see here is exactly what I planned and is the best of everything new and has answered for the shortcomings of the original.
And, the best part is that now I have a sweater that I easily wear with its comfy fit and roomy layering possibilities AND a dear friend of mine will be sporting around enjoying hers.