Friday, July 11, 2008

A little orange sweater...

I've been knitting for about three years, and even though I'd like to say that I've been able to rise to every challenge that sticks and string have thrown at me, that's not quite true. I have friends whose first projects were entrelac and lace, and have only moved onto cables, colorwork, and design. I've managed to tackle all but two of those things that I consider on my list of challenging knit techniques. I've done Fair Isle, cables, steeking, lace, socks, and sweaters. But now that I've fallen so completely in love with every single facet of knitting, I feel as though it's time for me to try a little designing.

Ever since I was a little kid, I've loved to combine challenging colors. My mother would send me to preschool some mornings wearing a pink floral skirt, kelly green tights, and a red shirt - and all because I demanded that I dress myself. My dad took to calling me Sneech in my teens, due to the stripy rainbow socks that I wore beneath long, hippie-styled skirts, huge black plaid pants, or even jeans and my ubiquitous gray Oberlin sweatshirt*. I've changed my dress sense a little bit since then, but I still love loud colors as accents. Orange, in particular, is a favorite. I have a puffy, knee-length orange winter coat that I fell in love with in a Lands' End catalog when I was seventeen and bought for the long, snowy winters of Ohio. This coat has been loved to death. Buttons are missing, and the cuffs are gray with dirt. I got the coat in the mail the day that I had to leave Oberlin after two of my friends died in a murder. I wore it on the train, napped in it, and went for late-night grocery runs in it. Girls would stop me in the aisles and tell me what a great color it was. So I have a special fondness for both the coat and the color... and luckily, I happen to have a skein of handspun, hand-dyed baby alpaca in almost the same shade, that I bought at the San Juan County Fair the summer after my senior year of high school. This yarn has stuck around with me for two years, and I think that I've finally found something to do with it.

I think I'm going to keep it simple, with details in the picot trim and ribbon right under the bust. I like the idea of the dark purple ribbon clashing/contrasting with the (ridiculously violent) orange of the sweater. I want the sweater to be fitted, but to have enough ease to fit a button-up shirt or camisole underneath it. I haven't figured out how to attach a picot trim to the neckline of the sweater, or how exactly to plan the math in order to make the ribbing fit my 29-inch ribcage, and, two inches later, my 37-inch bust. I'm thinking that short rows might be in order. But I'm excited to swatch for this project. I really hope that I can finish it before school starts, so that I can show it to my knitting students this fall!

*I've been an Oberlin fan since I was fifteen, after walking around campus in the middle of spring during my sophomore year of high school. I bought a sweatshirt and entertained a dream of actually getting in, but I knew realistically that I had very little chance of getting accepted at such a great school. Happily for me, I was wrong!

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