Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Palate Cleanser

The handspun sweater project in graduated shades of beige and brown is waiting in the wings, but will have to bide its time a little longer, while I recover from the just-completed Pine Bark sweater project.

I love my new Pine Bark sweater, really I do. But after spending so much time with it, I'm not quite ready to jump straight into another project in beiges. Not just yet. I need to work for a little while with some other color. Then I can come back to neutrals with a refreshed eye and a renewed sense of appreciation.

So the wheel of fickleness has been spun and points to this. At Stitches East last fall, I got a good buy on a bag, 10 skeins, of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky in this indigo color, somewhere between blue and violet. It's made up of merino, microfiber, and a whisper of cashmere, and it's soft and nice to the touch.

It does have some idiosyncrasies, as it turns out, that affect the choice of a pattern. The main one is that this yarn is heavy. I don't mean heavy as in thick and warm superbulky-sized yarn (although it is that, without a doubt.) I mean heavy as in tipping the scales. Avoirdupois. Because of this heavy quality, each 100-gram skein yields only 75 meters of yarn. So, though I didn't notice it at the time, in the heat of shopping in the sensory overload environment that is the Stitches Market, my 10 skeins provide me with a rather limited 750 meters with which to make a sweater.

I scouted around on-line to see what sweaters others have been making in this yarn, and came up mostly with the Debbie Bliss Simply Marilyn sweater, like this one. (It's kind of a dramatic-looking design.) I also saw some comments here and there about the sweater being heavy.

So the pattern would need to be one that can stand up to the weight and not look droopy. It would also need to be a little thrifty on the yarn requirements, to fit in my limited yardage. I found the Debbie Bliss Gemma sweater in a pattern book, and that got me thinking about doing a turtleneck. I finally settled on a slightly more generous-looking one, from Marilyn Saitz Cohen's Knitting Simple Sweaters from Luxurious Yarns book. It's a very simple design, with the euphonious name, "Comfy Winter Turtleneck." Poor thing. That's not a name; it's just a description. I'm tempted to rename it for my own purposes, just so I don't have to refer to it that way during the knitting of it. Of course, I might as well add a couple of touches of my own, while I'm at it. As written, it's a perfectly plain stockinette sweater. I'll at least dab a cable down the front to decorate it.

So now, here I am knitting away again with big US size 11s. Needles the size of kindergarten pencils. And the yarn is heavy, all right. When I pull out a length from the skein, it falls back on the chair next to me with a distinct plop. Superbulky knitting certainly does go quickly, though. I just started on the sweater Sunday evening, and already the back is done. It's not much to look at, however. Just a rectangle with a twisted rib edge.

The yardage is going to be touch and go. The back took three full skeins. The front will take another three. The two sleeves together add up to more square inches than the back, so they'll take three-plus. That means we're cutting into the last skein already before even accounting for the collar. I might as well just face it. The sad fact is that there is not going to be enough yarn for a full, fold-over turtleneck. That's OK, though. I believe this sweater's true destiny is to become a mock turtleneck.

I do hope there will at least be enough yarn left to sew up the seams!

1 comment:

Amy said...

At least the color is completely gorgeous?