Posted on January 29, 2005 at 2:05 pm
As of 1:55 p.m. Saturday, this is what I have to show for three day’s solid work on the Page 136 Sweater. Thrilling, eh? The first 20 rows were torture on size 0’s, and I had to re-knit the pink border because I switched to size 1’s at the hem turn, so in a hurry to get to a bigger needle was I. I know that this is the kind of mistake you cannot recover from, because I have an earlier sweater with a flippy hem that I cannot steam into submission, and consequently I will never knit a hem on "the bigger size" needles again. It also took me all of yesterday to get the first row of the pattern correct, after knitting it once and finding myself 11 stitches off the pattern, backtracking to find only one errant stitch and then realizing that I had cast on ten extra stitches, which I decided is a mistake you can recover from, but I had to reposition the entire first row five stitches to the right. Since then, it’s been fine. There are eight and nine-stitch floats in this pattern, which is new to me, but I remember reading that Wendy doesn’t sweat that, so I’m following suit.
As I knit this, I wonder why this sweater lacks a name. Few of the sweaters in the book are given labels descriptive of anything but tailoring features: Square Neck Cardigan, Short Jacket, or simply Sleeveless Top. The book is called Poetry in Stitches, not poetry in the names of sweaters. But I am vexed by the semantic obstacle of having nothing to call this sweater but "The Page 136 Sweater." Tis true, an artist has the right to breezily not care about such trivialities as names for their work, to leave the piece to speak for itself, to leave the poetry IN the stitches, but I am a verbal person, I want a name. I wonder if there was a name at one point. What were they called in the original edition? What could Solveig have called them before they had page numbers? How did she distiguish them one from the other as they were lying around her studio? Did she command her knitting pixies to bring "that beautiful sweater there", or "sew the ribbon into that red one"? Did the english translator simply not bother? What does Dikt i masker mean?
I am tempted to call it something like Norwegian Flower, or Carnation, but after much thought, I have decided to retain the mystery of the no-name — I think that I am going to call it simply PS136, because I don’t know if Solveig was being artistic or negligent, and it sounds vaguely technical, like a stock number for a particular computer part, and I find this sweater a technical challenge, my first steeked garment. Make no mistake: I do find this thing compelling. The rows stack up nicely, and more and more of the pattern is revealed with each round, like a game of Concentration. Thanks for talking me into it.