Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what. (from goodreads)
i do now and always have absolutely loved fairy tales. it seems so innate and natural to me that there is more to this world than we can manage to perceive. whether you call it magic or science, i don’t really mind, but i lean a little more towards magic. one of the things neil gaiman does so well is exploring things at the edge of our understanding, and just dipping into the other side. this book is just a perfect example of that.
it is a daydream of mine to imagine hayao miyazaki making this into a movie (even though he’s technically retired… but he’s retired before and come back to makes movies, right???). it has several hallmark features of his movies: a sassy and powerful grandma, a sensible and resourceful girl, an eerie and unsettling villain, and scads and scads of adventure. anybody got an in with hayao miyazaki? wanna pitch him my daydream?
(EDIT: oh my gosh! whilst searching for an image of the book cover after writing this post, i found out that focus features bought the rights to this story, and joe wright is going to direct it!!! ahhhhh! excuse me while i run around fangirling and squealing! it’s still technically in developement… hopefully it doesn’t get backburnered and forgotten about.)
i have already documented this sweater fairly extensively, so if you feel like reading the whole history: swatching & casting on, getting part way through the body only to tear back to the yoke, finishing the body and finalizing color choices, steeking, grafting on the button band & finding the right buttons.
pattern: classic raglan pullover by barbara walker
needles: size 8 (5.0mm)
yarn: patons north america wool worsted in oatmeal (natural mix is technically what it’s called. it looks oatmeal to me)
cascade ecological wool in a medium grey (leftover from these slippers)
brown sheep lambs pride worsted in tahiti teal (leftover from this hat)
berroco ultra alpaca fine in turquoise mix, held double (leftover from this sweater)
some random navy worsted wool
and a little bit of lion brand wool-ease in apple green
i cast on for this in january, using the standard pattern for knitting a raglan from the top down, from barbara walker’s book knitting from the top, though it was obviously heavily modified. that is the joy of a pattern like this, though! it’s quite easy to apply any modification you can imagine. i knit it as a deep v-neck pullover first, and then steeked it into a cardigan. i knit the button band separately and grafted it on, placed the buttons and then made afterthought buttonholes. there’s a column of 2 purls running down the inside of each sleeve and the sides of the torso to mimic seams (which i stole from julie’s red sweater) and to give it the tiniest bit more shape and structure.
there was a lot of ‘winging it’ involved in knitting this. i didn’t have the strictest plans for my colorwork patterning, or color sequencing, but i went in expecting i was going to have to tweak it and pull back and replace things in post with a tapestry needle (basically duplicate stitching while pulling out the original color. a little on the time consuming side, but somehow more acceptable to my brain than pulling back and re-knitting). and i did all of those things. i pulled out knitting, replaced about four different parts, re-calculated the entire sweater, you name it, i probably did it.
i started this sweater in the hopes of using up some of my stash, namely the oatmeal base, and a lot of most-of-the-skein leftovers from other projects. slightly on the annoying side, i didn’t actually finish ANY of these skeins. i still have most of an oatmeal skein leftover (which i may still use up, see below), and a not teensy amount of most of these skeins. ah, well. at least i have a beautiful sweater to show for my efforts!
so, while i am definitely calling this done, and wearing it around and such, there are a few small things that i may change in the future. i have not quite mastered how to make button bands that i approve of in cardigans. they are already warping slightly, and this makes the sweater look quite ‘handmade’, but not in a way that i like. so i’ve bought some ribbon to back the bands, give them more structure. is there any other method you guys suggest?
i also had a deeper shawl collar in mind for this sweater, so i might knit some extra depth for the top portion of it and graft it on later… thus hopefully using up the leftover yarn.
this cardigan turned out so well, i’m incredibly pleased! it’s thick and squishy, it could practically be a coat in spring and fall, and another super cozy layer in winter.
see those misty looking lumps of land out on the horizon? those are the aran islands. we didn’t get there this trip as we had time for one excursion from galway and we chose the cliffs of moher, which i don’t regret in the least. but i’m definitely hoping to make it to the aran islands one day! and i couldn’t resist getting FO pictures of my sweater with such a icon of knitting history in the background!
on a side note, i found out on this trip that the history of the aran sweater is a created history, like the scottish tartans. i’m of two minds about this, where the accuracy loving historian part of me is frustrated by this ‘created culture’ and the ‘don’t let the facts stand in the way of a good story’ part of me thinks it’s actually quite interesting. what are your thoughts on created culturalisms?
went to the dublin flea market
guiness factory. (obvo)
went out late at night for curry chips, and on the way saw the bank of ireland. by late i mean like 8:30. but we were jet lagged, so it felt laaaaaaaaaaate.
enjoyed the view from costa coffee while falling in love with their lattes.
breathed in the salty fresh air in galway.
took a day trip to the cliffs of moher.
went to cork.
bought some yarn!
visited blarney castle.
and enjoyed tea and scones!
more info to come. this trip was amazing, we ate so much really insanely good food, our hotels and b&b’s were lovely, i took some pics of a yarn shop, so hopefully, as i’m sorting through photos, i’ll be sharing all of that with you!
did i not promise you a cute child? look at those cheeks! can you stand it? i finished the hat quite early in january, but i wanted to wait to post it as an FO until i had pics of this handsome chap wearing his new chapeau.
FO: pom pom kid <– ravelry project page
pattern: none. my own. this was the inspiration. i’m not 100% certain, but i think i cast on 80 stitches, and knit 2×2 ribbing for an inch or so, then single row stripes, decreasing by 8 every other row when i’d reached a good length.
yarn: berroco ultra alpaca for the blue, elitespun fingering in charcoal held double, and some worsted oatmeal yarn, maybe patons?
needles: size 4 for the ribbing, size 6 for the body of the hat.
i made the pom pom with the assistance of a pom pom making tool, because my natural abilities don’t extend to full fluffy pom poms without a little help.
as is inevitable when you’re dealing with a toddler, this happened: