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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Grand Sweater Resurrection Scheme

I have this great knitted sweater/jacket. LOVE it!
It's from LL Bean, circa 1985 or so. It's made of Shetland Wool.
It was a gift from a very special man who no longer walks this earth - but who had excellent fashion sense.
My first (less than enthusiastic) reaction when I opened it was:
"It's grey.".
I quickly figured out this jacket is comfortable, warm, and goes with pretty much everything.
With learning to knit in the past few years, I developed a grand scheme that I would someday be a good enough knitter to recreate it before it fuzzed apart.
I glibly mentioned this plan to a lovely woman at Kiwi Knitting who had generously complimented me on my sweater.
She then asked if I'd looked at my left elbow lately...
There was a hole.
Like a 2 x 2 inches hole!
And I was clueless - you'd think I'd have noticed the draft at my elbow..

The stellar Tracy at Purls of Tucson, in her role as "Knit Doctor" - identified that the sweater had been created in the Brioche Stitch, found a near-perfect grey wool to match, and patched my elbow quite nicely. She was NOT entirely thrilled with her patch (I was) and refused to charge me for her time but accepted a Starbucks Gift Card as a show of my appreciation for the resuscitation of my favorite sweater. (It seems Knit Doctors are largely fueled by coffee...).
With the obvious repair addressed, I began to realize my favorite sweater was showing it's age. (Not unlike myself, come to think of it...).
It's a teeny bit felted. And there are a few stitches on the cuff and elsewhere that no longer connect to each other. 
And there's these little piles of fluff I find collecting around my desk at work that bear a striking resemblance to the shade of grey in my favorite sweater...and they only seem to appear when the sweater has been to work with me a lot.

Being that the recreate-the-sweater-before-the-sweater-sheds-away scheme is becoming less of a some-day project and more of a kinda-soon project...
  • I took a class on the Brioche stitch with Janet Szabo. ("Oh - that's what that stitch is...")
  • I got a copy of "Knitting Brioche" by Nancy Marchant - quite a spiffy book. (I've already marked 6 wanna-do patterns in this book. Very tempting).
  • I figured out that my original sweater is not knitted in worsted weight...it might be 2 strands of fingering weight yarn.
  • I've e-mailed LL Bean to see if they might be able to hook me up with the pattern. (Hey - I had to ask. And a question like that will be cheap entertainment to the LL Bean help desk after all the too large/too small questions!)
Hmmm - I think I'm knit-stalling.
Ok - I'm a bit daunted (understatement) at all the counting I'll have to do to recreate the pattern. Woof.

So... the button.
Part of the plot in recreating the sweater was that I would just shift the old, charming, wooden button from the original sweater to the recreated sweater when the time came.
Not gonna happen.

Why? It would appear Gryphon (aka the "Gryphon-ator") applied his puppy-like chewing to the wooden button on my favorite grey sweater/jacket.

It's a good thing he's so frigging cute.


("baby" picture from July 2009)

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