For a week or two the weather here warmed up, so I put aside the thick, wooly Killybegs cardigan to concentrate on Laresca, a breezy summer pullover knit in a linen blend yarn.
And I must say that I am having second thoughts. First, although the Rowan Panama yarn comes in many lovely colours, when I went to the yarn shop (fully intending to buy red) I bought the yarn in a completely neutral beige colour. In the shop, in the normal very unhelpful lighting that shops tend to have, this neutral shade looked like bone or oyster and had a bit of luminescence to it. I thought that a light summer top in this colour would go with everything – I could wear it with navy, or brown, or black, or red, or with wild prints. Now that I have been knitting with it, the colour is looking more muddied to me – more like the colour of a pair of chinos; very ordinary beige. This might have been helped along by my friend Inge, visiting me last weekend, very politely asking “And why, exactly, did you pick this colour?”
Unfortunately, my second thoughts are extending past the colour choice. I am accustomed to making sweaters that are fitted. This is a very unfitted, loose sweater. Here again, is the photo from the pattern webpage:
I don’t normally knit unstructured garments like this. Furthermore, I don’t normally wear unfitted garments like this. I continue to like the way it looks on the model, but am questioning what made me choose this style for myself. This could turn out to be a real mistake. I have tried it on now, twice, and both times thought it looked way too big and very unflattering. But, having measured and remeasured, I do not think that I am off gauge. Thus, the sweater should fit as intended once done. Plus, instead of the recommended 1 inch of positive ease, I am knitting it with 3 inches of negative ease. Surely this will mean that the sweater will not swim on me. I am trying to believe that the drape of it will not be apparent until I have knit the whole thing.
There was yet another thing that gave me second thoughts with this project. When I was in Phoenix over Easter, I discovered that my mother lived only a few blocks from a wonderful knitting store, Knit Happens. This is a really great shop, with tons of space and lots of room for knitting and a great selection of wool and books and accessories. I went a little crazy and bought a lot of stuff there. (I was there at Easter and they had a promotion – after you rang up your purchases at the till, you could choose an Easter egg from a basket; inside the egg was a discount that would apply to your purchase. I won 25% off! Good thing I had added that lovely silk laceweight for Emma to my basket.) One of the things that I bought was a long-coveted knitting needle – the Lantern Moon Destiny circular knitting needle; in fact, I bought two of them in a US5 and US6. I bought the ebony model.
I wanted to show you a photo of them, but no photo shows how beautiful they are. These are made from ebony wood, and are perfection indeed. They have a swivel at the base, where the needle tip meets the coil, that allows them to swivel as you knit. This keeps the needle from curling up on you and doing other nasty twisty things while you knit. They feel so great in the hand, and the wood is hard and smooth and polished and pretty. And since they cost $28 for a single pair (let me repeat that, $28 for a knitting needle) they most definitely fall under the category of luxury item.
Could you tell, dear reader, that there was a “but” coming? Here it is…But, knitting this project with my beautiful, expensive needles was a nightmare! The swivel at the base of the needle tip prevented the stitches on the left-hand needle from advancing up onto the needle tip. I had to wrestle and struggle with every stitch to move it past the join. I wanted so badly for this needle to be as marvelous to use as it is to look at, that I struggled on unnecessarily for the first two inches of fabric. After that, I switched to my HiyaHiya steel interchangeable needles (I bought mine from Loop, in London) and the knitting went three times as fast and saved me from pulling my hair out.
So where does that leave Laresca? I keep telling myself that I should just keep knitting the pattern as written, and wait and see. I am sort of hoping for a magic transformation once I put it on, from boring, beige, unfitted, unstructured, stretchy, shapeless blob to some sort of chic, summery, drapey linen goodness. Wishful thinking maybe? I’ll keep you posted.