Monday, March 19, 2007

Tipping Point

I've been thinking a lot about that dreaded moment when a knitter knows that all of those beautiful stitches have to be ripped. If you've been reading about my adventures with the Top Down Raglan, you know that I've started over twice. Then I went ahead and jinxed myself by writing "third time is the charm". Very bad! On Friday afternoon, I realized that I was spending equal amounts of time examining the blemishes in my work, as I was knitting. I know that that's my particular tipping point. Off the needles it came. So what, you say. I'll tell you so what! I'm making the 48" bust. There were over 400 stitches on those needles. That's right, nearly twice the number than the sweater that most of you are making. So, here I am with almost 400 new stitches on my needles and I'm not spending any time looking this way and that at real or imagined imperfections. I figure that if this sweater looks awful when it's done, I'm going to impale it on a pike and stick it in the ground outside my window as a reminder. (I've been watching too much Rome on HBO) A reminder of what, you ask?
1. Lose some weight, blubber butt!
2. Don't fool yourself about your tolerance for a mistake when it's close to the beginning.
3. Fix it or rip it before you have 400 stitches
4. Don't make any mistakes that you can't live with, after 400 stitches and 12 inches of knitting.
5. If you can't follow these rules, stop knitting sweaters for yourself. Stick to other stuff or sweaters for teeny tiny bodies, like children and stylishly slender daughters.

All in all, this sweater would be finished by now, if I had followed even one of these rules. Another little irritant is the @#%&*#$ gorgeous yarn! It goes along all lovely, smooth and compact, then explodes into something akin to pencil roving. I'm getting quite good at spit splicing:-[

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


When I purchased this Silk Dream, I knew that it was a softly spun yarn. I have to admit, that although I still love the color and the feel, it is a little more imperfect than I supposed. I tried to capture the loveliness of this yarn in the new photos, but I'm not sure my camera and/or my skills are capable. What am I trying to say? This sweater is going to look a little more "rustic" than the model sweater. Is that ok with me? Absolutely! After all, I'm looking a little more rustic these days, as well.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Third and Final Yarn

I have trouble with linear thinking when it comes to most things. My thoughts jump around too much. Ideas pop into my head at inopportune times. What does this have to do with knitting this sweater? Funny you should ask. When I started the pattern for the umpteenth time, this time with the Peruvian silk, I kept thinking that it felt a little crunchy, maybe even a little abrasive, but I kept on knitting. After all it came from my stash, it was a great color and I really liked how it was knitting up. This little voice in my head kept irritating me. Nag, nag, nag; this yarn is too scratchy, it said. My fingers were instigating this chant, but I wasn't ready to admit it. So I asked myself; WWCD (what would Clara do?) I decided to follow the formula Clara Parkes uses when reviewing yarn. After washing and drying my swatch, I wore it in my bra. Here are the words describing this experience: irritating, scratchy, red, chafed. Well you get the idea.
So I decided that if I really wanted to knit this sweater, I was going to find a yarn I loved. It just so happened that I had promised to go on a field trip a few towns over with a knitting friend. Within 5 minutes, the Lang Silk Dream in a blue you could get lost in, became my personal lode stone. I tried to look at other choices. The YSO even took me in the back room to look at other yarn. The pull was so strong, I pulled all she had from the cubicle into a basket and took it with me, for fear it would attract someone else.
I love this stuff. It is soft and shimmery, with only a tiny hint of a halo and the color has the kind of depth that makes me drool. It's a little irregular in some spots, and it may pill a little, but I don't care. The stitches are crisp and each stitch reflects light in an irresistible way. It seems more tightly put together that Lorna's Lion and Lamb which has the same make up of 50/50 silk and wool. Did I forget to mention that it literally glides on and off the needles?
Pictures will follow very soon because after all the practice with the pattern and my new perfectly behaved yarn, I'm almost finished with the first diamond.....AGAIN.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Cable-Down Progress

My first progress snap of the first diamond, minus 4 rows. I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this pattern. However, now that I've completed the first diamond, my brain has finally absorbed the symbols and the pattern itself has begun to insert itself into my fingers. It is so strange that after all of these years, this phenomenon eluded me until I began to knit lace.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Cable -Down Raglan KAL

I have been searching and searching for a sweater to knit for myself. I've started at least 5 patterns and even finished the knitting on one. (a huge mohairy mess that sits forlornly, unloved, and unassembled) I haven't wanted to risk buying enough new yarn for a sweater given this track record. This past week, I decided that I had given short shrift to the new Interweave Knits. Instead of flipping each page and saying: "That's pretty, but not for my body", I tried to look at the pictures with more than my usual jaded attitude. The result is that I've started the Cable-Down Raglan. So with fingers and toes crossed, I joined the KAL and after 3 false starts, I have lift off.
I don't usually take pictures until a thing is finished, but I am determined to keep a picture diary of this one.