Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Personal Knitting Milestone

Ladies and gentlemen, I beg to put before you the completed Rhinebeck Sweater.

Seneca Sweater, Complete

The final cuff stitches were worked last night, rather late, and it is further confirmation of C's status as a gold-standard boyfriend that in spite of crushing fatigue he roused himself to say, "Congratulations on finishing your sweater, sweetie."

About 80% of it was made on the Chicago elevated train, including the final end-weaving which took place this morning. I was literally making the final stitch when the lady sitting next to me asked, "Did you make that yourself? Or are you just mending it?"

I told her I had made it, and she told me she is also a knitter and new to Chicago. She made much of the sweater and will, I hope, be able to find the blog so she can read my public thanks for her praise. It was poetic of the Knitting Gods to allow me to finish this project in the presence of another knitter, especially in a most unlikely setting.

Now that it's done, I'm renaming it "Seneca," as the distinguishing feature is the Latin tag that runs all the way around the chest, back, and shoulders.

It reads, starting at the cross just above the right pec:

NULLUM MAGNUM INGENIUM SINE MIXTURA DEMENTIA FUIT SENECA

This translates colloquially as:

There has never been a great talent without an element of madness. - Seneca

If you're just tuning in, the basis for this sweater is Elizabeth Zimmermann's seamless percentage system as put forth in Knitting Without Tears. The yarn is Jo Sharp DK Wool that I picked up from WEBS at Stitches Midwest for a ridiculously low price. I bought a bag of 10 balls and used a bit less than nine of the main color, and about 1/2 ball of the second color.

There are quite a few surprises for me in the finished product, but these are my favorites. Smack in the center of the chest, as though I had planned it, is the word MAGNUM:



In the context of the tag, this is the adjective "large" or "great." In Latin, however, the "magnum" on its own can also be a noun meaning literally, "big thing."

And what word is centered on the back?



I need not translate, I'm sure.

I dealt with the flippy/flaring hem issue by picking up stitches around the bottom and knitting downwards, decreasing 20% and using what I suppose you could call and haphazard various on moss stitch. I didn't work in strict knit/purl alternation, but went at it randomly. I didn't want a recognizable pattern, I just wanted something that wouldn't curl up.

I had never seen a sweater before that had a single sentence running around it, and now I understand why. It was a headache to chart (it took me six hours), a bitch to work, and in a commercial pattern would be a nightmare to translate for different sizes. It is, in effect, a 248-stitch single-repeat pattern with no rhythm to it at all.

So there you have it, my first sweater.

It's not exactly what I envisioned. It gave me far more trouble than I expected and in ways I never anticipated. On more than one occasion I wanted to chuck the whole damned thing out the window. But it's mine, I made it, and the end result is eccentric but serviceable. I love it in spite of its many flaws.

Which is probably sort of how my parents feel about me.

83 comments:

Marlene said...

Thunderous applause and a standing ovation for your first sweater.

Not only a first sweater, but self-designed too. Bravo!

Rachel said...

Brilliant, Franklin! Just absolutely brilliant. Looking very much forward to seeing it in person on Saturday.

Windy Lampson said...

Congratulations on your first sweater!!! My dad knits a lot and I've been wanting him to teach me. I, myself am a painter at this time- check out my blog if you are so inclined.

Joe said...

Isn't the fawning praise nice sometimes?

It almost makes up for all the parental and sibling berating of a person's youth...but now I reveal too much about myself.

Congratulations on bringing it all to fruition...only another knitter can truly appreciate the broad range of skills that went into it.

June said...

Gadzooks! Magnum dementia, batman!

Great job on the sweater - doesn't it feel great to wear it?

Mama Lu said...

Franklin, it's wonderful. How appropriate that your first sweater should be both clever and funny--just like your blog.

sep said...

i'm beaming with pride, pride I tell you! you are magnificient, your sweater is magnificient, and the only thing i lack today is a picture of you wearing it!

MX said...

WOW! You should be very proud, Franklin.

ps - your parents probably love you a tad more than you do the sweater!;-)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. The sweater is lovely and the latin fantastic. Enjoy wearing it.Judith

Jon said...

That is absolutely glorious! Congrats!

How about a picture of you modeling it?

john said...

I'm speechless. I think I hear angels singing......

beadslut said...

That is glorious and I am sorry I won't be at Rhinebeck to see it (and everyone else) in person.

I especially love your color choices, and the serendipity of the word positioning.

Have a glorious time, and report back for those of us who must live it vacariously.

jen said...

AWESOME!!! Nice job, Franklin! Very inspiring. I heartily approve of more Latin in the world. Have a great time at Rhinebeck!

Sister Sue said...

Optime!

Sneaksleep said...

I second Margene's applause and standing ovation! My first (and only, so far) adult sweater was nothing near as daring and complex as yours. I'm truly in awe!

goblinbox said...

I am so proud of you!

Renee said...

Impressive! How talented you are. I too wish to see you modelling the precious.

Lee Ann said...

You rock, my dear, in any language.

Anonymous said...

One word - WOW!

Chanelbaby said...

I love the sweater! And I so enjoy reading your blog. You are as gifted a writer as you are a knitter! (Now don't go using that to say to yourself "I must not be a good writer then..." I insist. You are stellar).

And I love the analogy at the end. Just a perfect entry, all told. Congratulations!!!!

Kat said...

Impressive. I gave up charting a Boston Red Sox "B", can't imagine doing a whole sentence.

Alyssa said...

Bravo! It is beautiful -- way to go!

Nik said...

charting. *sigh*
I had to chart a flower for an afghan that I am designing, and it took me a while to get the thing right. I feel your pain.

Marilyn said...

Holy shit!

I'm shocked and awed. Truly. For a first sweater, to chart that band is so impressive, I'm at a loss for words.

I have taught many people to knit. I have never seen anyone attempt this kind of project for a first effort. Ever. Just astonishing.

Certe, Toto, sentio nos in Kansate non iam adesse.

Cheryl said...

INCREDIBLE my friend, absolutely INCREDIBLE!! And I adore the angels!!!

Ruth said...

Joining Marlene in her standing ovation ... what an incredible feat! First sweater, first design, complicated chart to figure out .... excellent.

Anonymous said...

yay for you!

Selma & Kathy said...

We are kvelling. Well, I'm kvelling. Kathy is doing whatever proud Catholic girls do. We are together, can't wait to see you and your wonderful, demented garment.

Sara said...

Valde Sudo!

JessRedRose said...

Delurking to say - how amazing and original. I LOVE it. So now I'm thinking - what lovely phrase would *I* knit into a sweater?

Heather said...

I just started reading your blog and I must say that's an impressive sweater. It's your first one? Surely you jest.

Nice work.

Anonymous said...

I had to come out of lurking because your sweater is soooo impressive! Bravo!

I really enjoy reading your blog! There are many evenings when my husband looks at me and wonders why I am laughing! Thanks!

Sara

Juno said...

What could be better than eccentric and serviceable?

Bravo.

MarQ1 said...

Very, very good. And you'll model it?

ruth666 said...

More proof that E-Zim is god - the perfection of the phrasing is her ghost in action to support you!

My first sweater like this was trying too, but SO worth it. I congratulate you on never giving up, and wish you many happy chilly nights with your new friend!

Wanda said...

Victorious! You have created an awesome sweater and I love the charting you have done with it as well. The sweater is truly unique and one of a kind. Great job! Enjoy Rhinebeck!!

Margie said...

I love it. I particularly love how the letters are not the same each time.

I bow down to your first sweater home-run.

Linda said...

Oh Franklin, that is so eccentric, gorgeous, and totally covetable. I really like clothes that make me laugh. You should be bursting your buttons with pride!

Sean said...

OH, how wonderful! Congratulations. You chose not to go the easiest way, by knitting someone else's pattern, but putting your own stamp, literally on it.

I wanted to write something in Latin, but my brain just can’t function in Latin tonight! LOL But I’m glad the language hasn’t died...I’m glad someone else likes Latin.

But on to the sweater. What a magnificent achievement. I hope you allow yourself some pride in your craft!

dragon knitter said...

that is AMAZING! i've never seen anything like it! encore, encore! wish i was going to rheinbeck so i could see it in person. the blue is gorgeous! and i love the quote. too true.

Rachel H said...

Excellent sweater! Fantastic job, and I love the Latin phrase you worked into it. Really spectacular.

I just finished my first sweater a couple of weeks ago, but it's a child's size 4 simple raglan, not a Magnum opus. (and at any rate, the child in question won't wear it without being bribed with Twizzlers...)

Congatulations.

Melissa said...

Franklin!! Way to go! Done before Rhinebeck and EVERYTHING!! Love it! Congratulations!! Ok, no more exclamation points. Promise.

Buzz said...

way to go pookster!!!!

have a wonderful time at the sheep show, your audience awaith.

xoxoxoxoxo

Calvin said...

I will add my two cents. Your sweater turned out simply fantastic!! I remember you telling me one time on my blog that Fair Isle seemed beyond (I believe that was the word you used)you. Not only did you do it, but used Latin and incorparted it in a sweater. I'm very proud of you. Have a great time at Rhinebeck.

Anonymous said...

"Madness is a pleasure sure, which none but madmen know" - Dryden.
Knitters should be unutterably proud of the madness that drives them to complete what often seems the unimaginable. Congratulations Franklin...you mad thing you.

Anne said...

Well done. What a great first sweater!

Anonymous said...

Another voice in the chorus of bravos... The sweater, the execution, and the Latin are all just wonderful. Congratulations on a great accomplishment.

Leslie said...

yeah, what they all (supra) said. As usual you are pluperfect.

Jenni said...

Brilliant sweater and I love the latin. Can't wait to read it at Rhinebeck.

Judy Foldi said...

I love it and I certainly hope it fits and you are comfortable wearing it. In 50 years of knitting I've done many sweaters for others and they fit beautifully, but I've never been able to do one for myself that I feel comfortable in. Congratulations! I love the placement of MAGNUM and DEMENTIA. Picture of you wearing it, please?

Lanea said...

Wooooooooooot! I love your sweater, and I am so incredibly happy to see that someone else loves that Seneca quote. Great word placement and lovely color and wow wow wow. And good on the fellah for knowing it matters to you. You rock, and it sounds like your squeeze rocks too. Have a blast at Rhinebeck.

TitaniumRose said...

Truly, truly amazing. You are an inspiration to the sweater-phobic everywhere. =)

mattie said...

I thought a Magnum was a size of liquor bottle, champagne or wine usually. :)

http://www.answers.com/magnum&r=67

:)

Congrats on your sweater. My only question, why not duplicate stitch? That chart must have been a bitch!
xx

David said...

Congrats. I don't knit, probably never will and understood about 1/3 of what your were talking about at any given moment. Still, the adventure was fun to follow. And, oooh, cartoons, pretty.

Paige said...

I recently discovered you through a link on the Yarn Harlot. I'm a new knitter and can't imagine picking up such an ambitious first sweater. I'm very impressed by all your talents. Congratulations!

marcy said...

Marvelous!

Melissa said...

Great first sweater, and blog!! I can't believe you knit most of that on the El!

birdfarm said...

Mirabile visu! Ne plus ultra!

Sylvia has got to see this!

O most hilarious and wonderful! When you posted about charting it I imagined some elaborate Celtic spiral or something. Typical that it is so fabulously and utterly unique. I never would have dreamed of this!!

Only one problem... now you can't claim "me ineptum" anymore. ;-) but perhaps "me dementium" is good enough.

You are perfect!

much love on this happy occasion...

Eldronius said...

How can I not comment on a moment such as this?

The sweater turned out awesome. I was planning to knit my first sweater as my next big project, and now I am inspired.

Good job! I hope you get to wear it at Rhinebeck, and that you are the queen of the ball (no pun intended there.)

sahara said...

FRANKLIN DARLING, I AM UNDONE!

I wasn't expecting the writing; that's not just a sweater, THAT'S ART!

You GO, boy!

Anonymous said...

Hi Franklin!

Just dropping in for the first time...CONGRATULATIONS on your first sweater. The style, color and complexity of the sentence running around the sweater is to be highly commended and in latin...WOW!!

Wear it well!!

Happy Knitting!

Debbie

S.Kate said...

Beautifully done! Bookmarked your site from fuzzylogicknits link to your "Man vs. Sweater" post. Charming cartoons, talent and delicious wit nonpareil - Bravo, Franklin!

Deanna said...

What an accomplishment! I also enjoyed your article in the menknit.net magazine.

Tropical Screamer said...

Bravo.

Joanne said...

cool, cool, COOL, cool, cool!!!!!!!!!

lexa said...

Very nice sweater - well done!

Siri said...

Very clever! What an original and incredible first knit! I've been thinking about trying to include some letters/word in some future knitting...now I'm inspired.

Anonymous said...

Are we going to get to see you model it?

birdfarm said...

Folks who want to see Franklin modeling the sweater should check out the great photos Queer Joe posted on his blog, especially here and here.

As Queer Joe himself notes, it looks even better on Franklin than it does in the blocking mug shot posted here.

Anonymous said...

Thank you admin
Film İzle
Dantel Dünyası
El Becerileri
Dantel

Distance Learning said...

Wonderful. Thank you.

Beden Dili
Kitap Özetleri
Açıköğretim Fakültesi

İngilizce Kelime

ircscorpion said...

lida kullanmanız için size lida sipariş hattımızı öneririm bu lida sipariş hattında gerçek lida bulabilirsiniz vefilm izleyebilirsiniz

viagra online said...

Cool article, I specially like the one with dementia on the top, perhaps because I am a little crazy..lol.

katty said...

knitting is really wonderful, i love to spend my time snitting gloves, dress, or wherever i can do. I really love it because i feel relax when i am doing this activity.That is why i liked this blog very much. I think i reached what i was looking for.
__________________________________________
related with your sexual life,buy viagra and you´ll find what you are looking for too.I suggest you.

kimberly said...

I consider this blog very interesting, most of all because i would like to lean kniting, i think is a good activity that i can practice in my free time. In fact now i will have a lot of free time for me, because i will get a house throw costa rica homes for sale and i really liked the style that i chose.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! (Mia Self)

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog, I love it. I too am finishing my first cardigan. A nightmare of afree pattern. It was trouble from the start. It has become a very retro vest. You did an awesome job of saving your pattern. There is always something to be said for "winging it" to rescue the art. You have to be good and fearless.

Cheap NIKE NFL Jerseys said...

Isn't the fawning praise nice sometimes?

It almost makes up for all the parental and sibling berating of a person's youth...but now I reveal too much about myself.

Congratulations on bringing it all to fruition...only another knitter can truly appreciate the broad range of skills that went into it.

Anonymous said...

masa modelleri
mobilya
thank you admin nice posts

Kumpulan Info Menarik Lengkap said...

nice to see your article bro, keep posting, i'll always support you
Tips Meninggalkan Kebiasaan Merokok | Kenapa Harus Berhenti Merokok | Rasa Sakit yang Tidak Boleh Abaikan | Cara Mengatasi dan Meredakan Sakit Kepala | Makanan yang Membuat Merasakan Sakit Kepala | Cara Redakan Sakit Tenggorokan | Cara Bakar Kalori Anda Agar Langsing | Akibat Orang yang Suka Marah-Marah | Cara Meningkatkan Kecerdasan dan Kepintaran Anak | Kenapa Tidak Berhasil Menurunkan Berat Badan | Nutrisi yang Penting untuk Menurunkan Berat Badan | Cara Memperpanjang Usia | Makanan dan Cara Menambahkan Berat Badan | Cara Tidak Merasakan Lapar saat Diet | Hal yang Perlu Sebelum Diet | Minuman Sehat Untuk Memaksimalkan Diet | Cara Menurunkan Berat Badan dari Berbagai Negara | Cara Tetap Langsing Saat Kerja di Kantor | Cara Diet Ibu yang Sedang Menyusui

Angela Dixon said...

Nice post! Can’t wait for the next one. Keep stuff like this coming.

Asus - 17.3" Laptop - 4GB Memory - 500GB Hard Drive - Black

Asus - Vivobook 14" Touch-Screen Laptop - 4GB Memory - 500GB Hard Drive - Black

Alat bantu sex said...

thank you friends on this exciting content, here I can not give nothing but gratitude that no value.
Here I want to share some info about a special toy.
alat bantu sex pria dan wanita merupakan sebuah benda yang di ciptakan khusus untuk membantu peningkatkan rangsangan sex, sehinga si pengguna alat sex dapat lebih meningkat gairah seksual nya.
Di sisi lainan alat bantu seks di gunakan untuk di jadikan sebuah alat pelampiasan hasrat seksual.
Salah satu contoh alat bantu wanita yang dapat di jadikan mainan sex ialah penis silikon, alat bantu seksual wanita ini terbuat dari bahan karet silikon reamore alat bantu sex wanita.
Dan satu nya lagi alat bantu pria, contoh alat bantu sex pria seperti vagina silikon, alat bantu seksual pria ini juga tercipta dari bahan karet info selengkap alat bantu sex pria.

andalangue said...

Blog Andalangue adalah blog remaja yang mengulas tentang kata kata , music, jasa, dll seperti : download musik mp3 gratis , kata kata cinta , cetak buku yasin murah jakarta , dugem house musik nonstop remix yang diupdate untuk pembaca setia blog andalan gue.