Sweater, Interrupted; Or, How My Search for a Needle Made Me Finish a Sweater

My wayward US 6 Addi Lace is to blame for what happened last weekend.

When in doubt, blame the needle.

See, I caught the lace bug a few days ago, and decided to pick up a long neglected project.

This makes total sense, I assure you…

That incoherent jumble happens to be the starting strip of Jared Flood’s Rock Island, worked up in some superwash merino/bamboo blend handspun. While Jared Flood’s Rock Island is, of course, spectacular, my personal Rock Island and I had a series of misunderstandings last year that led to a big ‘ole time out.

But we were on our way to a tentative reconciliation last week when I realized I couldn’t find that all-important US 6 Addi Lace.

Serious. Problem.

I looked high, I looked low….all to no avail. I began to suspect sabotage…

“I was framed…”

…when genius struck. Into the closet, hanging in a tote bag,¬† entangled in a mass of red, organic merino cables…

I promise, it’s actually red, not pink.

…was the wayward US 6. And my Military Cardigan, just waiting for a collar and placket and some finishing work.

I then found myself faced with another dilemma: Steal the needle back — forfeiting the many, many, many stitches I had picked up for the collar on this almost-finished sweater — so that I could knit on the lace. Or just finish the damn sweater.

With a sigh, with determination to just be done with it, with stash reduction in mind, I decided to finish the damn sweater.

I knit on Thursday, staying up way too late to knock out just another row of baby cables.

I knit on Friday, all through the London opening ceremonies while hanging out with Emilee.

I knit on Saturday, while hanging out with The Dude.

I knit on Sunday, before and after a trip to the farmer’s market for lunch and fresh produce.

On Monday, I set in and seamed the sleeves.

And today, I washed.

Voila

And that’s how my search for a needle led to a shiny new finished sweater!

The end ūüôā

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Like a Hug, Only Tweedier

Quite some time ago…probably going on a couple of years now…the infamous purveyor of amazing things known as School Products had a sale.

Well, such a momentous occasion couldn’t go uncelebrated, so I indulged a little. Okay, maybe more than a little. But they had camel and yak and laceweight cones…oh, my, it just couldn’t be helped! They also had these gigantic cones of¬†Italian tweed–wool, cotton, silk and rayon all blended together.

Hello, Tweed!

How could I say no?

Well, this tweed has lingered for a while. At one point, it was on its way to becoming Smokin’¬†(Rav link) for my stepfather, but it quickly became clear that even this huge cone wouldn’t be enough to make a sweater that would fit a man as large as my stepfather.

So, it sat around a while longer, before I finally decided that the time  had come to try to make a dent in this stuff. Send in the Big Sack Sweater.

Tweed and cables are like peas and carrots

There’s no shaping here. Nothing fancy or lacy. It’s a simple raglan sack of¬†a sweater that’s ridiculouly warm and downright cozy.

I added a couple inches to the body length here, and probably could have added a couple more. It’s still a tad short in the back for me, but it works. I also added length to the sleeves, and they’re just perfect.

I was worried about the wool content. The rolled collar rests right against my neck. The wool content must be pretty low in this, though, because it softened significantly after a bath and a good soak in conditioner and it hasn’t caused me any itchies so far.

Sorry, this is the best shot I could get…

I decided to seam,¬†rather than changing it to knit in the round, for a couple reasons. First, I really like the structure that seaming gives to a sweater. I think it holds together well and just fits more like I want it to. Second, I love the mattress stitch. I don’t know why. Can’t really explain it. But taking all those pieces of a sweater and seaming them up, watching the stitches just slide in next to each other all snug…well, I really enjoy it. And this one was no exception.

So, there you have it. Another sweater successfully finished. And that cone of tweed? Well, after frogging the remnants of Smokin’, you can barely tell I even made a dent it the thing. I think it might turn into a much-altered version of the Estes Vest¬†(Rav link)…maybe even with sleeves!

BTW, the mini mittens from the previous post were made using this pattern (Rav link), with a couple small changes. I reversed the thumb increases on the second mitten to that they would be a matching pair, instead of identical twins. From start to finish, they took about an hour and a half to make, and they barely made a dent in the scrap ball of sock yarn.

The palm shot, for scale

 And, they are just freaking cute!

The Circle of Gifts

Hey! Some groovy socks!Since I’m becoming more and more known in the family for the knitting, gifts have become more and more…yarn oriented.

There are many benefits to this. And not just for me.

Take, as exhibit one, the last big holiday. I got a gift certificate to the LYS from Mom. With that certificate, I bought yarn, including the J. Knits sock yarn. With the sock yarn, I knit the Annetrelac socks. Which I gave to Mom. Who loves them dearly.

I’m calling it the Circle of Gifts. Give the gift of yarn, get the gift of a handknit, give more yarn. It works.

Exhibit 2: I frogged Mariah. She just wasn’t working with the huge cone of School A pile of tweedProducts tweed. Instead, the tweed decided it totally wanted to be Smokin’ from Son of Stitch n’ Bitch and it wanted to be for my stepdad.

So far: perfect fit. This yarn wants to be this sweater. And I can’t put it down. The inches are just cranking out. It’s a simple construction, but stepdad is super excited about it.

And, he gave gifts…

Manos

¬†…thereby ensuring…

Squishy alpaca

…that the Circle of Gifts continues.

BTW: Those entrelac socks were a blast to knit. They were the fastest pair of socks ever. The only mod was on the toe. I screwed up the first one, and graft it over 40 stitches instead of 20. Didn’t realize it until I finished the second sock. Then realized that I liked¬†the fit of the¬†messed up toe better. So, rip rip rip went the 20-stitch toe and in its place went the 40-stitch toe. A good move too. Mom keeps raving about the comfort. She may be a handknit sock convert.

Knitter’s Magic

Tangles and tanglesWhat’s driving me crazy now? Finding the right buttons.

I’m thinking wood. Or bone. Or horn. Or a combination of one of the three with brass.

But I’ve yet to find the one that really makes me go, “Wow! That’s it!”

Ah, dilemmas.

Where's my buttons?Tangled Yoke is just¬†crying for some buttons, though. Very badly. Especially now that she’s all washed and blocked and pretty. The stitches didn’t even out quite as well as I’d hoped they would, but I have a good feeling they’ll get better with wear.

Or with a good trip through the washing machine. I have an even better feeling that hand washing isn’t going to cut it with this one.

This is pretty workhorse stuff.

Sproingy and Smooshy Lace

What isn’t workhorse is this lace-weight Malabrigo. It’s as delicate and beautiful as it comes. And the flame lace pattern is working perfectly with the colorway. I’m digging this project. Hardcore. After a stressful weekend, one of those weekends where you actually can’t wait to go back to work on Monday, this was exactly what I needed.

I haven’t done much lace, beyond the Razor Shell Lace Scarf of Doom that is, but what I really love about it is how downright homely it looks while you’re knitting on it. Then, when it comes time for a blocking, it’s like knitter’s magic.

I tried to explain it to my non-knitting mother, about how that one little hang was going to produce a sizeable piece of knitting and about how some fibers have memory. Totally over her head, one of those yeah-right-sure-thing-like-I’d-buy-that responses.

Knitter’s magic, I say.

What also helps with a rough weekend? Four-inch blue suede stilletos on sale at Macy’s. Plus a coupon. More on those later…

What really helped with this rough weekend? The return of Radio 104. A whole lot more on that later too…

Therapies

Weasel!!!!Since, for many reasons,¬†I’ve reached the point of total physical, mental and emotional exhaustion, I’ve taken to immersing myself in the things that I enjoy the most: my family, my knitting, new yarn, the weasels, Madori, and work (because despite the high-stress, I really love my job).

As such, not only have I kicked some serious tail at work, I’ve managed to make some serious progress on Tangled Yoke.

It's a sweater!All this puppy needs now is a second button band, some super rad buttons, and a good washing. I’m psyched that it’s coming along so well now, and the few modifications that I made to the pattern are definately working.

Course I did have to break down and¬†spring for a couple new needles. I welcomed a US 0 32″ Addi Turbo and a US 4 32″ Addi Turbo to the needle stash. And while I was at the LYS, well, how could I not engage in a little retail therapy? A hank of Malabrigo lace weight and 5 skeins of Claudia Hand Paint fingering weight came home with me. The Malabrigo’s for a lace scarf; the Claudia for Eunny Jang’s knee-high entrelac socks, a pattern I’ve been drooling over since I got my copy of the spring Interweave.

This is on top of the tweed and merino lace weight¬†cones and the¬†yak and camel skeins I also ordered from School Products. Bad little yarn stasher! I’ve been drooling over their Web site for quite a while and could no longer resist the urge to place an order and check Why me?them out. Plus, some of their coned yarn is on sale…perfect timing. If I like the quality, I may have to spring for one of those $50 silk cones…or a slightly more expensive cashmere cone. Ooooohhh, cashmere…

I’ll have some lovely new yarn photos to share¬†when the order comes in.

Despite the freaked-out look on Madori’s face in the first photo, she was raised with the ferrets. I don’t know why she gave Buddha such a wide-eyed worried glare, other than the fact that the bed is her turf, but it’s an awesome shot.

She was supposed to be a skunk for Halloween, but her costume’s a bit small and she hates it anyway. I think she looks pretty darn cute as Intellectual Madori in my glasses, though.

She’s probably secretly plotting her revenge…