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The Legend of Green Sprite

Oh, Green Sprite, you troublesome pixie. I had visions — sweet, enchanting visions — of a green top. Not just any green top, but a sexy, fitted top with a slashed neck and cuffs, and a bit of lacing at same. Raw neckline, raw hem: wild. Alas! Ran short of yarn two thirds into this vision. Still, rallied my spirits: perhaps the true essence of Green Sprite could manifest in the Coffee Tunic (Ravelry link). Not totally in keeping with the Maid Marion/dryad thing I had imagined, but still a damn fine piece.

My doubts first began to burp when the pattern insisted that one size would fit all sizes from XS-L. Since I’m working with a limited amount of yarn, this concerned me: it suggested that the pattern was made to stretch enough to fit the L, and then the springiness of the ribs and cable would snug it back to fit the XS as well. So I started making plans: maybe I could start over and do fewer pattern repeats, make it snugger overall…all of which was brought up short, sudden and sharp at the end of the 12cm of 2×2 rib (which, mysteriously, took me for-fucking-ever).

Okay, here’s the thing: you cast on 220 sts, work in 2×2 rib for 12cm. Then in the last round, you increase to 224 sts, so that you’ve got a multiple of 16 ready for the cable pattern. Logic: impeccable. Except. Big fat problem: there is no way you can incorporate those 4 sts evenly into the work without fucking up the ribbing. And if you like your ribbing to flow seamlessly into your cable pattern — and most right-minded, charismatic, lovable champions do — you don’t want to fuck up your ribbing. So…why not just cast on 224 sts to begin with? You got me stumped, and I feel stoopid for not reading the pattern ahead and figuring that bit out already. Still, worth noting for next time.

So, realising there was no way I could smoothly incorporate those 4 sts, and no way I could accept the ribbing-cable-pattern-flow thing being interrupted unnnecessarily, I decided to frog. Plus, it would give me a chance to reevaluate the rest of the pattern, see where I could economise and make the whole thing smaller. You have 7 cable pattern repeats on both the front and back: I like the number 7, and I particularly like odd numbers in pattern repeats. So I thought I could trim down to 5 repeats front and back, but that would drop my stitch count so much as to make me suspicious. I could drop down to 6 repeats front and back, which is a less extreme reduction, but also cancels the pleasing odd number of repeats thing. Feeling a glow of maturity in reaching this compromise (with whom?), I read the pattern again, and decided I would adjust the end/start of round marker so that the waist shaping would always fall between cable repeats: my glow of maturity built to an inferno of grownuppityness!

While I was grabbing the ball winder to begin frogging Green Sprite, on a whim, I also grabbed the yarn scales — and made a crushing discovery. Yup. Not enough yarn, by a long, long margin.

Green Sprite dances away from me like Le Fée Verte, the little minx.

Coffee Tunic is definitely staying in my to-knit queue, however: despite my little dummy-spit about the ribbing-to-cable transition, it’s a bitchin pattern and have commenced rummaging in the stash to see what else I can make it from. But where does that leave Green Sprite? A hazy, teasing flicker in my imagination, that’s where. A tantalising succubus of a design, haunting my soul and also needles.

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