Saturday, October 7, 2006

The Sweater of Bad Karma

Inspired by Nicky Epstein's pretty felted Fair Isle bag in VK Holiday 2006, I hauled out the partial remains of the Sweater of Bad Karma. (Again. The last time was in June.) Here's the back, a sleeve, the pattern book, color card, and remaining yarn. Notice the scary aura of un-woven-in ends.

Remains of the sweater of bad karma

Back in the mists of time, someone who shall remain nameless asked me to make Rupert and Nessie by Annabel Fox in the cover colorway for her firstborn. I note that said child is now in graduate school, the yarn is discontinued, and the pattern is in Rowan Children No. 1. Perhaps most telling of all, the magazine's price was GBP £2.95.

Rowan magazines weren't always overpriced

Two size changes and two backs, one front, and three sleeves later, the new mother decided she didn't really like the pattern after all. Much testiness ensued. There was considerable bad karma. The ur-sweater joined the great cloud of UFOs buzzing around Exit 151. Maybe I shoulda just frogged it, but I never did. As I recollect, the prospect of ending up with zillions of bits on bobbins was the main deterrent.

Time passed. I gained fresh perspective. The now-vintage yarn, Rowan Designer DK Wool, still is fabulous. I recalled how much I enjoyed knitting the pattern, which is just as appealing as ever, still cover-worthy. I have no use for the sweater, but I could use a felted tote, so back in June I tried felting the gauge swatch. Here's the right (and wrong) side before.

Rupert and Nessie gauge swatch, right side

And the right (and wrong) side after.

Felted Rupert and Nessie gauge swatch, right side

It's amazing how nicely expensive yarn felts, much more nicely than inexpensive yarn. (Huh.) The felted swatch is thick and dense and doesn't curl or ripple. All the loose ends and the carried yarn on the wrong side are visible as lines of color that are fused into the felt. And yet.... Handsome as it is, this was uncomfortably like murdering a sweater. I couldn't explain or escape the conviction that it's the sort of fate that no sweater, however bad its karma, deserves.

Inconsistent omnivore that I am, I look forward to the lamb BBQ at MDS&W; I have no patience with the dangfool NJ legislators who tried to ban runny eggs and now have D'Artagnan of Newark (Exit 142) in their sights. I like my felted tomatoes and rather like the felted Noro saddle blanket in Greetings from Knit Café. Seeing Nicky Epstein's tote made me realize that Fair Isle and f-f-f-felt can indeed occupy the same space-time continuum.

So I'm gonna use the back of the Sweater of Bad Karma for the front of the tote and knit up a bottom and side panels. But what to do for the back of the tote? Hm....


Meredith said...

So that's the sweater of bad karma! It'll make a way cool tote front.

dragon knitter said...

you could felt the sleeves, then cut them up *gasp*. sew the strips together with a sewing machine, then overstitch them with big yarn, or just big stitches. i'm kitschy that way