Friday, February 04, 2011

A Tale of Two Red Sweaters, part 2

The second of my two red sweaters. This one might look a little familiar. Not only did I make a short-sleeved version over the summer, but I also made a yoke for Ali (who showcases a brilliant method for attaching a yoke to an existing top as an excellent refashion technique. Must. Copy. Brilliance.) What can I say? I looooooooooove this pattern. I've definitely gotten my money's worth out of ordering that magazine.

Fiber #26: New England's Finest. So named because it was inspired by New England's finest season. Fall. I know Californians are supposed to be all snotty about our weather and whatnot, but I really do miss New England autumns. And in my own small way, I definitely miss the feeling of 4 seasons.

I've finally bitten the bullet and started investing in expensive yarns for some of my handknits. I have a couple projects that look so worn and faded after several wears that I've seriously contemplated reknitting them. Reknitting??? Another 20 hours of my life to replicate a project??? Sheesh. Consider me selectively converted; it depends on the project. Anyways, this is Madelinetosh in Tart. This scarf, which is still my favorite ever, has shown very little sign of pilling despite the great amount of wear that it sees ... between the gorgeous colors, the semi-solid variegation, and the hardiness of the fabric, this is a line of yarns I'll patronize more frequently. Guess that means I should stick to fine gauge knitting (which takes more time and therefore will hopefully mean less yarn purchased! Fewer handknits, nicer quality, or so the theory goes).

So here's a funny story. I'm eating lunch at work with two coworkers, a girl about my age who's shown flickering interest in learning to knit, and the new IT manager whom we both barely know. She asks if this sweater is handmade. All of a sudden, the new IT manager goes into a big long spiel about knitting - how this sweater would probably cost my coworker $600 if she wanted to commission me to make one because minimum wage in San Francisco is nearly $10/hour, how I must've been at this for many years now because he can see that my seams are nice and tight, how yarn should not be washed in detergent because that strips it of its softness (um, I did not know this), what a pain it is to discover a mistake 20 lines up and have to rip back, how this sweater was probably knit up on bus rides, nice afternoons out in the park, or lieu of watching TV.

From this 60 year old man, on his second marriage and a bit of a talker, I certainly did not expect to find such a strong advocate of the quality of handmade. But as my mother said, you never know whose mother or grandmother was an avid knitter, who might've been taken along to yarn stores and fabric stores as a young child.

As you can see, I mimicked the lace-ish pattern in the collar at the hems. I am so, so thrilled with this sweater and cannot wait to continue wearing it. And given the vagaries of San Francisco weather, this, ironically, is probably a 4-season knit.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful sweater.

Violet said...

yeah it's great. I think I have a fear of making something too small for me, and therefore knit to a bigger size.Only that gives me a baggy and shapeless garment which I'd never wear outside the house...

Sølvi said...

This is one seriously good-looking sweater. It fits you perfectly! I am so impressed! The color is great, and I agree with you on the quality of the yarn, it really is worth the extra cash in the long run.

Loved your mothers comment on "you never know whose mother or grandmother was an avid knitter" - that´s so true! :-)

Amy said...

LOVE!!! That is so gorgeous, and it suits you absolutely perfectly. What a great color too.

Also: I was actually taught to knit by a friend's great uncle, who must have been well into his 70s at the time. Love him. He also made gorgeous hooked rugs.

And: Heck yeah, I hear you on the missing autumn thing, and also missing four real seasons. That missing is a recurrent theme for me.

Sigrid said...

Your sweater ! I have serious sweater envy.
And what an unusual conversation. Often people seem so threatened by beautiful handknits, as if I am trying to prove that they are lazy by wearing something I labored over. (Maybe it's a midwest thing?) I think I have conversation envy too.

Alex said...

Hey Jessica,
It's good to hear from you! I hope things are going well in SF. As always, I look forward to reading about all your JY-originals.
Take care,

Roobeedoo said...

Ooh! I liked the green one but I LURVE the autumnal one!

Minnado said...

The red seater looks great on you. I am envious of your knitting skills. I liked the story about the guy at work talking handmade clothing. I guess you can never quite tell from appearances what people are like.

Zoe said...

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks soooooooooo much for my package! I had totally forgotten the convo about the black fabric, it's wonderful. And the scarflet is beyond incredible! I love it so much, that colour is totally stunning and perfect with my colour scheme (that you have so cleverly noted). I'm sorry to be writing this as a comment, I can't find your email address anywhere.

I really can't thank you enough. Please can you email me your address? The return address on the package has a post mark on it so I can't read all of it.

Love and hugs
Zoe xxx

jessica said...

Thank you all for the nice comments!

Violet ~ I totally understand your fear, especially since I've definitely made garments that were WAY too small and extremely unflattering! I tell myself that yarn tends to stretch out a couple inches in diameter with wear, so if I make something spot on, it works out to a couple inches of ease =).

Solvi ~ my mother's insights never fail to amaze me.

Amy ~ this friend's great uncle sounds so intriguing. I would've loved to sit next to him and watch him work and/or hear his stories!

Sigrid ~ haha, conversation envy! I think snippets of conversations just stay with me for a long time. I find conversation so fascinating ... in some circumstances it's like you can really encapsulate a person with 3-4 well-chosen lines of (their own) dialogue.

Minnado ~ too true, too true!

Alessa said...

So beautiful! *sigh* I am much too lazy to be a knitter, but if I ever reconsider, this sweater would be on my to-do list... Love your matching hems, too. :)

Zonnah said...

It is gorgeous! That was a cute story :)