Our rollicking knitalong for Mary Jane Mucklestone’s patterns in MDK Field Guide No. 17: Lopi is not my first flirtation with the wonders of Léttlopi, the worsted-weight Icelandic wool wonder of the world.
I had a very serious case of Léttlopi fever that started with a family trip to Iceland in 2012 and took at least five Icelandic-style sweaters to work itself out of my system. I knit a Lopapeysa—a classic Icelandic yoked pullover—for four of the six cousins that went on that trip. (I may have knit them for the two other cousins too, because what the hell with this aunt favoritism—but I can’t remember if I did or didn’t.) Then I made one for another cousin who hadn’t gone on the trip, and then one for the dog, for Pete’s sake. All of these sweaters got finished in record time and are still with their owners, being worn and loved when it’s real cold out or they want to ponder the love of their everloving auntie, which I imagine is very often.
The first two cousin sweaters, both the beloved Riddari pattern (Ravelry link), made from the 40 skeins of Léttlopi I hauled home in my suitcase in 2012. Two more here.
When you go on a bender for a pattern and yarn like that, at some point the fever does break. And if you’re me, it’s going to end with that last project not quite getting finished. It lives on, in tantalizingly close-to-finished status, and messes up your whole system for clutter reduction, and your principles on finishing what you start. Every time you turn the stash, you come across That Sweater, with its gaping underarms and lack of any means of closure.
You’ve seen this last sweater. I steeked it on your desk, back in 2016, in a moment of giddy joy.
Pattern: (Ravelry link) Hlekkur, from Istex Lopi magazine No. 28.)
And then I didn’t do a single other thing for it.
The Psychology of Not Finishing a Handknit
I didn’t finish this sweater for many reasons. I realized that it wouldn’t fit the recipient I had in mind, but that is no real problem: a sweater always fits somebody.
The real reason I didn’t finish this sweater is that I had intended for it to have a snazzy zipper closure. In my mind, this sweater would look like something Steve McQueen would pop on over chinos and a checked shirt before getting on his motorcycle, or maybe something Robert Redford would have worn in Downhill Racer.
Thanks to Kate Atherley’s most excellent guidance, I know exactly how to install a zipper in a handknit.
But I think it’s time to admit: I don’t want to. I’m not in the mood to deal with the vagaries of measuring the opening (knitting stretches, people, I don’t know if you realize this), ordering a custom length zipper, or anything like that.
I just want to finish this cardigan up as quickly as I can, with the materials available to me right now, so I can do more knitting.
The Way Out of This to Finished Cardigan Glory
Here’s the plan. I’m writing the plan here for accountability purposes. There is nothing in this plan that I am incapable of doing, and doing very quickly.
- Pick up stitches for buttonbands. (Yay, I still have some of this yarn left and I haven’t yet swiped it to make the mittens from Field Guide No. 17!)
- Make both of the bands button bands, not buttonhole bands. I don’t want to fiddle or delay by having to space and make buttonholes. I know these things are not hard either, but see above: I don’t want to do them.
- Sew big snaps onto the bands.
- (Optional) Sew decorative buttons on over the snaps. The likelihood I will get to this level of finesse is not zero, but it’s not high.
- Give the sweater to someone it fits.
Everything I need to do this is here, including Mary Jane’s excellent pattern instructions for the bands on the Daytripper Cardigan.