Check it out! It’s all blocked and I’m putting it together now. It’s practically a sweater! I keep making Jon try it on when a new seam is finished. He’s getting mildly annoyed and statically charged, but it looks really good on him. I’m worried that the arm holes might be a bit high and small, but he swears they feel fine. I guess that response is the knitting equivalent to the one for “Do I look fat?” I’m not picky, I’ll take it.
So yesterday, my friend Charlene paid us a visit and left a comment among the ones she received. A very nice introduction, I’d say. La asked if this meant she had to stop swearing. The answer to that is a resounding “Heck no!” Charlene is as salty as any pirate I know and especially favors the term “jackass” lately. I’m partial to pairing body parts and diseases for maximum effect. Some folks asked when Charlene was going to start knitting and I just don’t know if it’s ever going to happen. But she does wear scarves well and appreciates llamas and alpaca like no one else. She went to Peru a couple of summers ago and brought back a bunch of great knitted stuff. She suggested that we make a return trip figuring it would make great blog fodder. I wholeheartedly agree. Wouldn’t you all like to see pictures of me pillaging a small Peruvian village and absconding with all of their yarn? I knew you would.
One more thing about Charlene, she was there for the 28-foot-blanket incident.
The other day, I told my dad I was going to make him a sweater and had him look at some patterns. I originally showed him this one, but he said it was too pépé (a French term for grandfather). He looked through a bunch of other 60’s pattern books and it was hilarious. He LOVED them and was pointing out all the sweaters he used to have. He’d point to one and describe it, nudging my mother and saying “Remember that sweater? Mine was yellow!” and was describing others as “really sharp” saying “they just don’t make them like this any more”. My mom joined in when she saw some gorgeous knitted coats, which she had made for herself. I knew my mom used to knit beautiful things, but I never realized my dad had such a soft spot for knitwear, then he reminded me why. Many years ago, he and my mom used to work at a sweater factory in New Hampshire, which was once renowned for its textile mills along the Merrimack River. I think they actually met there. It was called Pandora* He got this sort of animated air about him and said “You should get a knitting machine! Then you could get tons done really fast!” and proceeded to demonstrate how a knitting machine works using his hands and sound effects. In case you were wondering, the sound of a knitting machine in action is “tktktktktktktktktktktkt” and the sound of an entire sweater being whipped out by one is “zooooooooOOOOOOOOP”. Then he told us about the difference between “Cut and Sew” sweaters and “Full Fashion” ones. As you can imagine, “Full Fashion” is the good stuff that took a lot of detailed hand work. “Cut and Sew” was a giant piece of knitted fabric that was then cut into pattern pieces and sewn together. My mom worked on Full Fashion doing something called “looping”. I’m not really sure what that is (I think it had to do with attaching sleeves), but she still remembered the hand movements she used on her machine. I wish I could fully explain how great it was to have my dad imitating a knitting machine and my mom doing “looping” in the air. Truly a sight to behold. Apparently it’s in my blood.
Anyway, this is the pattern my dad finally picked.
I asked what color he wanted and he insisted that it be red. Turns out he just loves red, but never wears it (I think my mom has something to do with that). So a dashing red sweater it is. Here is where I will need to do some searching. The pattern uses Spinnerin yarn which, of course, no longer exists. It uses needles 5 and 8, the gauge is 5 sts = 1 inch and 7 sts = 1 inch. I can only assume that the #8 needles yield the 5st/1inch gauge. Would anyone in the blogsphere know of a yarn that has the gauge and would produce this red/black color mix? What is that called when the colors are mixed up like that? I may have to make a trip to Webs for this one. Oh Meeeeelaniiiieee . . .
Also, as a side note, I added some more stuff to my finished object list. They’ve been finished for a while, I just got around to getting pictures now. I’ve got a shawl, a cat blanket, a doily, and a felted bag. All of these were for my mom. I’m going to make her a felted hat to go with her bag next (by her request). She uses the bag all the time and really enjoys the attention it gets. She loves the eyelash yarn and I’m hoping to get her back into knitting by buying her some cool, crazy stuff. She really is a talented knitter/crocheter/embroiderer/seamstress/lady.
*If you're intersted in the mills, this site has gorgeous photos, click them to see the high quality images. It’s funny, I was just looking for a good picture of the mills, and for almost an hour I’ve been poring through a bunch of sites about them. They really give me a sense of “home” and I think they’re so beautiful. After almost 20 years away, I’m only recently appreciating how rich in history my hometown is.