It was scary! Sewing two lines of machine stitching down the center of those armhole and neck steeks on the grey sweater and then, CUTTING down the middle of those two lines of stitches. I was so sure something was going to go wrong and I would ruin the sweater. But with relief it is done and now I can hem the steeks under and pick up stitches for the shoulder and neck. I guess I’ll start knitting the sleeves, too, now that I have an opening to put them in!!!
With that done, I backtracked to many years ago and pulled out a partially finished Alice Starmore designed sweater (it was called the waterlily cardigan, I think). I did the body of the sweater; it had a front steek and instructions to sew and cut the armholes as well. My memory is that I got fed up with the tedious patterned knitting and then got to the steeks and just gave up. Put it away. So tonight I pulled it out; newly confident I sewed the front and armhole steeks and CUT them as well! It worked! All I have to do is finish the arms and I have a beautiful cardigan. I have plenty of yarn still left.
Can you see me smiling tonight! Isn’t it wonderful to learn to do something new, learn to do something successfully that you’ve been fearing for years you just wouldn’t do right?
This sweater is knitting up relatively quickly; I’m using a basic Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern from “The Opinionated Knitter”. I’ll knit the body up to the shoulders; right now I’m debating whether to sew and cut the armholes at the end or use a steek to make the armholes easier to define at the end. I’ve never used either technique, but I’m tending toward using the steek. I also will use a steek for the neck, as I want to have a conventional crew neck for the sweater.
For me, color pattern knitting seems easier and faster than single color knitting with cables and other patterns. I feel as if I have a canvas that I can see and create on, and I’m not tied to a strict interpretation of the pattern stitches. I’m using some of the patterns that Elizabeth suggests in her book (see link above); I really like the look of the double heart pattern that’s in the sweater already.
Way back in March, I started spinning a grey fleece (2 pounds of top); this week I finally had spun enough (over a pound – four 5 ounce balls) to get started on the fair isle sweater I envisioned.
Here’s the fleece as I started spinning it, along with the blue wool that I’ll be using for some of the contrasting designs. It’s a great delight to get to the point where you start making something from the wool that you spin.
Here’s the start of the sweater:
What an embarrassment of riches! I’ve been given three more pounds of wool roving, beautiful stuff all ready to spin, by the art center. The tan roving I will spin up directly into yarn. The white wool and the white mohair I may experiment with some dyeing of the roving. I haven’t done any wool dyeing in a number of years; one of my friends last night told me about a mushroom dyeing workshop that’s coming up nearby. That might be fun to attend. And I’ve always wanted to try ‘painting’ some roving; I ordered a book about that from the library system and will think of trying that.
If that weren’t enough, an old friend who raises llamas (and saw that I was spinning alpaca) offered me some llama fiber from her spring shearing. She sent an email yesterday saying it is on its way. I can’t wait to see it and try spinning it. She sent me photos of ‘Coco’ and ‘Debbie’, the llamas the fiber will be from. As I said at the beginning of this post, what an embarrassment of riches!
UPDATE: Here’s the beautiful fiber from Coco and Debbie. I can’t wait to get started spinning!
Coco’s Red-Brown and Debbie’s Grey Fleece