FIREFLIES DONE AT LAST!

My try at replicating a sweater I knit back circa 1983 has both failed and succeeded.

I started out wanting to redo this Penny Straker original – her Eye of the Partridge men’s pullover.

I remember having done it in Germantown, a 100% wool true worsted (5 spi). Younger Spawn (the target recipient) and I took a detour to Webs back in January, and we selected some Babe 100, more of a DK (5.5 spi) than a worsted, but very soft, in the perfect colors, and bargain priced.

I took it home and using the kid’s measurements against those of the Straker pattern, and compensating for the finer gauge, I set in. The original was worked in four pieces, front, back, sleeves, and then seamed. Front and back flew by quickly, no problems. But the sleeves were problematic. I knit them both at the same time, and I ripped back and restarted three times. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the length and the rate of decrease on the sleeve tops to mate neatly enough with that on the front and back. And without that direct match, neat seaming would be impossible.

So after crying about much spilled milk, I gave up, unraveled the entire thing and began again. This time though I thought I’d attempt a one-piece/top-down construction to gloss over the whole matching decreases for seaming problem.

With the specifications of “narrower ribbing, boxy, oversize body to a specific length, and sleeves of a specific length” I began, roughly using Knitting Fool’s percentage system. I input gauge and measurements. At a couple of places, I modded the instructions as per instinct. And it worked.

Yes, there’s a glaring anomaly in the thing – the below-elbow double-wide yellow stripe. But since both sleeves match (I worked them side by side), I decided to claim it as a feature instead of a bug.

The recipient has tried the thing on and is totally thrilled with fit, especially liking the deliberately baggy and swiftly tapered sleeves. So I count this one as both a failure for not being able to wrangle the initial pattern properly, and as a success, for having pulled off a satisfactory finish that’s more or less faithful in look to the original.

Now back to stitching, maybe with an occasional side trip into socks because they are the poster child for a quick finish, portable summer beach project.

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