I can't quite remember when I first discovered the Hanne Falkenberg sweater collection. I think that I saw the Mermaid Jacket written and pictured in a Woolworks catalogue. Anyway, I was in love. I trawled the internet and found a treasure trove of Hanne sweaters at a Danish company that shipped overseas. I found the DaCapo and was stunned at the range of colours on offer. I couldn't resist the pink/orange/red combination. It seemed very daring, so, decision made. Ordering from Denmark turned out to be far less expensive than buying a kit in the US.
I remember when the box arrived and I unpacked a clear tote filled with yarn and a 2 page instruction booklet. The presentation was minimal and the yarn was thin and coarse. I loved the packaging but was still so naive about yarn and insecure about my skills and started to wonder if I were foolish in spending so much money on a garment that I would have to make. Did I have enough know how?
The package sat on the buffet for several weeks while I shopped for the proper size circulars. Once the needles arrived, then I procrastinated some more. One day I just decided to cast on and be damned. The sweater starts in the middle of the back with 5 stitches and grows in a mitered triangle while incorporating a clever knitted I-cord onto the bottom edge. After countless fits and starts I was on my way.
The jacket back grew quickly in the beginning, but slowed as the triangle grew to almost 300, tiny, tiny stitches. Garter stitches galore grated on my nerves. Soon other yarns and projects seduced me and I set the jacket aside. Early on I had it on display in a variety of containers, kind of like art. It would receive some attention and then be tossed back in the bowl. I would experience guilt every time the bright colours caught my eye. Soon I jumbled the jacket and the yarn into a closed basket.
As months passed I would pull it out and in a burst of energy, knit. Soon I was at a point where the geometry and holding needles came into play along with colour changes. Setting the jacket aside for long periods caused much confusion as to where I was in the pattern. At one point I was so lost and confused that I called the company to ask for clarification. They referred me to Hanne herself. I was shocked when the phone rang and she answered. She was gracious and patiently answered my frazzled questions. The jacket was momentarily back on track. I had knit a sleeve and joined it with the rest of the jacket and knit the placket. Then, fool that I am, set the whole thing aside again. By now a few years had elapsed. I was so close.
A few weeks ago I pulled to jacket out of its basket. This thing had been on my WIP list on Ravelry for far too long. I didn't want to move it the ZZZ section at the bottom of my projects page. I wanted to finish, no matter what. I took the jacket to our group at the bread store. I received a few skeptical looks as to the size. It looked tiny. Mary Beth had me slip on the jacket, needles, holders, and all. It looked a tad small but not hopeless. I fed off the encouragement that my fellow knitters gave me. I sped through the placket and cast on the last bit, the orange band around the collar. Once I cast off, I cheered. Unfortunately I was the only one to hear. I sewed up the sleeves, the only two seams in this ingenious design. Then I tried it on. It fit!
Yesterday I gave it a bath and spun out the extra water in the washer. I laid it out on my butcher block and hand blocked it into shape, trained a fan onto the surface and let it dry. By dinner time it was ready for a trip through the garden.
My model is a tough critic and her approval was all I needed to top off my pleasure. I still can't believe that I am done. Don't get me wrong, there are mistakes. I read some of the instructions incorrectly, but only an experienced Falkenberger would know.
In my haze of accomplishment, I purchased a colour card for the entire Jamieson & Smith yarn line. According to several bloggers, the Spindrift Shetland 2 ply is the perfect match in fibre and weight to knit a Falkenberg. Is there another DaCapo in my future? Who knows, they say love is better the second time around.