Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again--but still struggling to stay on!

As Gene Autry, the old cowboy crooner, used to sing, I'm back in the saddle again, after a long absence. I don't have any good excuses, I guess. Life got in the way, but I kept on knitting.

For my private knitting olympics I resolved to finish all incomplete projects. Let's say that my medal is not the gold.

For three years I have been working on a Dale of Norway Tiur sweater known by two different numbers (17008 or 10014) but no name. It appears in the ill-fated "Best of Tiur" and in Book 100. In year #1 I knit two sleeves whose cuffs were too tight. I shut the sleeves into the closet of denial. In year #2 I dug out the sleeves, cut off the cuffs, picked up the stitches and knit wider cuffs. Actually, I did that for only one sleeve. The other sleeve had stitch-pick-up issues and I ripped out the entire sleeve and knit a new one. I followed by knitting 2/3 of the torso. In year #3, before the Olympics, I finished the torso, joined the sleeves and torso and knit about 2/3 of the yoke.

I started strong out of the gate. The color work went quickly. Then, I almost veered off course. The yoke required duplicate stitch and embroidery. I found a basic embroidery book and learned the boullion stitch, the chain stitch and the lazy daisy.

Weaving in hundreds of ends threw me off balance onto one ski, but I recovered, weakened but determined. Before long, I was ready to block. My blocking-buddy, Cosmic the Cat, helped.

The sweater looked gorgeous--until I put it on.
Let's just say that my derriere should not be emphasized, regardless of the quality of yarn hugging it tightly. Spectators at the the finish line were supportive, arguing that if I purchased a pair of tight leggings, maybe the ribbing wouldn't cling so to the bottom curve of the butt. Or, maybe I could lose some weight. No, I decided, I am not getting younger. My two decade attempt to return to the svelte shape of my youth did not bode well for the weight loss option. And, I wore leggings and tight knit pants their first time around the fashion scene (thing Mary Tyler Moore on the Dick Van Dyke Show). I won't be doing leggings again. I waited until after the Olympics to make my decision. My rationale--I had a completed object in hand. Alterations can always be done later. So, on March 12 I made my decision.

Scissors, that's what I needed.

First, I marked the row in the texture pattern where I wanted to cut. then,

I picked up 288 stitches around the sweater. After which,
emboldened by friends at the Sow's Ear and by a surprise visiting knitting celebrity who ventured north for the weekend, I snipped half of one stitch and proceeded to pull out the row. (Yes, a Mason-Dixon sister watched me do this!! She was even impressed and took photos!! Will I make it onto her blog, only time will tell!)

My approach to applying scissors to painstakingly knit items is as follows: 1) Measure 29 times, cut once; 2) cut in public and pretend you know what you are doing, you have a reputation to uphold; 3) if you insist on cutting alone in the privacy of your own home you will NEVER do it; 4) don't look back.

In violation of my rule #4, I had a brief thought of kitchener stitching the cut-off piece back onto the torso. I moved forward and unraveled the entire lower piece. I dutifully washed the yarn and hung it to dry. Now, I'm taking my bravery pills (as my husband says) and am planning the re-knit. I think I will do a few rows of color pattern before starting the ribbing.

I need to finish this sweater before spring really comes. We've been experiencing the fickle false spring, so common to the upper midwest. All the snow has melted, The daffodil greens have shot up through the matted leaves. Runners have switched from polar fleece to shorts! But, snow is forecast for this weekend. I still have time to wear the sweater if I finish it soon!!!


Anonymous said...

It is nice to see another blog post :) I cannot believe that you had the guts to CUT that beautiful sweater. yikes. I cannot wait to see the once-completed-now-work-in-progress when I come home!

Leslie said...

Found you via MDK, where they did blog about your brave cutting. Wow! Love the sweater! Is there a happy ending to this story?

Joanne said...

The sweater is stunning!