April 28, 2005

TALES OF HEROIC KNITTING

Sometimes I think the knit-blogging world is overfilled with all of these tales wherein the authors recount how they were knitting along on the Whatever-It-Was, and made a mistake that they didn't notice until much later, then go to great lengths to fix the mistake. Sometimes, cynical me, I think these stories read like a desperate attempt to have a plot twist on what would otherwise be a very straightforward and ho-hum story about knitting the Whatever-It-Was. I mean, do we need another story of someone not paying attention to her knitting and so creating two left-handed mittens?

That said, I am now about to regale you with some stories of the heroic knitting recently done in these parts.
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The Prince Caspian sweater that I'm knitting for the Dulaan Project, now with the front finished and front attached to back at the shoulders using a 3-needle bind-off. Finished today.

Flashback to Sunday morning. Karen, knitting in bed with her cup of coffee at hand, finishes the shoulder shaping on the front of the sweater. This takes several tries, since she keeps messing up and purling on the ribs that should so clearly and obviously be columns of knit stitches. But, eventually, the shoulder shaping is done. Using a 3-needle bind-off, Karen attaches the front to the back. Holds up the sweater to admire her handiwork, and discovers -- the front is a full inch shorter than the back. She then rips out all of the knitting that she has done that morning.

I ripped clear down to where I'd originally separated for the front neck shaping. I added one whole inch to lengthen the entire body of the sweater. Another knitter might've just knitted in that extra inch on the shoulders, but I'm too much of a perfectionist. Reminder: this sweater is from the book Simply Shetland, and the yarn is Jamieson's DK in the color Clyde Blue.

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Anne, modeling her finished Saga Rose cardi. She knitted Saga Rose for herself and the Mossbank sweater for her husband, in honor of their 20th wedding anniversary, which, if my memory serves me, is today! (Congratulations, Anne & Bill!)

This is truly some heroic knitting. She started these sweaters in late January. She knitted Mossbank in one month. She finished Saga Rose a few days ago.

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Inspired by Betts Lampers's shaped sleeve cap in the round, Anne shaped the tops of the sleeves, gave this sweater some shoulder shaping, and matched up the peerie and border stripes. (This is as opposed to what the pattern calls for -- the typical dropped shoulder, with stitches picked up around the armhole and the sleeve knitted downward, which results in a boxier sweater.) Anne writes that she had to rip out and re-do the shoulders three times. Truly some heroism in knitting.

By the way, you are looking at a recently-minted Master Knitter, there. Anne found out last week that she passed Level III. More congratulations are in order!

There was an 11th-hour crisis with her submission. If you scroll down through my archives, you'll see a photo I took of Anne with her Level III binder, Aran sweater, and Fair Isle tam. At that time, I wrote that we thought she might have to re-do some swatch or other, purely as a formality, something the Master Knitter Committee would have her do simply as a hoop to jump through. In fact, she had to re-knit all of her swatches, save for the "circularly knitted lace swatch" (a doily, in any other words). The reason? She'd used what the committee deemed to be the wrong yarn.

This was very upsetting news. Some people who are Master Knitters gave Anne some advice and some pep talks. Anne rallied, and re-knit those 17 Level III swatches in one week -- a Herculean effort! She re-submitted them, and passed. On the re-submit, the Committee Chair noted that her knitting was perfect.

Seeing Anne go through all of this has made me search for the "right" yarn, too. I used Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece for my Level I, and that worked well. I like Cotton Fleece. I'd begun my Level II work using it, but Anne's experience gives me pause. The requirement is to use a worsted weight yarn (unless another yarn is specified, such as a lighter weight yarn for lace swatches). I've gotten worried that the Committee is more conservative and interprets the rules more strictly than it has in the past; I've gotten worried that my precious Cotton Fleece, which knits on a size 6 needle, will be deemed too thin. That's why I showed the photo of Patons Classic Wool and Plymouth Galway on this blog a few entries ago. (Plymouth Galway, by the way, is not easy to come by in the greater Seattle area -- most of the stores prefer Cascade 220, which comes from a local distributor.) So I am experimenting with both yarns, and I'm sure that Two Swans will end up carrying one or the other, in the fullness of time.

Ferals tonight! On the subject of heroic knitting, I'm sure you're wondering what I've decided to do about Sandness. Well, the jury is still out....

Posted by Karen at April 28, 2005 02:32 PM
Comments


I really enjoy this blog because I see some real knitting done here,,, do you know how very much people new to the craft (such as myself) really need to see this type of knitting?
It give us something to aspire to! Goals are good.
When I first started to knit, I never thought it possible for me to even consider an aran ,,,now I do.( I'm looking at Alice Starmore books now!)
Colorwork was something that looked impossible,and totally out of my reach.
I enjoy learning as much as I can about it now. I find working with both hands fascinating though I have a very long way to go.
I read knitting books ( Like EZ) like others read novels.

I have looked at a few other blogs thinking they would somehow give me added inspiration ,,, I love to see what others are accomplishing in this wonderful craft.
My LYS has nothing but scarves and poncho's, no sweaters anymore, so I do not see to much there at all anymore.

I think this sweater is absolutely wonderful,, and I truly admire the skill it took to accomplish such a lovely handknit.
I hope you have a lovely 20th anniversary.
Pam

Posted by: pam at April 29, 2005 03:58 AM

stinks on the prince caspian :-(
your friend anne's sweater is truly lovely!! have to go read the forum now.

Posted by: vanessa at April 29, 2005 11:42 AM

The wrong yarn? THE WRONG YARN???? WTF indeed.

Cute little Caspian sweater, by the way!

Posted by: Janine at May 1, 2005 06:41 PM

Plymouth Galway is a terrific yarn by any standard. Great quality, lots of colors. It knits well, it wears well, it's a great price. It's a true worsted weight, knits up 5 sts/6.5 rows per inch, slightly lighter than 220. (I used size 7's and I'm a pretty "regular" knitter, not too tight, not too loose.) I think you'll be pleased with your washed swatches.

Posted by: terri at May 3, 2005 09:27 PM