Saturday, March 15, 2008

Juliet and the Problem with Cardigans

My Juliet sweater, posed on a chair in front of a beautiful painting by my aunt. I'm not sure if I love this shade of blue because of the painting, or if we chose the painting (a wedding gift - we went to her studio and were allowed to select the piece that we wanted) because I love this shade of blue.

I'm happy with the sweater. Is it possible to love cardigans when you've never knit a button band or worked a buttonhole? If you look back at my corpus of knitting, you'll see that I always use a brooch to close the front of my sweaters. It's laziness mixed with perfectionism: I'm convinced that I'll not be happy with a buttonhole that stretches or gapes at the edges. And yes, I could finish a knit buttonhole with an embroidered button stitch, but that seems too much like pouring ketchup onto scrambled eggs.

I played and played with the gorgeous tagua nut buttons at my knitting store. When I purchased the yarn for the sweater, I had a plan to use a seafoam green button and a purple button to close the front of this icy blue sweater. Then I realized that I'd selected buttons that matched my glasses (they're purple on the outside of the frame, acid green on the interior) and that seemed too match-matchy for my taste. I stopped in the other day with thoughts of a large ivory button, something like a scrimshaw piece. Nothing in that category, so I played with the tagua buttons again. Well, I eventually poured them out on the counter and sorted through them one by one, looking for the right set. That way lies madness. I abandoned that course and sheepishly left the store without a button.

At home, I found some beautiful carved ivory-looking buttons that I emerged from Stitches with last August. The right feel, but maybe too small and fussy?
Plan B is pictured above and below. What if I sew a ribbon backing onto the inside of each front edge and then sew hooks and eyes onto the ribbon? This will be the knitting version of treading water until I reach the shore of the right button. A good project to work on while watching You Only Live Twice. Screenplay by Roald Dahl.

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