At the start of the new year, I realized that it had been 10 (ten!) years since I had last knitted a full-body garment for myself. Sure, I had made approximately eighty million hats and pairs of socks, but nothing to cover the top half of me since we moved from Boulder.
I’ll be honest, part of this is because I am not such a huge fan of the top half of my body. I am a big girl with short legs and broad shoulders, not exactly the ideal for the body-hugging fabric that knitting produces. Knitting smaller things for myself was always more acceptable because I didn’t have to take a bust or waist measurement to make them.
At the start of 2020, before the madness began, I said to myself, screw that. It’s the last semester of school, you’re coasting right to the finish line. You need a simple stress reliever project that you can feel good about! You scored a decent amount of this lovely worsted yarn during a clearance sale that is begging to become something lovely. You’ve got this!
Well, I was right about the yarn, and wrong about pretty much everything else.
My last semester of DNP school turned out to be anything but a coast to the finish line. I got a whole new faculty chair, who had a whole lot of things to say about my project that forced me to do a crazy amount of work in a short amount of time. The pandemic shut down school, shut down clinicals, and shut down our DNP project defense presentations. Instead, we did everything online, and I tried to boil down years of crazy hard work into a 25 minute slideshow where I talked way too fast but miraculously passed.
I didn’t get to finish clinicals or get a graduation. I got an award, but my family didn’t get to see me receive it. I rarely get to work at all, because my PRN status means that I get cancelled a lot to save money for the hospital. I gained even more weight because of…well because of everything. I tried to stay calm and bake and try to cook new things and knit, but inside I’m a simmering pot of anxiety. Never have I ever felt that I have less to be proud of, even though my brain knows better.
However, through it all, I made this sweater.
This sweater kept me looking forward.
This sweater gave me concrete goals.
This sweater made me really care about matching up the gradient on the sleeves, and then matching it to the front panels, which is no small feat, I must say.
This sweater made me happy when nothing else could, and I am thankful that the person I was in January gave me the gift of being able to finish it now.
Now, enough mushiness, let’s hear about the knitting!
The yarn is Cascade Tangier in the sadly discontinued colorway Lakeside. It’s a very strange blend of silk, acrylic, rayon, and cotton that resembles a slubby wool blend like Noro Kureyon, but with better stitch definition and a smoother drape. Some of the rayon sheds while you’re working with it and mine inexplicably had some random tiny bits of gold sparkly stuff in it, but otherwise it was very nice to work with.
I have owned this book for so long and never knit anything out of it. Not sure why, as it is the perfect book for analyzing the fundamentals of knitted objects and how to make them work best for your body. Every pattern is labelled with the body feature that it is best suited for, plus there are a ton of helpful notes on how to modify things to your specific tastes.
The Stacy Pullover is specifically designed for people with a lot of boobs and butt to spare, so there was very little I needed to do to make it work for me. The only modification that I made was giving the ribbing an extra two inches, as I can’t stand it when sweaters are too short.
I didn’t even try to match striping on the front and back, because nobody has that kind of time and gradient yarns always manage to have knots in inopportune areas. However, I knit both of the sleeves at the same time, and made sure to make those match each other and line up with the armscye from the front, just to keep it from looking like too much of a circus.
I’m in love with the detached keyhole neck detail as well. That, combined with the fact that the transition from honeycomb to ribbing makes it look like a tailored waist, man that’s some good stuff.
As soon as the world calms down and the weather drops below 80 degrees everyday, this sweater will be joining me frequently, reminding me that I have something to be proud of despite all of the insanity. I have a doctorate. And I have a sweater. It’s all going to be okay.