Sunday, April 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Mommy!

Back at "Christmas" (held in mid-January), I took all my KnitWords magazines and had my mom casually browse through them, to get an idea of what floats her sweaterly boat. She took a real hankering to the shawl collar of one, called Dudette (I think). A fairly simple sweater, knit in one colour, on the standard gauge machine and using the ribber for cuffs and the shawl collar. Labelled "Advanced Beginner", I knew I could tackle it as a surprise birthday present...a month away.
I had some Headwater Wool in the Gauja weight from when I had first gotten the LK150 and thought I was going to make a cardigan with vertical fair isle front bands...and then we put the house up for sale in the middle of it....I was sure I would have enough of this denim blue colour, although one skein turned out to be slightly--but enough--different. I also had white and light blue.I spent a lot of time with my swatch and a calculator. Mom didn't quite fit the closest size, and my swatch didn't quite meet the gauge. At first it didn't seem to be too far off, but some math indicated even 1st over 4" (and whatever the row gauge was off by) was enough to mean that I couldn't do the pattern exactly as written. So much for beginner and quick.The first two pictures I think are to show the difference that blocking can make to the armhole shape.
The knitting, for the most part, was indeed, easy. No patterning, but there was side shaping which I had to do math for. I realized once I got to the armhole that I should have done the side recalculating differently, but it worked out in the end. The left side is blocked, the right side isn't. The dark spots are water spots from my iron.
Feeling confident, and on schedule, after doing the back, I got going on the front. For some reason, right from the start, the front had an attitude. Finally, I got towards the top (doing the neck shaping at the same time as armhole shaping....Oy. If this is Advanced Beginner, then I should move back down to beginner). I think I re-knit the top of the front twice, and then decided I was not going to have enough of the main blue to finish the front, and work it into some sort of pattern for the sleeves/collar. So, I ripped the front back out, down to the start of the non-shaped portion in the middle. I did some more math, and created a striped pattern to go across the narrowest part of the front--to draw the eye to the narrowest part. Got the front finally finished, and there seemed to be more than enough blue now.
I got to work on the sleeves, creating another striped pattern that reflected how much of each colour I had, LOL (I had also edged the front and back with the 'almost' blue). Well, because I combined even and odd number of rows, I was constantly having to take the carriage off and put it back on the other side. And remember to carry up the unused yarns. There were 4 different colours in the sleeves, although the darkest blue is only one row and doesn't show well next to the 'almost' blue.

Next came the shawl collar. OMG. My ribber was having serious attitude problems. I was having serious technical problems. I knew the math would be off, but didn't know how to fix it until I got it knit, and it just would. not. knit. In the middle of all this, the day BEFORE the birthday party, there was a suddenly eruption in family relations and I was caught in the middle, trying to calm sisters-in-law while figuring out how to get the party to happen and how to get the collar to work out. I was not a happy camper. I gave up several times. I knew there was absolutely no hope in having a seamed and finished sweater. I decided to do what any self-respecting knitter would do, and wrap it up nicely anyway. I carefully folded it all up in the box, hiding the waste yarn, and tucking the shawl collar into place, hoping my mom would pick it up by the shoulders to pull it out of the box.Instead, she picked up the collar. Here she is, above, pulling the collar off the sweater...And here, realizing that nothing was attached!Being a good sport, and the experienced mother of a knitter, she took it all in stride.
For awhile, the sweater stayed in time out. It had behaved badly and needed to learn its lesson. Eventually I got back to task, and refigured the collar. Then, refigured it again. During March Break, I did most of the sewing up, hoping to have it finished while we were up there visiting, but didn't quite get it all done. I thought we might go up for the day over Easter, so I cracked my own whip, and got it done.

I was quite please, in the end, at how it turned out. Not what I had envisioned to start with, but I was happy. I didn't give it a bath though, and it's a little itchy, LOL.
We finally got up to my parents yesterday and I presented it to her. I was so glad it fit! LOL. She did find it a little scratchy too, but a vinegar soak should help.

The next sweater I tackled on the Singer 327, was to learn the Knit Contour, so it was to be really simple too. It turned out to be such a great way to knit a sweater, I really, really, really wish I had learned it before taking on this project, as this would have gone a LOT easier if I had known how to use the Knit Contour. However, now I can take the measurements from this sweater, and make a sample pattern just for my mom!!


Mar Heck said...

The sweater turned out really well. Love the blues and your mom looks very happy to be the recipient. Doesn't it seem like the most painful ones cause you to learn the most?

Mar Heck said...

The sweater turned out really well. Love the blues and your mom looks very happy to be the recipient. Doesn't it seem like the most painful ones cause you to learn the most?

Cindy G said...

Well, I think it was worth the effort. It's a very nice looking sweater.

Jan B said...

You did an extremely good job, Tracy.

Be proud!

Jan Burch

Kathy H said...

The stripes really add to the design. You are to be congratulated on your perserverance! I wish my "troublesome" projects would turn out as well.