Sunday, January 27, 2008

Scribblin' and Figgerin'

The Orange Effect hats have now been bestowed on their boisterous and appreciative recipients. I wasn't entirely sure how they'd go over, as the Yarnstruck nephews have reached the age of style-consciousness. But I knew it was going to be OK once they all surged into the house. Little niecey spotted the hats on the coffee table, hollered, hey look what I found! -- and they all fell to dividing up the spoils.

In an unexpected development, little niecey claimed the ribbed watchcap for her own. Luckily, I'd made an extra hat, thinking world's-most-patient-husband might want a second one, which was sacrificed in a good cause. Luckily also, the ribbing makes the watchcap very flexible as to size. So there were hats all around and a good deal of silly mugging.

After that, nothing remained to keep me from my knitting goal of the weekend: break loose the blockage and get going again on the Pine Bark sweater. I'd been flirting with it for the last couple of weeks, playing peek-a-boo with little projects like the hats, but hadn't quite mustered the momentum. Indecision is a besetting sin for me and was the cause for the sweater's having gotten stalled in the first place. But in a burst of determination a few weeks ago, I'd swatched until the remaining basic design decisions were made.

Now it was just a matter of the laborious green-eyeshade- and-pointy-pencil working out of all the precise little details. No big decisions, just a whole lot of little ones. But since I'm making it up myself on this one, nobody was going to do it for me.

So I gathered the swatches and the rulers and the sketches and the notes on scraps of paper and the graph paper -- whew! puff, puff -- and a pointy pencil and set myself to scribblin' and figgerin'. I spread out all over the kitchen table and scratched my head and muttered and made mistakes and erased them and muttered some more.

The sweater having been put aside for a couple of months, it took me a fair amount of muttering and head-scratching just to remember exactly where things stood and what I'd had in mind. One good thing, I guess, about giving a project a long enough nap is that it turns you into your own proof-reader and test-knitter. Having forgotten everything, I had to rediscover it all archaeologically from the artifact itself and any accompanying hieroglyphics. This gave me a fresh set of eyes and a certain detachment.

In fact, in laying out the front neck design, I found I'd made a mistake in the completed back of the sweater, that had been done and tucked away all this time. The neck width would have been an inch narrower than planned, because I'd forgotten to account for two times the edging width in calculating the neck opening. Arggh! But on the bright side, picking out and reknitting half a dozen rows of the back helped me to procrastinate just a little longer on the rest of the scribblin' and figgerin'. And let's not even speak of how big an Arggh that would have been if I had figured it out once the whole sweater was done and ready to assemble!

Getting up to go and wind a fresh skein into a nice apple- shaped center- pull ball provided another helpful diversion.

But finally, delaying tactics exhausted, I set back to work and graphed out the front neck and sleeves. And by golly, I think I got the whole thing pretty much licked.

I grabbed the needles, and the sweater front, which had been halted at the armholes pending the front neckline being sorted out and permission granted to proceed, and got back to knitting.

It was interesting discovering this yarn again as well. This was the Naturally Harmony 8-ply felted merino wool from New Zealand. It's awfully unusual in texture.

Here, see for yourself. It really does seem to be felted, as in what knitters do to shrink and mat a knitted object to a firm, dense texture; not fulled, as in what spinners sometimes do to bring up the soft fuzziness in a woollen-spun yarn. But it's still light and pliable, not at all stiff.

And the important thing is that Pine Bark is finally rolling again. I'm a few inches above the armholes and halfway up the split neck placket. It's going so fast I can feel the wind whistling through my hair! When I say that, of course, just bear in mind that even five miles per hour seems pretty whippy and fast if you've been at a dead standstill for long enough.

Sleeves, here I come!


Two Cables and a Frapp said...

You are so right, your New Zealand yarn doesn't even resemble a merino but it sure looks nice. What fun to have a smorgasbord of knitted objects for loved ones to pick from !!!

Bess said...

Wee Ha! Nothing like breaking through a mental log jam. I can't wait to see the finished project.

thanks for stopping by TheCastle, too.