Sunday, August 24, 2008

Speedy Gonzales, the maturing sweater knitter

I used to see sweaters as a huge commitment, as if when perusing through pattern books and magazines and websites all the sweaters had "neverending wip" duplicate stitched right on the front. I'd admire the design and picture myself wearing them and even put them in my Ravelry queue. I'd also fret that I'd spend my whole paycheck on the yarn. So you can understand my surprise, now, when I stepped back and realized how far I've suddenly progressed in my most recent sweater. I had almost banished it to hibernating status when I picked it up again after finishing a whole bunch of wips recently. The sweater is the ever-popuar Tilted Duster by Norah Gaughan.

I know what you're thinking my loyal blog readers, didn't you already finish this? Yes, yes I did. I made it last year at the height of its popularity. Here is a very graceful picture of me with the finished product: I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease in this beautiful blue heather. I started the project when I was oblivious to yarn quality. While I have and will use this yarn in the future, it didn't fit this project. I needed to block the stockinette parts flat, which a yarn with 80/20 acrylic/wool just won't do. Plus, I didn't like the drape and I made it one size too big. I ended up giving it to my best friend and it fit her like a glove. There are few people I would give something to that I invested so much time and energy in, and I knew she would treasure it.

So this time I'm using Cascade 220, which I find drapes better. and the stitches are somehow more even. hmm... maybe that has more to do with my increased skill since last year, my increased knitting maturity if you will. (I have only been knitting for a couple of years).

Here are the pieces so far:
So back to my startling realization: I am just flying through this. I thought sweaters were supposed to take forever unless they were knitted with bulky yarn. I'm halfway through the skirt, and then just have to do the collar and sew on the sleeves. I think for the collar I'm going to set the first buttonhole lower so that the points of each front truly come together with no gap. I saw on Ravelry that a lot of people had done that. I could in theory finish it this week.

Another awesome thing about this project is that I think I will actually have some yarn LEFT OVER. I know what you're thinking, big deal. Well for someone who always finds herself scrambling and fidgeting through that last ball to see if it will be enough, and then finding out it isn't and I have to somehow find another to buy in the same color and similar-enough dyelot, it is a big deal! You should have seen me last week at AC Moore. I was on the floor with my almost finished lotus blossom tank and 5 balls of the same color yarn trying to figure out which dyelot matched the best. By the way, after trying many methods including knitting a few stitches with each ball (which I'm sure the employees there would have LOVED) I found a good method for finding a close-to-matching dyelot. I laid a yarn end with then ends of each of the five balls together on a white receipt I found in my purse, and eliminated one at a time until I had the one I wanted. I found that when you take away the most contrasting ones first, you are better able to see the contrast between the ones left. I haven't showed you the lotus blossom tank yet, for two related reasons: I don't like how it turned out (my gauge was off and I don't think I picked the right yarn) and I haven't woven in then ends yet. Right now it is just hanging out in a bag somewhere.

So back to the discussion at hand. When I finish the tilted duster, I will only have two wips left, the Jeanie reversible cable drop-stitch shawl (which IS taking forever) and the ripple afghan.

This weekend I started and finished a trio of cacti from the most recent Crochet Today.I used random leftovers and I think they turned out so cute! Amy had a pattern in this issue too. These wonderful crocheted socks using the new Red Heart sock yarn, Heart & Sole. I watched her make them and made sure the girl ringing me up knew it. Politely :) Coincidentally, I realized later, I bought that new yarn at the same time I bought the magazine. I think I'm going to knit it though instead of crochet it. Sorry, Amy. I really want to see the self-striping-ness! I think Red Heart is realizing their bad reputation because this new yarn is not scratchy acrylic but 70/30 superwash wool/nylon. And softer than some $20 balls of sock yarn. They have another new yarn called Eco Cotton, which I think is 100% organic cotton. I also picked up Patons Bamboo Silk, which is 70/30 (duh) bamboo and silk. It is so soft! I think I'm going to make a lacy scarf with it.

So that's how my knitting is this week. Heidi and I are off to the Takoma Farmer's Market, and then I plan to take my last dip in the pool for the summer (I'm going to NYC next weekend). I finished the Friday Night Knitting Club this morning so I'm off to start my next book: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle Eastern Conflict. I want to be able to truly understand what is going on over there. Tonight I'm going to Wolftrap, which looks like it's going to be an amazing time. I'll keep you posted on the sweater.


Amy said...

The new tilted duster is looking awesome--you are Speedy Gonzales!! I also love the cacti--I may have to make some of those if I ever get my copy of the magazine--media mail takes forever to get here. :-(

Alena said...

Great job..! Love your outfit