In August last year I began knitting Patsy (or "Lumley" as I call it) by Kim Hargreaves.
It's now April and I am still not sure what I am going to do.
I chose the pattern because I knew it would flatter my body type: a deep-V neckline and an emphasis on shoulders and waist are textbook examples of what someone with an hourglass figure should wear. I also liked the vintage feel to the design and knew if I lengthened the sleeves a smidgen, I'd live in this cardigan.
I hedged my bets and substituted the suggested Felted Tweed with Baby Alpaca DK (so if anything went wrong, I could knit up another design from Kim's book). The Baby Alpaca turned out to be a very, very good idea. It knits up beautifully but I had no idea just how magical it would become post-blocking. I'm getting ahead of myself here, but keep this in mind: the yarn substitution plays no part in why I am writing this post.
I began knitting the cardigan having swatched like a good girl. The back knitted up in no time. I was pretty happy. I began the front. Things fell apart (the center could not hold; mere anarchy was loosened upon the world - hello Yeats). I wrote up a spread-sheet to keep track of the pattern. The fronts looked pretty and also pretty small. I had also reached mid-November at this stage and my mojo was gone. Forcing myself onwards, I finished the sleeves in early January and did a quick crocheting-together of the body so I could see what it all looked like and maybe regenerate some of my mojo.
Mere anarchy was indeed loosened upon the world. Textbook examples for the hourglass body had combined into possibly the least flattering garment in the world. The fronts did not swooped gracefully down my bust: they flapped around the outer realms of my general bust area. The back looked absolutely brilliant and the shoulder area looked great. But those fronts..
.. so I put Lumley back into my knitting basket. I pulled it out again last week, undid the crocheted seams and blocked the easter bunny out of the pieces. As previously stated, the Baby Alpaca just turned into the most amazing fabric. Wow. Seriously, WOW. So I adjusted my hopes and fears for Lumley. I sewed it all up like a proper knitter. And finished sewing in the last sleeve at my knitting group.
The response could not have been clearer. "Uhm," said Paula, "I can see why you were .. ambivalent." Meanwhile Lilith tried to channel a Middle Eastern diplomat: ".. maybe if you wore it open..?"
I still haven't sewn in the collar nor have I woven in ends.
- The shoulder and upper-arm areas fit like a glove. Without doubt the best fitting garment I have ever made as far as those areas are concerned.
- I love the fabric (you weren't in doubt, were you?). It is soft, drapey, beautiful, silky, smooth.. wow.
- The colour is great as is the vintage feel. Lumley fits right into my wardrobe.
- And I have perfect buttons waiting to be sewn on.
- Nobody above an A-cup should wear this garment (or B-cup if you are super-willowy). I am very much not an A-cup nor am I willowy.
- The lower part of the sleeves look very odd (presumably because I lengthened the sleeves). In fact, they look like chicken cutlets swaying in the wind.
It's complicated. It really is.
I am so tempted to just stitch that collar in place, weave in the ends, sew on the buttons and call it a day. Maybe sew & cut the offending chicken cutlets from the sleeves if I'm feeling particularly grumpy. I have spent so much time and gone to such lengths with Lumley that I just want the cardigan finished. FINISHED AND OUT OF MY KNITTING BASKET.
But it'd be a waste of good yarn, wouldn't it? Oh, I could think of other projects in which it would be so delightful and useful..
Oh, Lumley. "That is not it at all, That is not what I meant, at all."