Well, that sucked. But what I have to show for it is four new designs, which are for adventurous knitters who want to learn to make their own garments with perfect fit.
My fall on the ice left me not only with a concussion, but with post-concussion syndrome, which made me goofy and had me walking as if I were drunk, kept me from going anywhere farther than the supermarket a few blocks away, annoyed Chewbacca, and kept me from knitting decently. But I could sketch and think, and did.
I’m over the injury now, and after this long gap, can offer you a very fine Breton Fisherman’s Shirt (with notes on the related Rugged Rugby, the second of the new designs constructed with a few differences from the Breton Shirt, but with white placket-and-collar and cuffs, and a turned hem.)
These two patterns are combined to help you understand some of the techniques of the classic old work gansey shirts and sweaters, and their constructions, without tackling simultaneously any patterning more complicated than cheerful stripes. They are becoming, and comfortable, and I love mine. Made a little large, they should be wearable in all four seasons. Both shown here on Millie, a new addition to the household; she has my measurements but not quite my proportions, which is why front hemlines tend to rise on her.
These are descriptive patterns, with worksheets for fitting and good charts for techniques; they are not stitch by stitch. It is not difficult, and, once you’ve done one of these, to figure out that there is an infinite amount of variation beyond their simplicity. Amazon seems, as I write this, to have a deal on two of the best books: Beth Brown-Reinsel’s Knitting Ganseys, and Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’s and Deb Robson’s Knitting in the Old Way, both indispensible.
Winter was endless here, but it’s ending now, and the garden is coming alive with daffodils and tulips, grape hyacinths, and emerging stalks of peonies, irises, and lilies, with a new apple tree planted and apparently thriving (for you orchardists, it’s a Brown Snout, from Raintree, in Washington State). I’m tired of my winter clothes, and longing for flip-flop days, planting days, and summer projects. I imagine many of you are feeling the same way.
My Breton shirt and my Rugged Rugby though, are off to TNNA with Cascade Yarns, along with the third garment in this series, Silver Streak, which presents a wonderful technique using cabled hems, cuffs, and collar.
Again, this is a pattern that requires you to measure carefully, and work to the wearer’s measurements, if you want those closely fitted sleeves, high armholes, and ladylike collar. The look, however, has an elegance that very few sweaters have, and it is worth it, especially in this delicious alpaca/wool/silk yarn. If you haven’t done cabling, you’ll be a practiced hand by the time you finish this, and it’s a great introduction to cabling as well as an interesting alternative for hems and cuffs.
Fourth, because a friend so admired Silver Streak, is a gentleman’s sweater, Steamboater, which uses the same up-from-cable technique, and turned out to be a roomy, comfortable winter sweater with a cozy collar. It is comically huge on Millie, but by the time I finished it was too warm out to wangle my friend into posing. It is a beautiful fit, for a very active person. It does not seem to have suffered from The Boyfriend Sweater curse, and was gratefully received by someone who is still speaking to me.
I was unable to find a way to combine Silver Streak and Steamboater as I have done with Breton and Rugby, but if you are buying either one simply let me know with your order and I will send you the second pattern for free.