Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Trotting to Avalon

Hooray for rain. Sun, begone! Because the recent chilly murky windy weather makes it ok to wear my new hoodie. All the time. Indoors. With the hood up. I seriously may never take this off.

This is definitely my favourite thing that I've made so far for comfort value. The yarn, Sublime Extra Fine Merino, feels really, really nice next to the skin - light and soft like cotton, but warm like wool. When I die I want to fall into a big pile of this yarn, maybe with some puppies mixed in.

The pattern is Riding to Avalon, although for me it was accomplished at something of a trotting pace. I set off on the journey last autumn and dismounted several times along the way. On some occasions the horse went backwards and it only really managed to break into a gentle canter in the last couple of weeks. This final burst of speed only happened really because it was getting quite embarrassing pulling out the same jumper again and again at knitting group - the hood had only grown by about an inch during the time it took a friend to make an entire wrap cardigan out of 4 ply. So essentially the hood is knitted from Shame and sewn up with Rubbishness. And it shows! The hood is a bit wonky. Unfortunately I think this happened at the point where I picked up stitches around the neckband - I must have picked up more on one side than the other, because the centre line is a little off-kilter. So to fix it I would need to unravel a good couple of months worth of telly knitting, and now Mad Men has finished I'm not sure I have the inclination to redo it. So for now, it will remain wonky. It doesn't bother me that much - if I have to have the hood up, I'm probably out in extreme weather conditions, in which case I am not too worried about my appearance. Or doing a drive-by, and I wouldn't be too worried about it then either.

buttony sleevegood jumper for dog-ticklingwonky hood

Cock-eyed hood aside, the most remarkable thing about the making of this jumper for me has been the incredible series of strokes of luck when making it. It's almost impossible to even believe the first thing. I accidentally knitted the sleeve cap the wrong way round on the first sleeve, making the buttons on the outside cuff instead of on the inside as the pattern dictated. This is not a particularly obvious mistake, and happened because I mixed up the start-of-row and middle-of-row stitch markers. I looked at it and thought about frogging but then, on reflection, decided that I actually preferred the buttons there. Later when I looked at the pattern page on Ravelry, I noticed with horror that there was an errata. (Erratum?!). But in a stroke of unbelievably good fortune, the errata suggests doing exactly what I had accidentally done. Unfreakingbelievable! And I hadn't seen the errata before so I couldn't have subliminally absorbed and processed this information. I think the gods of knitting were smiling upon me.

As if that wasn't enough, another mindbogglingly fortuitous event occurred. When I got to the hood, I was on my last ball of wool, and starting to panic. There clearly wasn't enough left to finish the thing, and I had bought a load on spesh that was probably cheap because it was discontinued or something. I was too scared to even think about what I was going to do. I mentioned the problem to, like, one person - my friend Britt, who said, Oh I happen to have a couple of spare balls of that exact yarn in that exact shade that I don't need for anything and you are welcome to have. I mean, really... how awesome is that?!? I couldn't actually bring myself to believe it was true until I had seen the evidence with my own eyes... and it was *exactly* the amount I needed to finish the jumper. Britt, you are a superstar... thankyou very very much!

The only thing that I modified (intentionally!) about the jumper was the button loops. The pattern suggested crocheting 16 button loops separately and then attaching them. The idea of this was a bit hair-raising, so I was relieved to discover this method for crocheted button loops (about halfway down the page). I basically slipstitched along the edge, at intervals doing a short chain, slipstitching it down and double crocheting back along. I really like this finish: as well as being much easier to do, it neatens off the slightly raggedy edge and gives a bit of extra sturdiness. My loops are a little twisty as I think I may have been crocheting into the wrong bit of the chain. Yes, I really am that much of a crochet numpty. But I did them all wrong in the same way so at least it's consistent! I quite like the overall effect.

Also probably worth mentioning for anyone else who attempts this is that there was a bit of a roll at the bottom of the jumper despite the few rows of garter stitch - I don't think there were quite enough there to weight down the natural curl of the stocking stitch section. Following Katie's wise advice I gave it a stern blocking and it obediently lay down. I dunno though, if I end up having to do this every time I wash it, it may end up being quicker to add a crochet edging. I am crochet edging queen now! I'm going to edge everything in the world with crochet! Really.

The fit is a little baggy. I don't know whether this is because of my inability to swatch properly, or because I measured myself for this quite soon after giving birth, or more probably a little bit of both. I don't mind though, I think with a casual jumper of this nature you need a bit of positive ease. Well, a lot in my case. *Puts trayful of pies in oven gleefully*.


brittunia said...

It is gorgeous! Well done. And of course, you are so welcome for those serendipitously handy balls of yarn! Just cast on the Diminishing Rib Cardigan from Interweave Knits Spring 09 you lent me with Sublime cashmere merino silk DK. Very excited to be doing a neck-down raglan in such a yummy fiber! Hope you are well and see you soon. x B

Manuel said...

move to will get to wear it all year round.....