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.