Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hello, Old Friend

I made this sweater in 1999. That's 12 very long years ago. It's my own design and is called "Fleagle," and intended to pay tribute to a musician I will never forget: medieval balladeer John Fleagle. There is a lot of love and grief worked into every stitch. He was only 47 years old. Far too young to leave this world bereft of himself, and his musical magick.

The oak leaves and acorns represent a thing sacred to Druid Bards of Old: the live oak. (I do not know if John was a Druid, but musically? Well, he WAS a modern bard. Very much so.)

The XO cables pretty obviously represent love: he was much loved by anyone who ever heard him.

The Heart with Pendant Teardrop represents more love, and grief.

The central motif consists of intertwined cabled hearts: yet more love.

I had some equally weighty reason for choosing a basketweave stitch for the background, but hanged if I can remember that reason now.

A dear friend who passed away, also far too young, just a few months after I finished the sweater, remarked, after seeing this picture, that she didn't see how I could stand to wear it after all that work. What if something happened to it? Oughtn't I to put it in a shadowbox and preserve it forever?

She was only half joking. (And I still miss you, Pam. Yes, 11 years on, I still remember, and wish I could still write an e-mail and have you answer. And yes, I still sometimes play "Elf Bowling" in your memory..."Is that all the balls you've got, Santa?" And I still choke up thinking about the first time you ever sent me "Flaming Bag of Poo" for Halloween...)

Pam would be horrified at the current condition of that sweater. It has long been a favorite, you see. I've worn it more than any other sweater I have ever made. It went to Ireland and Scotland with me, and in order to make room in my suitcase for all the yarn I was bringing back from Scotland, I...GASP!!!!...packaged it up and mailed it home from Shetland. It took 6 weeks to land on my doorstep. Pam would have fainted at the mere thought.

But this sweater has been loved. It has served as a pillow, as a throw blanket, and as a winter coat. You see, it is SO oversized, I can, and HAVE, fit many layers beneath it.

At the beginning of last winter, I noticed some holes near the sleeve cuffs, and broken stitches in the I-cord trim at the neckline, so I washed and dried it, and stowed it in a plastic sweater bag until I could get around to repairing it.

Today, with outdoor temps in the upper 90s, I happened to find the partial ball of yarn I had left from the original project, down in the basement. Finally, repairs would be made, and thank God for air conditioning!

I picked out the frayed I-cord trim, caught up the stitches, and re-knitted. After 12 years of hard wear, the sweater is a little faded -- understatement of the year -- so the new trim doesn't match at all, colorwise. The yarn has mellowed to a smokey blue/gray color from the original vivid blue. So, now the trim is bright and colorful, in contrast to the mellow shade of the rest of the garment. Oh, well. At least the mending in the fabric near the sleeve cuffs doesn't show up quite so starkly, as I was able to do a simple weave repair from the inside.

I tried it on and thought it wasn't too bad a job, except...I was a lot larger when I knitted this thing. It's more oversized on me now than I like any garment to be. What to do?

Pam would call the men in the white coats to come and get me if she knew what I was doing with that sweater right now.

It's in the dryer. On medium heat, not air fluff or low. I WANT this thing to shrink! But being as it's good old Bartlett yarn from Maine, it probably won't shrink much at all. In fact, I have tried this tactic in the past, with minimal success, but those times I was afraid to take too much of a risk, and set the dryer on low heat. There will still be plenty of room for me to move in it, when all's said and done.

I'm happy I finally made those repairs. Too big or not, it will be nice to be able to wear this one again, come winter.

And winter WILL come again. On a day like today, I need to be reminded of that.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

OK, I Know...

This is juvenile of me. REALLY juvenile. But in a chat with a friend this afternoon, I forget how the subject came up, but I asked if he had ever heard "Ooh, Girl -- An Honest R & B Song." He had not!

It's a funny listen, but it's even funnier with the video.

Juvenile, juvenile, juvenile...but so well done, I can't help but laugh my arse off every time I see it.