On this sweater and my sanity

On this sweater and my sanity

In between work and the neverending packing, I am managing to knit a few rows here and there. My Togue PondSaco Stripes hybrid is coming along nicely, I think — to my great relief. It’s gone from testing my sanity to keeping me sane.

There was an evening in the big cabin at Squam, surrounded by professional knitters, where collective concern was expressed for the size of the thing. I had knitted five or six inches, and it did seem enormous. I kept counting my stitches and doing the math, and it seemed like it should be fine, except it didn’t look fine. So I put it away and moped, and nice people gave me yarn to try to keep me occupied. Squam was a major swatch-fest for me: Gudrun Johnston’s excellent short-rows class was a day-long series of tiny swatches, followed by Kate and Courtney’s highly recommended vest class which, of course, began with a swatch. So for my Friday free time between the two, the last thing I wanted to do was stop and swatch this sweater I was already knitting. (Not that there’s anything wrong with swatching! It’s wonderful and important and an awesome learning tool and all of that. But I’d had no time to knit for weeks, and here I was on a knitting break and I wanted to be knitting. On a dock.) In short: I was distressed.

Friday evening, after a mosquito-plagued but head-clearing walk, I sat down with the sweater in the dining hall — by then empty of all but me and Anna — and measured and counted again. I had come to the conclusion that swatching would do me no good in this case anyway. This is aran-weight linen, which is a rather mysterious creature. The finished sweater is going to drape and grow and change in ways that a swatch would not likely predict with any accuracy, no matter how many clotheslines I hung it from. So I decided to just have faith and keep knitting. And by Saturday afternoon I was knitting it on that dock, feet in the water, just as happy as a knitter could be.

I won’t know for certain until the shoulders are seamed together and I can put it on for real, but I think — I hope — it’s just right. So thank god I didn’t frog it in a panic and move on to something else.

If it works out, I promise to share my mods. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend. To those of you who came to the sale last Saturday, it was marvelous to meet you and I apologize again for my appearance! I’d love to hear what you’re all working on —


17 thoughts on “On this sweater and my sanity

  1. It’s so hard to stick with a project when you question the intention of the yarn. Challenges, what doesn’t kill you (or your family) will make you stronger!

  2. The sweater looks beautiful, Karen! Love the color. I’d love to hear more about vests. I’ve been asking myself how much I’d actually wear sweaters here in the NW but I’m always wearing fleece vests. Lately I’ve been considering the lovely possibilities of knitted vests instead. At the moment I’m knitting bright hats for the shop of hand dyed sock yarns (using two strands) from Etsy folks. Makes my heart happy just seeing and feeling these yarns! And have decided that even if yellow is not my color, I must have a long lacey scarf of golden yellow. I’m doing it this summer! Along side my Guernsey scarf.

    • I love sweater vests! This particular class was really about the basics of sweater knitting — picking the right size, adjusting for gauge differences and body shapes, seaming, lots of great information for anyone who hadn’t tackled a garment before. They just happened to be basing it on a vest instead of a full-sleeved sweater.

      The vest was a cabled variation on their Hiker’s Waistcoat, which I’ve had on my list for ages.

  3. It’s a beautiful sweater Karen and I do hope it all works out.
    I am working on dish cloths for all the ladies at my hair salon that asked for them and in between I am trying to knit a row here and there on my Recipe for a textured shawl. I loved your shawl so much I couldn’t wait to cast on one myself.

  4. I recently hit a similar roadblock in my bottom-up knitting (will it fit or not? swatch too unpredictable) and I realize I won’t really know until I knit a good portion of it, maybe even until I finish and block it! I thought about frogging, but decided to proceed, because I love knitting it! Just like your time on the dock, feet in the water, the process of knitting –of creating something– is so enjoyable. Even if I have to take it out and do it again, at least I learn from my mistakes.

    This pattern — long and drapy — looks forgiving enough. can’t wait to see the end result. Glad it’s keeping you sane during the move!

  5. I think you’re right, if it’s linen – you should just go for it and start small. It grows so much.

    Karen, it was very cool to meet you in Gudrun’s class. Your supplies are to die for and I just caught them on the Purl Bee too – woot! Take care and good luck packing.

  6. I’m knitting Saco Stripes, sans stripes, in the paprika colorway. I finished the front and back before realizing the front dipped waaaaay too low for me. It’s been on hold as I didn’t have the heart to rip it out right away. Then late one night I sat down to watch tv & rip it out. After unraveling the first strap I looked down and realized, to my horror, that I’d started ripping out the back, not the front! I swore. A lot. And nearly cried. It’s on hold again. Hope you fare better.

  7. Just started following your blog and so excited to read about your knitting and comments made by others. Love the stripes and looking forward to seeing the finished vest. I am knitting Kate Davies’s Blaithin (junior) sweater for my granddaughter. I am having so much fun with some of the new techniques she uses. Hope to make one for myself if I make it though the child’s version .

  8. Linen is really tricky! It really depends on the company, because sometimes it grows and something it’s totally the contrary! I’m knitting a linen sweater but I relly don’t know if the fit after bolcking will be ok….well it’s another knitting story ;-) Anyway, your top looks really great and it’s almost done so don’t give up!

  9. Pingback: Cross-country knitting | Fringe Association

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