Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Memory Lane: Mosaic Boatneck Sweater

I got my invitation to Ravelry this weekend. Good gracious, what a tremendous amount of information! I've started uploading my backlog of project pictures to Flikr, and it occurred to me that most of these projects haven't been properly blogged. So I'll decided to to a Memory Lane series.

First up is the Mosaic Boatneck Sweater from The Pleasures of Knitting by Ann McCauley. This was my project for the Knitting World Cup in the summer of 2006. The idea was to pick a project which would be a challenge and try to complete it during the World Cup.

I'd been wanting to try sweaters, so I picked the Mosaic Boatneck for being very pretty but straightforward at the same time. I went off to the LYS and after much debate I settled on Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Wisteria:


Such a lovely yarn, and I just adore the color. I spent the time between the yarn purchase and the beginning of the event swatching like mad. Used up most of a skein and finally settled on US 6 as being close enough. (Please note the "close enough." It will come up later)

I discovered fairly quickly why so many people hate the Boye Needlemasters so much. Sheesh, those cables are stiff, and the join has a nasty tendency to grab yarn and stretch stitches. I ended up going to the LYS for my first pair of Addi Turbos. What a difference! I was flying right along, and pretty soon I had something that looked like this:


And this:


I forged ahead, moving from the back to the sleeves. I was thinking I might actually make it, and the World Cup tournament was some pretty good soccer, even though U.S.A. went down in flames. But, life got complicated as it sometimes does, and I accepted that I wasn't going to finish in time. No matter, I had a great start on my sweater.

Midway through the front I received a set of Denise needles I'd ordered. I switched to using them since they were brand new. The felt quite a bit different than the Addis, but still better than the Boye's. I felt like my knitting was going nowhere, a phenomenon known to more experienced knitters as the Knitting Black Hole.

Would it never end? Was I doomed to knit this sweater forever? (At the time I maintained the delusion that I was a monogamous knitter... what was I thinking?) Would nothing free me from this Wisteria-colored purgatory?

Finally, I cast off. Sweet Freedom! I laid all of the pieces out and took another picture:


This was also the point where I discovered two things:
  1. "Close Enough" is a dangerous concept when it comes to knitting a sweater with a specific number of rows in the pattern, especially if you're too inexperienced to adjust for it. The pieces were a little longer than the diagram in the pattern.
  2. The front was about 1.5 inches longer than the back. I attribute this to changing needles mid-project, and also to the changes in my knitting style as I went along.
I blocked the pieces:


I measured for the neck opening and pinned the shoulders together:


And then I ran out of steam completely. I rolled the pieces up in a towel and stuck them in a box. Maybe somebody would sneak in and seam them for me? And, if I was really lucky, they'd make the front and back the same size while they were at it. (Why yes, I do have an active imagination. Why do you ask?)

Months passed. Four of them. I knit other things. The sweater was out of sight and I was trying to keep it out of mind as well. Finally, when my husband and my friends started asking awkward questions a little too often, I took the rolled towel out of the box and unrolled it on the floor.

Phooey. Still unseamed. Front and back still not the same length. Clearly I need a higher class of house-elf.

So I seamed it myself, fudging near the underarms a bit. And then I wove in all the ends. I even took the obigatory "camera head" picture:


And then I put it on and wore it to a hockey game. My husband proudly pointed out to all of his friends that I had made it myself. I think I may keep him.


Kate said...

A man who appreciates hand knit items??? Even better...a man who SHOWS OFF hand knit items by his wife?!?!? DEFINITELY a keeper! :)

Anna said...

What a great idea to go on a trip down Memory Lane! I think your sweater looks real nice. Have you used it a lot since actually finishing it? :)

Geek Knitter said...

I did wear it quite a bit last winter, and I'll do the same this year. It still amazes me that I made it with my own hands!

essjay said...

It looks wonderful! Even after all the issues with it and those bad elves not doing their job you should be very proud (and so should Joey! ;) )!