May 24, 2007

FO: Cable Cardi

Let me take you back to Spring '06, to my pre-blogging days...The Knitting Olympics had recently wrapped up. Crash had just won the Oscar for best picture of the year. When you turned on the radio, you heard "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt or "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter. Early footage of Snakes on a Plane was hitting the internet. Speculation over the veracity of Suri Cruise's birth was rampant. The Republicans weren't expecting to get whupped in November. Heroes was just a twinkle in the eye of NBC...

One day, while in my LYS, I purchased a bunch of Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran I found on sale. I also picked up Knitting on the Edge that day. I went home and impulsively thought up a way to combine an edging from my new book with my new yarn for a sweater. I took some perfunctory measurements. Frivolously, I cast on without having devised a complete plan.

Before I knew it, I had a fairly long back piece. A few, improvised bind offs and decreases later and there was something resembling armhole shaping. Not long after that, a semblance of shoulder shaping existed. Eventually, I had an entirely bound off back piece.

I was still having fun and blissfully unaware that I was in over my head. Naturally, I cast on the front pieces. Right around the time I finished the edging, I realized that I would have to make a decision about button bands. See how blase I was being about this? I hadn't even considered button bands until right then. I decided to continue a garter stitch border to avoid having to pick up button bands some day. It's a defendable decision and one I don't regret. But it's also another example of the lackadaisical approach I was taking to this so-called sweater.

I made similarly informal decisions about where to start the V-neck and the rate of decreases for the V-neck. Otherwise, I just copied what I'd done on the back.

By the time I had the two front pieces bound off, a suspicion began to creep up on me. A suspicion that this project was about to seriously hit the wall. Because while I now had a back and fronts which seemed reasonably acceptable, I had committed myself to set-in sleeves. It was dawning on me that I didn't really know how to shape a sleeve cap and was therefore headed for trouble. I pushed the suspicious aside and tried to keep going on making this sweater.

I sewed the fronts to the back and promptly realized that the garter stitch bands on the fronts didn't have anything matching on the back. So, I picked up stitches along the back of the neck and worked a few rows of garter stitch and then sewed the edges of that to the garter stitch button bands. Another random decision, but it's not half bad in light of that.

To continue procrastinating the sleeve issue, I went out and bought some buttons. But after that, there really wasn't anything left to do but start the sleeves.

I cast on for the sleeves, which was actually quite bold considering that by now, I was fully aware that I was about to be stumped. I found this Knitty article, which really only served to frighten me. (This other Knitty article, the one that Ali pointed out to me, the one which ultimately saved me, I did not find.)

So there I was in the Spring of Ought Six with the first sweater of my own design hopelessly out of my reach. I did the only sane thing there was to do. I shoved all the bits and pieces into a ziploc bag, buried said bag in the stash and forgot all about it.

Flash forward to Spring '07. By now I have a blog. Out of nowhere, I start thinking about this sweater again. One day, when I've got nothing else to write about, I dig up the sweater and share it with the blog.

What followed was an amazing and wonderful wealth of advise and encouragement. You guys gave me the tools and motivation to dive back in and finish the sweater. Thank you!!

All in all, it came out better than I expected. I don't completely love the way the shoulders and sleeve cap all come together, but I can definitely live with it. And I learned so much! Meanwhile, the length of the body and sleeves are perfect and the overall fit is pretty much exactly what I was going for. I've already been wearing it often. It is ideally serving it's purpose of something to throw over a tee shirt when I need just a touch more warmth.

I feel so much better now this is finished and I'm happy with my new sweater. Thank you all, again, for giving me the help and kick in the pants I needed to get this done.