Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Progress and peace

Today it is about progress, for I have made enough progress to feel ahead on the Brown 'Possum sweater, I remembered and implemented a cunning plan to avoid yet another mobius sweater cast on, I had an a-ha moment when I saw how clearly how if I had just looked carefully at and thought about my knitting I would have realized the hideous truth of the oversize swatch much much earlier. I confess how I invited disaster as I worked the monster swatch. And I have a lovely blue fibre to show .... ordered some time ago and that has been on view on my dresser ... and I'm finally ready to put it away. Winter is nearly here, the temperature outside when we wake is often hovering around 1 degree Celsius (0 is freezing for those in countries which use Fahrenheit), and it seems right to sit and knit. Winter means the days are shorter, its dark earlier, and at the start of winter I always forget that I need to make photos during the daylight - today was one of those days - so sorry for the photo quality.

So this was the monster swatch of the last post, abandoned and thrown aside, while I breathed, slowly and carefully. A full 53 cm across, yes last post I measured it at 50 cm, but when I sat it flat and did an accurate gauge swatch measurement it was a full 53 cm across, a 106 cm sweater, 20 cm larger than I wanted to knit and 20 cm larger than Toby needed. But I'm calm now, relaxed, I have a new sweater underway, look!

As I cast on and knit the new smaller sweater I had one of those Duh! moments, the kind when a slow dull realization dawns. For me it was seeing and knowing that if one knits a 86 cm sweater on 80 cm needles ... there will be only a little gathering (not a lot). Yes, as I cast on and knit the 2nd attempt it dawned on me that an 86 cm sweater fits easily on 80 cm circulars, and what I had knit before was gathered and needed to be squished up to fit on the needles, so I should have recognized there was a problem much much earlier. Duh! Doh! I wonder if I will remember that in future, if I can indeed learn from my mistakes, to do that at least sometimes would be a good thing. So here is the new version sitting on top of the old version. I found as I matched the amount knitting and then exceeded it I felt myself relax and calm - I had mentally caught up, which felt good. I'm nearing the end of the second ball of yarn and you can see that I was not quite ready to ravel the first version, not quite, not yet. You see - I had performed an act of high risk in knitting, one of extreme temptation, of bravery and daring, and in doing so I had invited tragedy, I had woven in my ends-as-I-worked, only the one set of ends, but it was enough, enough to risk the ire of the knitting spirits and to make frogging all the more difficult.

And the mobius sweater cast on? This time I resorted to an age old beginners trick, I worked the first 4 rows of the garter stitch hem with the sweater flat, and then I joined it in the round. Now I have a little dip at the hem, and wee tiny tail of yarn to weave in, I might even keep the wee inverted V, as a reminder and design feature, for now it indicates which stitch marker is the beginning of the round marker.

And fibre, one of the treats of internet knitting communities and all they bring, the friendships and support, the information freely shared, is exposure to things offered for sale, the enablement of stashing and shopping. A few weeks ago it seemed that a certain term was cropping up, Jane spun some beautiful fibe from a verb for keeping warm (vfkw), Super Mike spoke positively of the inspiration of avfkw, there were others, to many others to mention, but I was intrigued and checked out the shop. Once there i was further intrigued, the fibre on offer was from breeds that are not commonly available here in New Zealand. I splurged and ordered a Blue Faced Leicester dyed with indigo, 2oz (50g), called Indigo Sky ( at the time I really wanted Targhee but when I ordered they were out of stock). The fibre arrived quickly and came with a lovely hand written note on the invoice together with a blurb about the characteristics of indigo dyed yarns (blue hands but not permanent). The BFL is soft and yet has one of the largest crimp patterns I've seen in a fibre, I'm looking foward to spinning it, soon. Still it is time for me to put it away, and to return to knitting Nightingale now that I feel in control of Toby's sweater.

Take care
na Stella


Suzanne said...

Congratulations on dealing with the unfortunate,giant, possom sweater. I'm glad that peace has been restored and you are happily knitting along. The BFL does look very lovely.

Knitting Linguist said...

I love BFL, and I love AVFKW's fiber -- so wonderful. Targhee's high on my list, so if I see some there I'll let you know!

Congratulations on getting through the re-casting on for the sweater; it's frustrating to have to do that, but now it looks like you're making lots of progress. Those winter nights are going to be conducive to more knitting, too!

KathyR said...

You are right, winter is finally knocking on our door and I'm sure that Toby's possum jersey take 2 will keep him cosy and warm once it has been finished (which won't be long now, considering the progress you have made already!). Mmmm the BFL does look soft and spinnable. Yum!