Wednesday, June 2, 2010



A work in progress - Fog Sweater, using Cascade Eco Wool. The yarn was purchased for this project over a year ago. As many of you knitters know, these skeins are huge, - 8 oz of yarn per skein so four of them nearly fill a storage bin and weigh 2 lbs! Converting the stored yarn into a garment will take a big bite out of storage space!

This pattern is knit in the round which is great in that the front and back will be done up to the arm pits but as the knitting grows, so it grows in weight. The weight, combined with 1x1 rib strains my wrists and I need to take frequent breaks. I imagine by the time we get to the shoulders this thing will slow down considerably simply because of the physical effort required.

You can see it started as a much larger garment but I quickly realized it was way way way too big. This happened about two weeks ago on a Sunday evening, halfway through an episode of "Treme", on HBO. It went like this: "Honey, I think this sweater may be a bit big on you. Do you mind trying it on if I take this off the needles and put it on a lifeline?" "Do I have to? It's going to be hot! " "It's four inches of knitting. How hot can that be?"

Thirty minutes later we had the verdict and I went to bed. Defeated and relieved. An entire weekend of knitting wasted, but relieved the newer version would take less time because there will be fewer stitches to knit!

I used a cable cast on, which when putting 240 stitches onto a needle makes sense to me, rather than trying to estimate the length required for a long tail cast on. And it works well for ribbing, this is a 4x2 ribbed edge.


Now I want to talk about something that's really bugging me about my knitting. These ridges? Do you see them? I noticed them when I knit the little baby bolero, and chalked it up to the yarn, which is a very fine merino cable ply yarn that looks like a single but is actually lots of teeny tiny 2 ply yarns twisted into a single ply. The next time it showed up was when I knit one of the pairs of fingerless mitts, and again, I thought it was the yarn, because that yarn has a similar put up. But it's coming up again, in this sweater.

And this project uses a woolen spun two ply, Cascade Eco Wool. My experience with this yarn goes back to last summer when I knit the ill-fated Garter Ridge Blanket. I hated the way the project looked and abandoned it after knitting all the sections. I don't know about you, but I find Garter Stitch to be very unforgiving, showing all manner of tension flaws. And this yarn is also unforgiving in terms of tension irregularities. Which made the combination of the two just awful!


Which leads me to realize that it's me. I am doing something in the knitting to cause these problems! I think I am tugging the stitches when moving from knit to purl. Anyway it's bugging the shit out of me! Each time I look at this project it's all I see.

These kinds of technical flaws are a sure fire way to kill my enthusiasm for a project and I have to work hard to overcome my nagging doubts. Should I rip it down and start the body section over again? Should I learn to knit English style? Would that improve the appearance? Is this issue simply an unintended consequence of knitting 1x1 rib with a woolen spun yarn?

Yes, I swatched. This problem wasn't evident in the swatch. I have an idea: maybe I should stop here, go knit up a sleeve and block it to see if the washing will ease out the issues. And use the sleeve as a guide for how this honkin' huge man sized body will work up once it's been blocked.

Well, then, thank you! I think I've come up with a trial solution, now that I've thought it through a bit, so thanks for listening.


Eliza said...

I love it!
There was a Q&A with Mason Dixon in an early issue of Twist about this very issue. I can't remember the a answer, unfortunately.
Hope to see you soon! E

Susie said...

Ok call me crazy but I'm not seeing the ridges, it looks just gorgeous to me and I can't wait to see it all done up. Oh and I love those fingerless mitts you linked to!

Gale said...

I have this issue too, and it generally eases up with a washing or two.