camping

I am not a camping sorta person. I’d rather be in a hotel room with three thousand thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and a shower, but whatever. Tomorrow we go camping.

I spent the day packing. First, some light reading.

Stillwater, and other light reading.

Then, some current projects.

we call them pirates

Above, We Call Them Pirates, by Hello Yarn, free here. Below, a sock for Jerry waiting for it’s mate.

big mexiko

I’m also bringing my second handspun yarn to make a second Ganomy.

trodden

Actually, I knit most of the hat tonight at knitting group. Sadly, I have no updated photo yet. Perhaps I’ll finish it on the way, then I can make Gerald take a picture of me on the Mile High Swinging Bridge in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

For my just-in-case, you-never-know project, I’m bringing a ball of Cascade 220 for a Seaman’s Cap. There is no possible way I will run out of things to knit.

another cap?

But if, perchance, I do run out of things to knit, I’ve already mapped all yarn stores within a 20 mile radius of the campground. I’ve called in advance to be sure of the hours of operation, and have the phone numbers handy if I get lost on the way.

knitting bag

Now maybe I should, like, pack the rest of the stuff we’ll need.

83 and sunny

Secret Inside Joke Picture for Holly

(h-spo to the t, this picture is for you)

Yup, it is 83 degrees and sunny today and my wool sweater is finished. There is much to say. I don’t blame you if you skip all the text and just look at the pictures. There will be headings, if you want to read selectively.

Feelings
The overwhelming feeling I have is pride. I know that people knit sweaters every day and they’ve been doing it quite a while. But for my first sweater I’m allowing myself to feel proud and a little boastful. At least for a minute or two.

Technical Things
Pattern: Based on Plan 12 – Sweater with Full Yoke in Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts and Deborah Robson. I made up the color patterns by using charts from books, then graph paper and crayons.
Guage: 5.33 sts/inch over stockinette, 5.5 sts/inch over colorwork.
Size: Fits ME!
Needles: US 5, US 3 for hem facings.
Yarn: Brown Sheep Top of the Lamb in colors Graphite (the heathery brown), Natural, Oak (dk brown), and Blue Blood Red.
Start: Actual knitting began March 11, 2007 after months of planning in my head and on paper.
Finish: April 29, 2007

finished-smiling.jpg

Feelings
My favorite thing about this sweater is that it came out just exactly how I wanted it to.  I made sketches early in the planning process and the sweater actually looks like the sketches.  Imagine that.

Short Row Shaping & Raglan Decreases
Not sure where I read about it, but immediately after I joined the sleeves and the body, I decreased for about five rounds as you would for a raglan style sweater.

finished-raglan-shaping.jpg

There was an unreasonable number of stitches on the needles and decreasing away eight on every other round seemed like an okay idea.  The short-row shaping is also pictured above, but you can’t see it and I believe this is a good thing.  I used a technique that PGR describes as her “favorite short-row technique.”  There is no wrapping involved; instead, when you knit the first round after completing the short-rows, you fold the work to expose the back side when you come to the gap, and tighten the slipped stitch.  Hard to explain, confusing to execute, beautiful result.  I messed up the first time and had to unravel and do the short-rows a second time.  This set me back about three days, but I’m glad I fixed it.

I made five sets of short rows just before starting the yoke pattern, and did not do any back of neck shaping.  Worked like a charm.

More Feelings
When I finished, I wanted to call my sister, my mom and my grandma.  I wanted to notify my second cousin once removed.  I thought about writing to the local paper, or maybe making an announcement over the loud speaker at the grocery store.  The postman drove by and I wanted to tell him.  I’ll stick to telling you, for the postman might not see the beauty in a hand knit sweater…

finished-mag.jpg

The Steeks & Zipper
Honestly, the steek was no big deal.  There are great examples of steeks online, and resources as well so I felt good about doing it.  I only left 4 steek stitches, which I later realized was not really enough.  The yarn is pretty sticky so I don’t think it will be a problem, but next time I’ll use more.  You can see the fuzzy ends sticking out from under the zipper.

finished-inside-zipper.jpg

The top of the zipper is the only part of the sweater still unfinished.  Not sure exactly how to deal with it.  I also might sew some grosgrain ribbon over the back of the zipper to hide my stitching, but I sort of like to look at the stitching (it took a while, and I’d like to acknowledge it).

Feelings, again
I loved this project even though it took me a really long time.  Next time I make myself a sweater I’ll just find a nice pattern and follow directions.  There were many times I wished I had done just that.

Thank You
I must thank Gerald for the pictures.  He was not very enthusiastic about having a “photo shoot.”  I told him when the sweater was nearing completion that I would need his help getting a good picture of me wearing the sweater.  I left out the part where getting a good picture would mean taking a whole bunch hoping that one would be usable.  He was a good sport.

finished-side.jpg

 

finished-colorwork.jpg

 

Sadly, I’ll have to fold up my sweater soon and put it away for the summer.  First, though,   I’m going to enjoy it a few more days.

 

 

 finished-folded.jpg

 

 

 

private side

yoke-finished-inside.jpg

Have you heard? I’m knitting my very first sweater for myself. Going in, I knew that this would not be the project to take the easy way out. I’ve tried to take my time, make good decisions, and do it right.

I knit more guage swatches for this sweater than ever before in my life. I washed my swatch. I measured it every way I could think of measuring it. I measured myself and tried to be honest about it, hard as it was to know those measurements.

When the first sleeve – knit to my exacting calculations – was looking a bit large, I took the time to re-measure, unravel and try again.

yoke-finished-inside2.jpg

It took months to work out the exact design for the yoke, and once I was finished I stuck with it even as second thoughts crept into my head. You should see all the pages of notes I have for this project!

The calculations for the yoke decreases had me pulling my hair out. Not rocket science, but I wanted to make sure I was understanding all of it and not missing anything.

I’m getting awfully excited because I can see the finish line. In anticipation I’ve shared with you the private side of the sweater that I am increasingly proud of. I’m dying to show off the public side, but I’ll hold back until it’s all finished.

yoke-finished-inside3.jpg

There’s much to do – finishing the neckline, weaving the ends, blocking, steeking (!), sewing the hems, turning up the air conditioning so I can wear it around the house continously, sewing in the zipper, etc, etc. Though I feel a rush to finish, I’m gonna try to keep my head, take my time, and do it right.