First off, let's establish that pie is not easy. Anyone who has ever made pie from scratch will tell you it is a process fraught with danger, a theater of high drama indeed, resulting in a dessert that gladdens the eye and heart or a tough, soggy, bitter-tasting disappointment of no small order. Forget the salt and you're eating mushy fruit in baked wall-paper paste. Don't ask how I know. Hey, I was a newly-wed at the time.
Precisely so, the quest for the simple grey sweater was not without its pitfalls. This is, in part, due to my nature. Just as I can never follow a recipe for pie exactly (I do not approve of skimpy pie filling), I can never make the simple straightforward knitting choice. It seems the path must always be convoluted. Twisty is the only way I know how to go.
Back when all this started, when I began to realize The Nephew was serious, I was fired by ambition. I would do some Real Knitting. I would knit a gansey, or at least gansey-style. With this goal I bought up what I think of as key texts (I can't help it; I was indoctrinated at an early age to research and original sources): Beth Brown-Reisel's Knitting Ganseys, Gladys Thompson's Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys and Arans, Sabine Domnick's Cables, Diamonds and Herringbone, and Priscilla Gibson-Roberts Knitting in the Old Way. Over the months I added XRX's Arans and Celtics and Alice Starmore's Fisherman's Sweaters.
I am so contrary. None of the patterns pleased me. Or if the pattern pleased me, I didn't like the construction. I wanted to knit the sweater in the traditional method, which meant in the round from the bottom up, split for the front and back yokes, join the shoulders and finally knit the sleeves in the round from the top down. This wiped out the XRX book. I didn't (and don't) like the wide necklines on the Alice Starmore sweaters. The Beth Brown Reisel patterns were mostly for children and women. That left me with Gladys and Priscilla, nether of which was big on actually giving a pattern to knit a whole sweater.
That's okay, I thought, I can be an Intrepid Knitter. I decided to go really traditional and make up my own. I charted out a knit-purl pattern for the yoke that pleased me, planned a welt instead of ribbing for the waistband and studied up on gussets. I had the yarn. I had the swatch. I adjusted for stitch and row count.
Then I set it aside to incubate or marinate or something. And then I lost the chart.
Strawberry rhubarb, anyone?