Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Not the sweater I hoped to share

I have to apologize right up front, this is not the post about a sweater that I'd hoped to share.

I don't know why I'm apologizing, though, because it's really not my fault.

There is a pattern that says ONE SKEIN will complete a sweater from size XS to 3XL. I had hoped to share this as an ECONOMICAL garment project.

NOTES: Usually, a knitter that is having to pinch the pennies tries to find projects that don't take many skeins or have low mileage (or meter-age outside the US) lengths of yarn to create. Often a knitter will have to skip garments in order to work with finer yarns.

Big girls like me tend to knit gifts for others.

I had a skein of Juniper Moon Farms Findley Dappled, in a purple colorway, of course, that I bought from a local shop when Susan Gibbs of JMF was visiting. It is a laceweight yarn of half SILK and half MERINO. Hours I spent pondering what to do with this one skein... Silk means it would have great drape and shine, merino means great stitch definition. I COULD have done yet another lace shawl. Here's the dilemma: How many purple shawls does one gal need? So, I kept looking. And looking... until I stumbled upon a pattern created FOR this yarn.

It's not often I get to knit a pattern with the yarn a pattern was intended for. In fact, I can't remember that happening to me before. Ever.

Reading through the directions, I have the needles, the gauge is do-able, I'm going to change a few things, per my usual, and what's this? ONE SKEIN IS ALL IT WILL TAKE? What the what?? For everybody?

Really. I am a bit incredulous. In fact, I now feel a DUTY to test that fact. So, I run off to another yarn store that the website says should have that pattern. The printed pattern says it too! At the next knit night, I cast on. I chose to knit the LARGEST size, even though it is not MY SIZE, because, well, you really should make the largest size you have the yarn for, right?

I hear you nodding at me, so I'll continue.

I made changes, as I said.

  • The pattern is not top-down, like I prefer, but that's OK, I will knit the front and back at the same time on circular needles like many people knit, in the round. In fact, I knit the sleeves seamlessly as well. The only finishing I needed to do was the 'armpit' seams.
  • I changed the texture also. The way it was written, in a lace eyelet pattern, a 16-stitch repeat with a space between alternating flowers of two stitches, but the repeats don't have any space between, so I move the alternate eyelet flower over one stitch. Now, there is one-stitch space between vertically throughout. 
  • I also changed the eyelets themselves. It was intended to be a seven-eyelet flower, but the sleeves are picked up from the sweater and knit to the elbow, which make the eyelet flowers on the sleeves upside down to the body of the sweater. I took out the seventh eyelet. Except that the two and three stitches knit together can tell another knitter which direction the piece was knitted, they are now identical throughout.
Now at about the point that I reach the 'armpit' in the body, from bottom-to-top, my husband had a heart attack and was a week in the hospital. I tried to knit, but it seemed to me that the majority of my stitches had to be 'tinked' or unknitted (a nice way of saying taken out - in fact, TINK is KNIT backwards). Sitting in the waiting room of the hospital I wasn't making any real progress. Then I got a good look at my skein.


Earlier than I could have imagined I have proved that ONE SKEIN will NOT complete this pattern.

Due to the rescue of local knit night gals, I was able to continue plodding through.  The skein actually ran out about 3.5 inches above the division for the armholes, in the back (done first then the fronts, two: right and left).

I had hoped when I cast-on that I would be wearing this silk and merino t-shirt at Stitches Midwest, (see my last post). I could not have foreseen the chaos in my life that nearly stopped me from working on it. I didn't stop. By the time I got it to Stitches Midwest, the back was done, left the stitches on the large circular needle and continued working first the left front (on the plane, during slow periods in the market place or registration booth where I spent my days of which there really are not many slow periods, and then during Franklin Habit's presentation of Weldon's Practical Magic. It's mostly mindless knitting at this point so I can watch and listen without really needing to look at my work.)

By Sunday of the event, I'm on the right front. Rick Mondragon gave a demonstration in my booth of Knitting Backwards or Reverse Knitting. This means when working back and forth (instead of in the round has I had been earlier in the sweater), rather than turn your work to work back to the right-hand side to start your next row, you simply work the stitches from left to right. I thought I'd been doing this for years, began when working short-row heels of socks (it just made sense to work those 30 and ever decreasing stitches back and forth rather than knit, turn and purl, turn and knit again) and with entrelac knitting, instead of flipping the entire work around every ten stitches, to knit and knit in reverse direction! However, Rick showed me a more effective way of completing each stitch that speeds up my work.

At home again, sewed both shoulder seams in Kitchener technique so there is no visible shoulder seam, and did the neckline edge to match the cast-on-hem. Have done the left sleeve, picking up from the left shoulder selvage and continuing to work in the modified pattern of eyelet, then at the row beginning the decreases, knitting in the round, so there's no seam in the sleeve either. When I finish the right sleeve, all the finishing that will be left is to sew the selvage of sleeve to the bind off underarm on the body of the sweater.

Can't wait to block it. I'm anxious to see the effect of the silk drape, to block out all the crinkled texture of being wadded up and carted around all over the country, to the hospital and home again, to every knit night for months.

1 comment:

  1. The result of your long labor is beautiful and your model photo is worthy of a fancy knitting magazine !

    I think you just proved the writer of the instructions of "one skein knits all sizes" needs you as their editor.

    Enjoy wearing your lovely sweater, and remember you are an artist !

    with love and admiration,