When my mother asked for a new sweater to replace one she’d lost, this wasn’t what either of us imagined. The sweater that went missing was a patchwork of pictorial intarsia and textural panels in earthy colors. I wasn’t going to try to recreate that, but it was difficult to work out an alternative that suited my vision and my mother’s. She’d mention a feature of one or another of my sweaters that she liked, but bringing them together was a challenge. So I did what any sensible knitter would do: I spread out my Elizabeth Zimmermann library and together we pored over the many wonderful designs involving colorwork. Three & One caught her fancy, and I could see ways to add the waist shaping and shawl collar Mum had requested, so we were off to the races. We chose the yarn: Cascade Eco Wool for the base and Cascade Rustic for the accent colors. Ten months later, the sweater is finished.
At some point (well into the knitting, mind you) it occurred to me that I was trying to make a fitted cardigan by stranding a bulky wool with an Aran-weight wool/linen blend. How was this sweater not going to be Michelin-Man bulky and far too warm? But my parents are active folk; when they are not working on their new house they are usually to be found outside doing all the chores that come with living in the woods. And the chilly damp of the Pacific Northwest guarantees this sweater can stand in for a jacket in fall and spring as well as winter.
I thought I’d give it a test run yesterday just to make sure. I had a little vacation in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the weather was unexpectedly fair, so we took the dog for a special outing to the Sandy River delta, where she can run full tilt for as long as her mighty heart and skinny legs desire (which is a very long time… owners of other energetic dogs always thank us for bringing “the rabbit”). There is often strong wind at the delta, and yesterday was no exception. My fingers were quickly raw and I wished I’d worn a warmer hat, but the Three & One was perfectly cozy. (It was even cozier after the walk when we retired to Bakery Bar for coffee and fried egg sandwiches on homemade biscuits. The day was warm enough for sitting outside in the sun, and there was no wind in town.)
It wasn’t until I saw these photos that I realized all was not quite right. Look again… I’ll bet you can spot it, if you haven’t already.
Yeah. I don’t know how I did it, but I sewed all the buttons on half an inch low, and as a result the pattern doesn’t match up across the fronts. I’m sure Mum would wear the sweater and love it anyway, the way Dad wears his gansey with the too-tight hem (my first bout with the tubular cast on wasn’t a resounding victory), but this is not something I can live with. Snip, snip, snip. Off came the buttons and their backing buttons, and up they all moved. Problem solved.