At long last, it's actually starting to look like a garment.
One side, sleeve and back, felted and seamed together. The second front is done and waiting to be felted, and I'm about a third of the way done with the second sleeve. After that, it's just felting, seaming, and knitting the collar. And let me tell you, I am really ready to be moving on from this project. It's been a lot of fun and I'm excited about how it's turning out - the feel, in particular, is stunning - but I feel like I've been working on it for about a year.
In my experience, matching plaids is something about which one can get as neurotic as one chooses. In the excellent Eudora Welty collection The Golden Apples, there's a paragraph that opens "There's nothing Virgie Rainey likes better than struggling against a real hard plaid." Reading that, I know just what kind of woman Virgie must be. It's about the struggle and the triumph for her, and she has become less than present to those around her. In past sewing projects, I too have chosen to get hard-nosed about my plaids, but going that level of crazy on this jacket, what with the huge scale of the tartan and all of the other technical challenges, would have completely undone me. So I opted for the more manageable, "mildly neurotic" option, and ended up with a plaid that is more-or-less matched across the shoulder in front, and slightly less so across the back.
I have to admit that the reversed order of the grey and cream stripes across the shoulder in front was not intentional, and I thought about doing it over. But the effect has actually grown on me, and I've decided to keep it and just replicate the effect on the other side. My grandfather was a quirky man who did a lot of altering materials to fit circumstances. I think the slight discrepancy would have suited him.
On Father's Day, the jacket-in-progress came with me to a Dr. John/Neville Brothers show that David and I attended with my parents, and my dad tried it on. At this point, his enthusiasm is really helping me to keep up my own momentum on the project, and he was thrilled - especially about the sleeves, which are very different from the type of sleeve I normally design, but which he said "fits just like I like them." It's really good to hear, especially when I'm leaving my comfort zone in terms of style and size.
So, just the final sprint to go, plus the fine-tuning of the final pattern. I have to say, I am hankering to start my next project. I ordered some buttons for it off Etsy, and look at this perfect match:
Think 1940's schoolgirl cardigan, with a few extra treats thrown in for good measure. I can't wait to get started.