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Michèle Karch-Ackerman


THE SWEATER PROJECT

Michèle Karch-Ackerman's Lost Boys is part of a nationally-touring installation ongoing since 2003. It explores the loss of young lives during the First World War and in particular, the Newfoundland regiment who fought in the battle of Beaumont Hamel. It weaves together the story of James Barrie's Peter Pan with the stories of so many lives lost in the First World War, and expresses loss, remembrance and consolation.

The artist's intention is to knit or collect from volunteers 801 sweaters for each soldier from the Newfoundland regiment who fought in the battle of Beaumont Hamel. So far the project consists of approximately four hundred miniature hand-made and -dyed woollen sweaters knitted by the artist and an "army" of volunteers at knitting bees across Canada. The artist dyes the sweaters and hangs them on twig armatures for exhibition. Each volunteer adds a personal touch to the pattern, and each sweater takes on a life of its own. Sometimes special details are added (like a tiny toque, or a tag), and inside some of the sweaters, knitters sometimes hide devotional letters.

If you would like to contribute a sweater to the project, the pattern is available on reverse. Feel free to add a devotional letter to the soldiers, which you can tuck inside the sweater, where it will remain. Sweaters will be accepted until September 1, 2012. When your sweater is complete, you can drop it off at the front desk in the Grand Hall of the McMichael gallery building, or mark the package "The Sweater Project" and send it to this address:

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection
10365 Islington Avenue
Kleinburg, Ontario
L0J 1C0

About the Battle of Beaumont Hamel

Beaumont-Hamel is a commune in the Somme department in Picardy in northern France. During the First World War, Beaumont-Hamel was very close to the front lines and saw heavy combat, especially during the Battle of the Somme which was the largest Allied offensive of the entire war.

July 1, 1916 was the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, and was a slaughter for the Allies. Total Allied casualties on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme were 57,470, of which 19,240 were fatal.

The 1st Newfoundland Regiment was one of the four battalions of the British 29th Division's 88th Brigade, and was virtually annihilated at the Battle of Beaumont Hamel. 733 of 801 men in the 1st Newfoundland Regiment were killed or wounded. In Newfoundland and Labrador, July 1 is Memorial Day to commemorate Newfoundland's heavy losses in the battle.

THE LOST BOYS SWEATER PATTERN

Use off-white (natural) colour yarn (or white) and average size needles (around size 5, 6, 7)

BACK: Cast on 28 sts and work 6 rows (k1.p1) ribbing, ending with right side facing for next row.
Work 20 rows stocking st, ending with right side facing for next row.

TO SHAPE ARMHOLES:
Cast off 2 sts beginning next 2 rows.
NEXT ROW: K1. Sl 1. K. psso. Knit to last 3 sts. K2tog. K1.
NEXT ROW: Purl.
Repeat these 2 rows 6 times. 10 sts on needle. Leave these sts on a safety pin.

FRONT: Work as given for back.

SLEEVES:
Cast on 18 sts and work 6 rows (k1p1) ribbing, ending with right side facing for next row.
Work in stocking st increasing 1 st each end of needle on 7th, then following 6th row. 22 sts on needle.
Work 7 rows even in stocking st.

TO SHAPE TOP:
Cast off 2 sts beginning next 2 rows.
NEXT ROW: k1. sl 1. k1. psso. Knit to last 3 sts. k2 tog. k1.
NEXT ROW: Purl.
Repeat these 2 rows 5 times. 6 sts on needle.
NEXT ROW: k1. sl1. k1. psso. k2tog. k1
NEXT ROW: Purl. 4 sts on needle. Leave these sts on a safety pin.

COLLAR: Sew in sleeves leaving left back raglan open. With right side of work facing knit across 4 sts from left sleeve, 10 sts from front, 4 sts from right sleeve and 10 sts from back safety pin. 28 sts on needle.
Work 16 rows (k1p1) ribbing. Cast off in ribbing.

TO MAKE UP: Sew left back raglan and collar seam. Sew side and sleeve seams.

Download this pattern (pdf)



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