Have you ever started knitting something even if you suspected, deep down within your bones, that it was a doomed project? Sometimes the siren call of something unexpected and interesting is impossible to resist even if you know it
might will end badly. The Spiral Pullover designed a few years ago by Norah Gaughan is, I fear, such a project.
It looked so seductively fun to knit. You start with 8 stitches, knit a spiral, and the entire sweater then grows magically out of it. I know, I know — even just describing it I realize it sounds suspiciously like a Chia Pet or a package of Sea Monkeys. But I digress.
The original pattern called for a raw silk yarn called Mandalay. But I don’t like knitting with raw silk so I substituted. I used Jaeger’s Extra Fine Merino Aran in a lovely, rich colour called Wineberry. It’s a beautiful yarn and I love how it knits up (poor little skeins — to wait your whole life to be knitted up into a *whispers quietly* mistake).
One of the first questions that needs to be answered as I dissect the “progress” of this project is: What was I thinking in knitting a size large? I may complain that I’m no longer the cute little thing I was in college, but I’m not a size large. The size large is 46″ around and 28+ inches long. I’ve got a 34″ bust and I’m not even 5’5″. There was a better size: the S/M. But I bypassed that with its ample seven inches of ease and 24″ length. Why? I don’t know. It’s a mystery for the ages.
I knitted for a little while — made the spiral. It’s hard to describe, really, how you construct this sweater. The knitting changes direction through increases and decreases and it’s just one of those things that could work beautifully. Or not.
I googled, looking to see and be inspired by other knitters’ success stories.
I found one lonely blog entry about it — someone who had started it. I emailed her to find out how it had all turned out. I could practically hear the ringing of evil laughter — mwha ha ha ha ha ha — through my cable modem. Her response included such phrases as “godawful mess,” “twisted heap,” and “unwearable.” My reaction to that was: [audio:what.mp3]
So I plowed on. And then, as is my wont when I get bored or distracted by some new pretty, I threw it in a corner of my yarn room. I resurrected it (and I use the term loosely) the other day. I had only about 30 rows to finish the entire body of the sweater. So I figured out where I was (it’s a pattern that gives instructions for each row; I had quite carefully made sure I never marked where I was) and then finished it so I could bring it to Minnesota tomorrow and give Susan a good laugh.
Here are some photos. First, the entire thing (except for the sleeves). The spiral will be in the right hand corner of the front and extend to the back.
Here is a close up of how the direction of the knitting changes so that you are able to shape the front neck and shoulders (no such luck on the back — the front is the easy shaping side).
Finally, to give you an idea of just how big this sweater is going to be on me if I ever do finish it, I’ve put it next to the U.S. Capitol building.
Yeah — a tad oversized.