Have you ever started a project that absolutely should have worked, and then didn't? It just happened to me with the lacy Elizabeth Zimmermann baby sweater I'd started for Abigail, from the February chapter of Knitter's Almanac.
It wasn't the fault of the pattern. The pattern is delicious, classic Elizabeth. It starts out odd, turns strange and grows positively bizarre before what's coming off the needles finally reveals itself to be cleverly constructed and beguiling.
Neither was it the fault of the yarn: Jo Sharp DK left over from my Seneca Sweater and left over again from Abigail's Dragonfly Kimono. Susan loved the fabric in the latter, so I felt another little bijou in the same yarn would be a surefire hit. It's soft, lightweight, and firmly spun–it ought to show off simple lace to perfection.
In theory, perfect. In practice, more like a blind date where the two parties seem like a perfect match because they both love opera; but then one of them turns out to be a die-hard Wagnerian and the other one has a thing for Rossini and even before the salads arrive the waitstaff have to wrestle the butter knives away from them.*
So I frogged it just after I finished half an arm, rewound the yarn and let it sit. And then one morning, I woke up with an unaccountable urge to knit a sweater with cut steeks. Aside from a brief lesson on a swatch at Knitting Camp two years ago, I haven't climbed that hill.
By the time I got out of bed I'd decided that if Abigail could talk, she'd ask politely for a traditional Norwegian pullover, and by happy chance traditional Norwegian pullovers have steeked armholes. How could I say no?
So I picked up some coordinating yarn (Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light) at Arcadia Knitting and set off, with Elizabeth and Meg Swansen (via the Knitting Around book and video) as my sherpas.
It was extremely pleasant to zoom around the lower body, using both colors to create the tradition "lus" (lice) dotted pattern,
meanwhile daydreaming about what to put on the chest and shoulders. I've finished it now, and for a first attempt I think it will suit. The fabric is very slightly puckery, but I took care to strand the floats loosely across the back of the work and expect that a good wet blocking will smooth everything out.
Next, the sleeves. And then...the cutting. Yeehaw, baby.
This is why I knit, dudes. Adrenaline. Pure adrenaline.
*Based on a true story.