Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A day's work

Last week it dawned on me that yet another winter (or at least the Oklahoma approximation thereof) is on its way and my grey cabled cardigan is still a goal rather than something I can wear to keep warm. Rather than beat myself up over this, I decided to make a sweater on my knitting machine -- something nice and cozy, something that will keep me warm and be fun to wear, but that won't take up too much of my project time.

I decided to use some yarn that was given to me back when I lived in Michigan. I was told it was handspun but I'm not sure about that. If not handspun, it might be small-farm spun. It's a fairly coarse wool with more bits of hay than strictly necessary, in a nice dark sheep's brown. It's a heavy worsted two-ply that knits up at 4 stitches to the inch. It would make a lovely jacket if I had two more skeins of it. Because I don't, I've done nothing with it for about 14 years. There's plenty for a nice vest, but the yarn is too coarse and too heavy for a vest. What to do? Last week I suddenly thought of Scandinavian women's wadmal jackets with knitted sleeves. I'd make a solid colored body and completely different sleeves.

I retrieved the yarn from its storage location -- inside an old picnic basket in the garage. This turned out to be a less than ideal storage site; at some point insects have been having their way with the yarn, though half-heartedly. I could only find two spots that looked chewed on, so I washed it up and hoped for the best. Then I waited until today -- Wednesday is my least-scheduled day.

My day in pictures:

6:30 a.m . : looking at inspirational pictures:

9 a.m. : time to get started. It helps that years ago I made a large swatch marked with key plate sizes:

10 a.m. : pattern for the back has been written:

10:45 a.m. : yarn has been wound (also, dishes done, beds made, cats fed, etc.):

You can see how much debris flew off in the winding. One skein ended up in five small balls but the rest seemed pretty sound. The proof is in the knitting, though.

It took me a while to find all the bits of the machine and get things set up. I started knitting around 11:30, then spent about an hour doing a hem because I really like a purl folding row. A picot hem is much faster but seemed inappropriate for this project.

2:30 p.m. : by the time I had to go get the kids; I was up to the armholes. After school we went to the library but did get home in time for me to knit a little more before dinner. This picture is at about 6 p.m.:

8 p.m. : after dinner I finished the back. Just as I was finishing the bindoff, Charlotte came out to investigate and fell in love with the claw weights:

She spent about 20 minutes moving them here and there! After she went to bed, I took the back off the machine:

So here's the back. I am bothered by the way the hem flips up, and there's a break in the yarn that needs to be darned, but all in all it looks pretty good. I didn't expect it to take me 12 hours, but still -- a good day's work.

Tomorrow: the fronts. I wish I had the energy to write out the bust darts tonight, but I'll be lucky if I can stay awake long enough to do the dishes.

1 comment:

Caroline M said...

I think I'm most impressed by the fact that you not only found the swatch but had got the notes that went with it.

Have you finished now?