Yesterday I finally got to reveal a big secret that has been worked on the entire spring and has involved a lot of shenanigans.
My sweet friend Maja, who is also a knitter, defended her PhD thesis yesterday, a thesis she has been working on for the past five years about the eddic poetry. Three years ago I was in a Language History Class with one of my favourite professors and he was wearing a gray knitted slipover with his name on in runes. That’s when I decided that Maja needed a sweater with her name on in runes too.
This past winter it was decided that she would defend her thesis on May 24 and I realized it was time to start knitting. Me and my friend Agnieszka, who was also in on the gift, started looking for patterns, since it was to say Maja on the front we figured it would be best if the entire sweater was in reversed stockinette stitch, and yarns, and the hardest part of all, decide on a color.
Finally we came upon the Double-Breasted Pullover by Cathy Payson and Cascade 220 from Cascade Yarns, color 2401 Burgundy. The color is truly lovely and suits Maja perfectly but it is a kind of fall color and it was a little demoralizing to knit an autumn color while yearning for spring. Instead of the cabled pattern on the front, I did the letters, starting just where the shaping for the sleeves starts.
Then began the problem about size. We wanted it to fit as perfect as possible so we needed to measure Maja without her knowing we did. The first part was fairly easy, Agnieszka simply waited till Maja was out of her office and then sneaked in and measured a sweater Maja already had. The sleaves were harder. I invited Maja to dinner and we thought that hopefully she would eventually go for the restroom. When she never did we tried to measure her cardigan literally behind her back but she noticed something was going on behind her and a lie about how her cardigan was just rescued from falling on the floor was produced. Eventually she actually did go to the restroom and measuring tape was quickly as the wind thrown over the table and sleaves were measured. The tape measure was hidden in a pocket just seconds before Maja came back.
The knitting proceeded and three prototypes were needed to make up the pattern for the runes.
As you can see I had to edit my pattern a lot.
Finally it was all done and I tried the sweater on. Unfortunately I have shoulders that are a little similar to a bottleneck and that together with the fact that I’m much taller than Maja made the sweater look like it had stepped right out a Madonna video in the 80’s when I put it on. I was dead worried that it would be an awful misfit and that I would have to re-do a whole lot.
Last night at the formal dinner to celebrate Maja’s newly achieved doctorate, me and Agnieszka held a speach where we explained the background to our gift and showed the audience our work (well, the knitted part is actually my work since Agnieszka is more of a knitting appreciater than an actual knitter (which works fine by me since I always have a grateful receiver of knitted goods and a great supporter of all of my projects)). I don’t think I’ve ever had a project being that appreciated before, everyone clapped their hands, Maja was really happy and was told by the audience to put the sweater on. It fit like a glove! It was the right length, the shoulders were fine and 1980’s Madonna won’t give her a call anytime soon.
I’m so glad I did this. Congratulations PhD Bäckvall!