Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It’s Almost National Sweater Day!

Sherbet Sweater Pattern (Lea 067) from Laine Dor Yarns, Montreal, c. 1985

On Thursday, February 9th, the World Wildlife Fund is asking everyone in northern climes to turn down the heat and wear a sweater to slow global warming and save the Earth. According to their Sweater Day website: “If every Canadian lowered the heat a few degrees this winter, it'd be like taking 300,000 vehicles off the road!”

True, wearing a sweater one day of the year isn’t likely to slow down the coming weather apocalypse. Still, it’s a nice idea, so in honour of this year’s Sweater Day, I give you a pattern straight from the sweater-iest decade of the last century – the 1980s!

Also known as the sweatiest decade.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

The first thing I noticed upon opening the pattern leaflet was that the directions inside were for a sweater with vertical stripes. Before I could panic, as the sweater pictured clearly had horizontal stripes, a scrap of paper floated out of the booklet.



Excuse me, but vertical instead of horizontal stripes are far more than just an inconvenience! My mother warned me that vertical stripes will make me look taller, and that men are intimidated by tall women.

An All-Caps Apology certainly isn’t going to make up for the fact that they’ve just tricked me into buying the striped sweater of spinsterhood!
No, that’s not intended to be a link. The pattern designer was very fond of the underline key on her manual typewriter.

Spinsters have to make their own fun somehow.
Instructions: For all sizes

Materials: 450 grams (16oz) col A and 50 grams (2oz) of col B & C. In Laine Dor Sherbert
Yes, you read that right. It’s Sherbert, not Sherbet which is French for … well, Sherbert. However, in a move calculated to make pure laine francophones everywhere weep, the company’s called Laine Dor, not d’Or.

Still, you can’t deny they made pretty wool, even if it’s not actually spun “of gold” (d’Or). It’s a shame the company doesn’t appear to have survived the eighties.
Needles: Susan Nates size 7.00 (Am size 10 ½) – or size required to obtain gauge and size 5.00 (Am size 8)

Gauge: 15 sts and 18 rows 10 cm (4’’)
I wonder if leaving the equals sign out of their gauge had something to do with Laine Dor’s demise.
To save time: Take time to check gauge.

Front & Back: (Worked form one cuff to the other)
Or substituting “form” for “from”.
With No. 5.00 needles, and col A, cast on 31 sts and work 2 ½’’ in k1 P1 ribbing.
Randomly capitalizing letters couldn’t have helped their stock market standing.
Change to size 7.00 needles and cont in st st inc 17 sts evenly spaced across 1st row. Work 18 sts A, 6 sts col B in rev st st and 24 sts col A. Inc 1 st at ea edge every 2nd row until work meas 22’’.
Normally, I leave all the typos in, because they’re hilarious. In this case, however, “Inc 1st at ea edge” seemed unnecessarily confusing so I added the all important st so it was clear you were increasing stitches.

Feel free to thank me by going back in time and buying me stock in MTV.

At the same time, when work meas 8 ½’’, position second stripe of 6 sts in col C, rev st st, 10 sts from 1st stripe.
This is why you should always read the entire pattern. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself picking a sweater apart from 22’’ back down to 8 ½''.

Is that weeping I hear? Women in the eighties did not weep!

They got physical!
When work meas 14 ½’’, position 3rd stripe of 6 sts in col C, rev st st, 12 sts from 2nd stripe. When work meas 20 ½’’ position 4th stripe of 6 sts in col C, rev st st, 14 sts from 3rd stripe. Cont in this pattern. When work meas 22’’, inc 18 sts at ea edge. Work even until work meas 26 ½’’. To shape neck, divide work in half (back and front). For the back, work even for 10’’. For the front, at neck edge, every 2nd row, dec 1 st 3 times. End 1st stripe. Work even for 7 ½’’, then, every 2nd row at neck edge, inc 1 st 3 times. Join back and front and work even for 4 ½’’. Dec 18 sts at ea edge. To shape sleeve, every 2nd row, dec 1 st at ea edge until work measures 24’’ join.
Just when I’ve gotten comfortable with “meas” for “measures”, they hit me with the whole word.

Good patterns like to keep you off balance like that. Every sentence is a new adventure, a new mystery.

For instance, what exactly does “dec 1 st at ea edge until work measures 24’’ join” mean? 24’’ from what? Join to what? It’s all so exciting!
At the same time, when work meas 6 ½’’ from neck, end 2nd stripe, when work meas 12 ½’’ from neck end 3rd stripe, when work meas 18 ½’’ from neck end 4th stripe, when work measures 24’’ from join…
Ah, they meant 24’’ from join. Those little prepositions are so important.
… sec 17 sts evenly spaced across next row. Change to size 5.00 needles and work 2 ½’’ in k1 P1 ribbing. Bind off.
No, that’s not “secure 17 sts”, although that’s how I first read it, too. It’s just “dec 17 sts” with an s substituted for d to keep things lively.
Finishing: Join sleeve and sid seams.
Abbreviations can be taken too far, however. Would it really have been so hard to write “side”?
With size 5.00 circular needles…
It's so considerate of the pattern designers not to mention circular needles in the materials list. For good health, you need to break up knitting sessions with exercise like running unexpected errands or tearing your hair out.
…and col A, pick up approx 72 sts around bottom border and work 3’’ in ks P2 ribbing. Bind off. With size 5.00 circular needles and col A pick up approx 36 sts around neck edge at work 1’’ in garter st. (k all rows). Bind off.
Pick up approx 36 sts around neck edge at… At what? What??

Oh well, at least the handy ABBREVIATIONS key will be helpful in figuring out all the “ea”s and “col”s and “meas”s.
ABBREVIATIONS: no. – numéro, pt – point, env – envers, endr – endroit, rep – répéter, m – mailles, rg (s) – rang (s), trav – travailler, term – terminer, aug – augmenter, ch – chaque, proch – prochain, comm – commencer, gl – glisser, rab – rabattre, cont – continuer, rel – relever, aig – aiguille, dim – diminuer.
Unless, for no apparent reason, the ABBREVIATIONS are provided in French.
NOTE: Be sure to buy sufficient yarn of each colour in the same dye lot number to complete the article.

The directions in this leaflet are carefully checked and rechecked to assure accuracy.

Yes, that’s assure accuracy. Because Laine Dor definitely didn’t check to ensure accuracy.
We cannot, however, be responsible for typographical errors or misinterpretations of instructions.
If by some chance our many typographical errors lead to a misinterpretation of the instructions, it’s your fault, not ours.

With this dedication to customer service, it’s shocking that Laine Dor’s still not around. Oh well, at least I’ll always have this misshapen, incorrectly striped sweater to remember them by.

Happy Sweater Day!

Click here for the printable pattern.


  1. On the photo, you can, clearly, see that the stripes are vertical and that you begin to knit the sweater with the first sleeve, and then finish it with the second sleeve.

  2. Ysabeau - Well, that would certainly explain how Laine Dor got the patterns mixed up. It's ironic that in the Vertical Stripes pattern they initially printed, you're knitting them horizontally and vice versa.

    But their confusion is our gain!

  3. It's not a sweater, but have you seen this?