Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat...

...Or at least the knitting is progressing.  I procrastinated for the longest time on my dad’s sweater vest, but I am happy to say that I am officially on my way!  I’m not sure if I got hung up with the swatching or with how to go about executing the design of the sweater itself...I’d plan the sweater out, then decide my swatch was at too loose a gauge; then I’d hem and haw around the fear that I might be cutting it close with the sock yarn I’m holding with the alpaca.  I bought all the store had...three balls.  It should be enough, I’m guessing, but I’m not sure.  I’m not exactly an experienced sweater knitter.  I had the idea that I could do the ribbing last and use a different colorway of the sock yarn in a pinch, having one ball on hand.  But then, I needed to learn a provisional cast on.  Blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine.  Basically, I wasn’t starting the sweater.  

Then it all came together with a small answer in the form of the amazing Barbara Walker.  I was in the city and had determined to buy some yarn at a favorite yarn store, having a little bit of store credit.  Dangerous stuff, that is.  Well, wouldn’t you know it, I couldn’t get the new Malabrigo Twist out of my head or my hands, and every yarn felt too cold or too small or too crunchy, or the colors weren’t right...  I was spoiled for anything other than Twist.  Don’t worry, I’ll get over it.  Maybe when the season changes?  Anyway, after a considerable bit of searching through the yarn, I gave in to perusing the books for tips on a provisional cast-on.  Wouldn’t you know, I stumbled upon Walker’s Knitting From The Top.  

It has a delightfully dated picture on the front...that kind of 1980s crafting look that I have trouble believing ever looked stylish.  Not that I'm known for being stylish, but it makes me to laugh.  So does the fact that Ms. Walker has generously provided me with instructions to knit a pair of harem pants in her book.  Well, as luck would have it, she has a pattern for knitting a sweater vest from the top down, which would allow me to save the ribbing for last in its natural course of development!  And to top it off, she uses the very same vest pattern to teach the provisional cast-on that I was hoping to learn, yet over far fewer stitches than if I had used it to cast on the base of the sweater.  Granted, I’m having to recalculate my approach to the garment and the adjustments I was going to make, but I am very excited with the way it should unfold.  After all, I still have high hopes of finishing by Christmas; I figure it is better to get the shoulder and neck shaping done first so I can move into a bit of marathon stockinette knitting for the home stretch. 

I’m quite excited about this sweater; holding two strands together for a sweater is making for a very interesting fabric, particularly in the feel.  It’s not as limp and silky as the alpaca alone, and the special qualities of the sock yarn (bamboo and nylon added) are making for a solid but very comfortable fabric. Not a bit of scratch.  Then of course, the appearance, while not my particular favorite, is interesting.  I like that it’s not super-homogenous...I like that this sweater is an adventure, and what it will be is unique and a bit unknown.

Speaking of the devil procrastination, I finished redoing the ribbing on my old Malabrigo vest this week.  That one goes back over a year!  It may be filling the role of a stand-in Christmas gift, since I know someone who tried it on and wanted it. The originally-planned (and begun) lace sweater may have to wait.  

Here's the feel-good for today, in case you've managed to slog through the rest of this blog.  My landlady bakes the most amazing shortbread.  It has bits of candied ginger throughout, and it simply melts in your mouth!  Like buttah!  I grew up thinking of shortbread as dry and moderately tasty.  This stuff blew me away.  It's such a nice change from the overly sweet brownies and store-bought cookies I get at work.  Sigh.  I'm ready to hit the teahouse!

1 comment:

  1. I had some story credit last week and picked up a skein of malabrigo twist to give it a try. The plan was to knit my brother a hat, but, well, that's not going to happen I don't think.