The Vying for the Viaduct Sweater

Stop everything you are doing and pay attention to me. I made a sweater. A real, honest to God, knit by hand sweater. A WHOLE DAMN SWEATER. I, Leah Franqui, struggle extraordinaire, 4 month knitter, completed a sweater. And it’s awesome. Right?

Yeah. It’s awesome. And I made it. WITH MY HANDS. Bam. The sweater is the Berocco FREE PATTERN the Aidez. Over 1500 Ravelry knitters have made this beautiful open cardigan, and they are chalk full of advice and modifications and ideas. Did I take any of them into account? Of course not. That would be madness.

No, I’m just kidding. I actually took a class at Loop to make this sweater. I was a bit concerned that despite my mad knitting skills honed over the course of several scarves and snoods, I wouldn’t be able to master the art of sweatery (it’s my new word, deal with it) all by my lonesome. And I’m glad I took the class, because a lot of learning anything new is vocabulary, and it’s nice to be able to look at my lovely instructor and be like, YTTB, WTF? And she could be like, that’s actually a simple concept you know intuitively and here’s how to do it. And I could be like, JK! TY! So all my thanks to my instructor and the wonderful ladies in my class (no gentleman, sadly, step up, boys, join the world of knitting!) for getting me through to the other side and helping me make this masterpiece.

I love it. I LOVE IT. There are a few little mistakes which I wont bore you with/want you to be impressed with me so I don’t want to point out my silly errors. But this is a really nice pattern, and though it looks really complex, it’s actually pretty simple once you memorize the pattern, but not at all boring, at least, not for me as a beginner! There are four kinds of cable on this puppy, which make it look amazing.

I knitted up a small, which worked perfectly for me. This yarn really does bloom (expand after washing, for you non-knitters out there, look at me, picking up the lingo!) and it blocks beautifully. I used the recommended yarn, Berocco Peruvia, because I honestly didn’t know you could deviate from the recommendation. Now that I do, consider my mind BLOWN.

I really liked knitting with this yarn, though, it’s chunky and knits up really quickly. This sweater took me about 5 weeks, or in TV terms, 5 episodes of Downton Abby, Season 2, 3 Miss Marples, 2 Poroits, countless 30 Rocks and Parks and Recreations, 2 Midsummer Murders, and a lot of things I’m ashamed to list here (cough, Hart of Dixie, cough). But I made it through and got all my pieces knit and blocked by the final class, where I learned that seaming is just like sewing. Which is nice, because I totally know how to do that.

This is the face I make when I have completed an insanely cool sweater WITH MY HANDS. Yeah. Expect to see that one more often, people. Thought honestly, not THAT often, because knitting takes FOREVER.

Now, you may at this point be wondering, what the hell is a Viaduct? Well, it’s actually really cool. My friend Ben took these photos (thanks, Ben!) yesterday when we, along with my mother and father and a group of about 35 other people, participated in this walk along the three mile stretch of what was the first railway line into Philadelphia, the path of the famous Pennsylvania Railroad! The track went dead in 1991, I believe, and since then has been a three mile expanse of nothing, without use or really much public knowledge of its existance. But that all might, hopefully, change soon, because there are two organizations pushing to repurpose and reclaim the now abandoned tracks to create a Viaduct, much like the wildly successful New York High Line! This would be an amazing boon for the city, and really revitalize a few areas that currently act as urban no-mans lands.

The issue is now that part of the Viaduct, the part known as the 9th street viaduct or the Reading Viaduct, is more likely to be made into a pocket park in the next few (I hope just a few) years, while the underground cross-city tunnel part seems less likely, at least, right now. So while one organization, The Reading Viaduct, its focused on transforming the above-ground elevated 9th Street portion of the 4 track wide (that’s pretty wide) space into a park, the Viaduct Greene Organization wants the whole 3 miles reclaimed, and wont take anything less. So there is some conflict there, a bit of vying, if you will. Personally, I hope the 9th Street Viaduct becomes the first phase in a multistage project that eventually spans all three miles of railroad track and revitalizes those areas of this delightful but really strugglesome city. And I know that wont happen any time soon. But, hey, I got some good pictures, at least:

How cute is my mamala?

And there's my papa.

And Ben, my fearless photographer.

With the view of Philadelphia behind me, aglow with the warmth of my sweater. Can you imagine anything better?

Anyway, that’s what I’ve got going on lately. What about you? Big projects? New strides? Reclaimed spaces? Any trespassing (which is totally what we were doing, shhhh, don’t tell the Mayor!)? Or maybe just learned a cool new thing? Let me know!

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13 Comments

Filed under Berocco, Knitting

13 responses to “The Vying for the Viaduct Sweater

  1. I salute you! Knitting totally eludes me! Bravo on a lovely job!

  2. Absolutely lovely! This looks great on you, and it’s such a perfect color! I really like the photos of the Viaduct, too– good luck with the park project! As a New Yorker, I’m a huge fan of the High Line Park– it’s such a great way to add public space to crowded cities and it’s so cool to see unused things find a new purpose!

    • Thank you so much! I adore this color, I have way too much of it. I love the High Line in New York, and I would love to see this huge amount of space that is currently ignored and forgotten be used, that would be so good. Here’s hoping!

  3. Great post and photos! That cardigan is brilliant and such a gorgeous colour – it’s now on my list of things to make even though it’ll probably take me about two years to knit.

  4. elizabeth

    I so rarely get to see my students’ finished work because so many projects are finished outside of class! I’m so glad you love your new sweater, it’s beautiful! Hopefully there will be many more sweaters in the future.

  5. DAT SWEATER. It turned out gorgeous! Loveeee the color (it reminds me of my coat 🙂 hehe!) and ooh girl your cables. Now I want to finish my sweater!

  6. I can only echo… this is so pretty. Knitting is a mystery to me, but I love to watch people do it. The Viaduct looks really cool, and an awesome addition to Philly! So funny that you’re giving away that Vogue dress… I’ve just nudged it up in my queue, and have had fabric picked out for it for ages.

  7. Wow, I can’t believe you actually made that sweater! As my husband says, it looks so real! I love the color, the cables, and the way it fits you. Fabulous!!!

  8. Fashion Bitch NZ

    I can hardly beleive it. I thought I was the only person in the world who measured the time it takes to knit something in episodes of my favourite TV programmes!
    Well done, it’s a lovely piece, and not actually that simple. I would feel inspired to try it if it wasn’t the middle of summer here.

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