In addition to silly, silly dog garments, I've been working furiously on the next Family Trunk Project pattern. ("At last!" I hear you exclaim. "I thought she had forgotten the purpose of this blog!") Inspired by Betty Jean's mother, this is the nascent Ethel Mildred Ferguson sweater.
Kind of a terrible name, huh? Ethel Mildred didn't like it much, either. The story goes that when she was little she would often ask "Ma, what's my middle name?" "Oh, Ethel," her mother would impatiently reply, "you know your middle name is Mildred." Upon which young Ethel Mildred would break down into hysterical tears.
But hysterical tears are one thing I hope NOT to experience during the design of this sweater. I'm intentionally making things easy on myself: all of the design elements are well to the front of the area where the increases and decreases for waist shaping and set-in sleeves will occur, so there's no need to fret about disrupting the pattern. And good grief, sweater knitting certainly goes much faster in a worsted weight yarn and size seven needles, than in a fingering-weight yarn on size ones!
The yarn is very special, and, I think, fitting for Ethel's memorial: it's rustic, deliciously sheepy-smelling cormo wool, my share in the newly-minted Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm CSA. For those not familiar with the CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) model, it's commonly applied to produce farms: shareholders invest their dollars up front at the beginning of the growing season, and are then entitled to a share of the harvest. If there's more food than anticipated, each shareholder's portion is larger; if something happens to decrease the harvest, the shareholders get less. Generally, shareholders are also welcome to visit the farm at any time, lend a hand with the chores or just bring a picnic. It's a fantastic way to support your local farmers and show confidence in your community economy, and I've often thought about joining one of the many food CSA's in the Portland area. But, truth be told, I'm just not that excited about food, and it seems exhausting to have to come up with imaginative ways to use whatever veggies arrive on my doorstep. When I heard that the concept was being applied to FIBER, though? I rushed over to join, despite Martha's Vineyard being about as far from "local" as you can get without leaving the country. The first crop of shareholders just received our buttery, soft yarn, and it was ideally suited to the Ethel sweater that's been percolating in my brain.
The vine cable motif has been by far the greatest challenge to get hammered out, and this isn't the completely final version; I'll be ripping back to about the armhole bindoff and re-working the upper portion slightly. But I'm pleased with how it's coming, nonetheless.
And that hounds-tooth skirt is a bit of a teaser. It's a little sewing project I'll share with you in a few days.