Monday, January 4, 2010

Everything old is New Year's


Happy 2010, everyone! I rang in the new year with an old friend, who was in town for a gig with his band (well, way OUT of town, as it happens, but here in Texas we just call any destination less than 300 miles away "yonder" and drive to it--carbon footprint, carbon schmootprint!). The resultant hangover notwithstanding, I put the finishing touches on the latest iteration of the Myrtle cardigan, got some pics of it at knitting on Saturday (including this absolutely gorgeous one taken by its recipient, above), and posted the pattern on Ravelry. It's been doing really well and I'm incredibly gratified by all the super-nice comments people have made--it's gotten my year off to a great start!

The funny thing is, although it seems to have struck some sort of sympathetic note with all those Ravelers, there's very little that's actually new about Myrtle. It rather slavishly follows my usual design formula:

1. Discover some yarn you love unreasoningly and realize that you HAVE to make something with it right NOW.

In Myrtle's case, this was a skein of Nantucket Red sock yarn from Cherry Tree Hill that I picked up at our group's swap. I don't even wear this color, normally, but for some reason I grabbed a bunch of coral-y reds that night. Go figure!

2. Ditto for a stitch pattern, usually from a Barbara Walker or Nicky Epstein book.

For Myrtle, this was Dayflower Lace, a really classic motif that's fun to work and easy to memorize. I came across it in a pocket stitch dictionary one of my professors had right around the same time I got the yarn.

3. Combine with a certain amount of alcohol and think of a librarian-y name for it.

A friend's beloved cat, which was named Myrtle, died around the time I was working on this and it just felt right.

4. Pour into a cardigan with 3/4 length sleeves.

Someone remarked to me recently, "You seem to make a lot of cardigans." This is true. I also wear a lot of cardigans. They're simply the best kind of sweater. And 3/4 length sleeves are the best kind of sleeve, because long sleeves are too long and you have to keep pushing them up if you're cooking, or if it's too hot in your office (or in Texas in general, which it almost always is).

4.1. Realize you don't have enough yarn and scramble around until you find more.

I only did this for the very first Myrtle, though. For the next two, I had enough left over to make a pair of matching socks if I wanted to. The green stuff you see above was originally an, um, intense yellow that my good friend Stephanie over at Spinning Colors overdyed for me, and it is even more delicious in person.

5. Attach vintage buttons.

These are some of the ones I picked up in St. Louis in November. Another eye-candy shot here from its new owner shows them off nicely!


6. Write up, release, repeat!

For Myrtle, this turned out to be a particular challenge, because of the lace motif, and because there were a bunch of little things in the prototype I realized I could/should have done differently, but I eventually pulled it off--the different-sized one I worked up purely from my calculations turned out perfectly. I hope to add a few more sizes at the top of the range to this pattern at some point in the future, since I kind of pooped out at 2X/48" bust for this one. Stay tuned, curvy ladies!

I even noticed that I'd made this sweater, like my previous design Decimal, in an orange version and a green version. Spooky, huh? Resolution for 2010: Try something a little different! But still the same, since this seems to be working for me...

(The Myrtle pattern is $5; includes charted and written instructions for lace.)

4 comments:

mildawg said...

Love the recipe. It looks great!

abbenormal said...

Ya don't mess with success. It looks fab!

Trisha said...

nice comments are well deserved. your formula works, obviously... so, stick to it and give us more beautiful cardigans to flaunt! the green is divine.

meg said...

i love it and love wearing it!