Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Sweater

Disclaimer this is not running related, there may be some random running thoughts... as I start this I'm really not sure where it is going to go.

Intermingled with my weekly recaps are notes on if my knitting student shows up or not or I get to run an extra day because she gave me a heads up or I brought my running gear in that day.  

From my knitting notebook it appears we started on this sweater in November or January of 2013 based on the entries previous and later I'd lay money on November.  With my handwriting it isn't always easy to tell.  The second of November was a Saturday and I imagine I started the week before Rory so I could get a feel for the pattern.

I have a few projects I intermingled in the last nearly 2 years working on this sweater.  My knitting note book tells me 5 scarves, 5 dog sweater and 8 baby sweaters.  The next half of my knitting notebook is going to be better organized.  I'm pleased I remembered to get the pattern name and the date, I'll work on the  yarn and the needles going forward.

I'm a wing it and see how it works knitter, I will blindly follow the directions hoping that at some point they make sense and I get in a rhythm. If it doesn't work I rip it out and start over keeping in mind what seemed to throw me and usually try 2 is right. You know how you just know, this isn't right, yet you keep going?  Yeah, that's me.  Rory is a read all the directions first and make a plan and ask a lot of questions I can't possibly answer until I have the yarn and needles in my hands.  I knew this was going to be the case from the beginning so I knew I wasn't going to be able to help her unless I knitted the sweater along with her. I did my best to stay well ahead but not too far ahead so that I could still remember what I did and try and decipher my notes. 

If you are still with me and not a knitter, knitting instructions are like stereo instructions.  Boring and crazy.  And it is a lot of tiny words crammed on to a page and bizarre shorthand.  

The red circles are me circling the size of the sweater I am knitting - and no a secret decoder ring is not issued, you gotta figure it out on your own!!

Usually with a sweater you start with the sleeves you can work out all your issues with gauge and tension and get into the rhythm of the knitting, sleeves are usually pretty basic.  Well these started with short rows.  Ugh... no... short rows mixed up with cables and a precision knitter, that is a recipe for me losing my wing it and see how it goes mind.  We started with the back.  This presented it's own problem as there is a split in the back so you knit half first and then the second half and then join them.  

The back of the sweater, I have the right sleeve sewn in.  You can see the split, and then you can see the decreases to give this thing a nice shape!  Fortunately the knitting wasn't too tricky even with the decreases.  Then you go to shaping the arm holes (see the left side of the picture) and you ran into decreases up against a cable although this wasn't as bad as for the front.

My fear the whole time knitting this sweater was it was not going to fit me.  I will report that with the right sleeve sewn in it fits lovely!  Big relief.

So the back went well and there was some tricky decreasing for the neck, you can't really see in the picture but the neck bind off is about 10 rows below the shoulder bind off.  We made it through the back with little insanity on my part.

Then it was on to the front.  These were going to be more tricky.  I started the front, um dunno, but I finished them on 11/1/14 (I can clearly read my handwriting)  so a year later and I have the fronts done and the back done.

The front requires the Right Front to be knitted the opposite of the Left Front and also button holes in the Right Front.  And some crazy decreasing for the arm holes.

I do have pictures of the fronts on a blocking board, however these below turned out much nicer. The right front has the sleeve sewn in and the side seam sewn (the second picture)  The left is only sewn at the shoulder seam (first picture) you can see a bit of the crazy decreasing to the right dimensions for the sleeve!

Left front only sewn at the shoulder and left sleeve unsewn

Right front and right sleeve sewn in

The last thing we did were the sleeves.  I started this on 11/1/14 and restarted them a week later because I clearly had messed up the short rows to make the nifty point at the bottom of the middle cable.  I was ok with that.  My short row experience is limited to the heels and toes of socks and frankly I knew I wasn't nailing it and those don't need to look perfect anyhow.

There was a lot going on with the sleeves, first you have the short rows to make the point, then you have to decrease a bit and increase in the center and on the edges to get to the gather of the cables.  Then after the cables there is increasing between the cables and at the edges until you hit the point where you have to shape the shoulders.  This was probably going to be my undoing, reading the directions ahead of time made it impossible to wrap my mind around what was going on.  One sentence at a time was confusing, there were a lot of "and at the same time" going on.  Just go with me here if your not a knitter and still with me.  It's difficult, not explaining color to a blind person difficult, explaining bike shifting to a new bike rider difficult.  Once they get it they get it.

I finished the sleeves on 6/27/15.

I started sewing it up the next week. I'll finish in a few more weeks.  I like the company of Rory to chat with while I sew.  She will help me with the crochet edgings and hopefully by November I'll have a new sweater!!

Beth, and that's the story of the sweater


  1. Love the color - that is going to be GORGEOUS on you! Maybe I"ll fly up and see it in person. :D

  2. I have never tried knitting, but I bet it can be relaxing. I did used to cross stitch and found it peaceful.. unless I messed up of course. Beautiful sweater!

  3. You lost me at knitting - Lori knits like a fiend, and the instructions for those outfits make me want to open a vein...but she's happy so I shut my yap :)