Last week, I finished two kids' sweaters and a scarf. I also put a sweater for me (Gisela) into hibernation, hoping that the hibernation faeries will make it fit better. Actually, I've knit a series of short rows onto the front of the thing, giving it kind of a handkerchief front and I need to block it again, since it's all sewn together. But I just can't face the fact that it might not fit the way I want it to. So. Hibernation faeries, please grant me this wish: when I pull this sweater out again, block it and finish the fronts and the collar, make it fit. : )
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Dyeabolical Sops I got from Rachel in July have been grumbling at me to knit them up already.
I looked and looked for a cabled sweater pattern. I swatched and surfed Ravelry. Nothing caught me until late Wednesday night. Pairing this yarn with the wrong pattern would be very sad. Disastrous really, and I had to get it just right.
So, what do I choose? A sweater pattern from an old book with only 4 projects on Ravelry and no pictures of the whole thing knit up, of course. 'Cause that's how I roll.
Gladys Thompson's book was originally published in 1969, and the title didn't include a reference to Aran sweaters. When reprinted in the late '70s, the Aran reference was added. The book explores the knitting of working men's sweaters in the British Isles (Guernseys or ganseys and Jerseys) as well as the later, less utilitarian Aran sweaters made popular in the '20s. There are pictures and loosely written patterns, mostly in one size. What's not to like?
I'm knitting the Print o'the Hoof Gansey pattern, and it'll make up into a 40 inch sweater. Other's have commented that Aran weight yarn knit at this gauge makes for a lovely, waterproof sweater worthy of bike rides and outer wear. This Polwarth silk blend yarn lets me block that out to more like 42 inches and knits up into a much lighter fabric which will be fine for indoor wear. Probably perfect. ; )
The problem with the book, and frankly why I hadn't knit from it before, is the fact that the pattern repeats are written out rather than charted. I can't knit this way. I get lost in the verbiage. That whole page is 16 rows of knitting written out stitch by stitch. Makes my eyes cross.
I took 40 minutes early Thursday morning -- Bacon still gets up really early, like 4 a.m. early -- and voila. This is a really simple pattern and the cables and traveling purls and welting line up in easy repeats. It'd have taken me days to figure this out from those paragraphs in the other picture. The chart freed me from the pattern completely in a way the written words couldn't have done. Whew.
This picture is a pretty good representation of Rachel's genius. Remember, this yarn is a mistake. Yes, Rachel used about 2500 yards of a Polwarth silk blend to wipe up a dye spill in her kitchen and then threw it in a dyepot, so the story goes. The resulting grays and olives variegate slightly, but not enough to obscure the pattern. Makes a traditional piece more modern, no?
Last night, we attended a party in the neighborhood called Martinis at the Mansion in support of a local park. Notice the plural there? Martinis? I had a plural number of basil Mojito martinis. Lucky for me, all that's on the calendar for me today is knitting on this sweater. And maybe grilling a chicken later.