It is accomplished

Where Oh Where have I been?

“It is accomplished” – a Death

On the 24th June last I got some devastating news. A dear friend of mine died suddenly while he was on his holidays in Lanzerote. I’ve been wondering about how to blog about this for ages. I wanted to be able to give you all a feeling of what this man was like and how much he meant to me. But words fail me. I don’t have the eloquence to convey his brilliance. 

He was a shining light snuffed out too soon and I’m still foundering in the dark. 

Once I realised that I’m never going to be able to give an adequate impression of him or what his loss has meant for me I realised I just have to blog-on regardless. 

Why Oh Why am I back?

“It is accomplished” – an FO!

It would have to be a biggie that would get me back to my blog again after such a hiatus, wouldn’t it? Yoouuu betcha! 

One happy customer!

“It is accomplished” – an Achievement!

The completion of this cardigan signifies the huge journey that I have made in my knitting knowledge and ability. A journey that started over three years ago. 

When I knit this cardigan the first time I spent two months knitting; slavishly following the Glenvar pattern as written. The pattern itself posed no challenge: knitting on-the-flat using cables, increases and decreases was very familiar to me. So I spiced things up by learning a few new techniques: 

  • As I came close towards the end of all the knitting I learned about spit-splicing from Lisa in TIK – very effective in the 100% wool Kilcarra I was using.
  • When I had all the pieces ready for sewing, I discovered, through the power of d’Interneh (Knitty’s coffeeshop mainly) a concept I had never come across before: blocking. I did this fastidiously, measuring out all the pieces according to the schematic and waited days for them to dry.
  • When it came to sewing-up all the pieces, I researched widely, bought “Knitting for Dummies” and became adept at invisible seams. I was very impressed with all my attention to detail: you couldn’t tell where the seams were and the sleeve caps melded beautifully in to the armholes.
  • Then when it came to the zip I bought “Domiknitrix – whip your knitting into shape” by Jennifer Stafford and followed her instructions to the letter. Steam it? Check. Pin it? Check. Fit it on again as a double-check? Ah… disaster.

The Behemoth of Epic Proportions

I learned the harsh reality that many a knitter learns only the hard-way: pieces knit to the correct dimensions does not guarantee a well-fitting garment. Later I learned why it is that so many patterns are written in pieces rather than maximizing the benefit of construction through knitting: editors of ladies magazines, where patterns were published, had more understanding of sewing-based construction for garments. Hence all the pieces were knit into the fabric shapes rather than the knit stitches being manipulated to mould the fabric.

Enter: Elizabeth Zimmermann and Barbara G Walker into my life and my knitting. Enter: radical new ideas such as knitting-from-the-top, calculating gauge, charting my own design, customizing my knit to fit. Oh! and with a few short-rows thrown-in – always with the short-rows! 

The subtle benefit of Short-rows

This project has tested me at every turn. I have documented before how much more it and my knitting conspired to teach me – whether I wanted to learn or not. Even at the very end, when all the knitting was done and all that was left was the zip, I was very nearly thwarted: the original zips went AWOL and a special trip into Dublin City Centre was made to buy a long-enough zip.

And I’m still learning. Even now, as DH is giving the cardigan its first outing in public tomorrow, I’m still thinking I might re-do the cast-off on the cuffs because I’ve just learned Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Cast-off  (JSSBO) from my latest Cat Bordhi book. However, Bootie (the Ever-wise) pointed out the more likely explanation is that – after three years – I’m not yet ready “to break-up with the cardigan”. 

But, let’s face it: The Behemoth has been vanquished. Debbie Bliss’s Glenvar pattern has been conquered. And what’s more: 

I did it MYYYYYYY Waaaaaaay!


11 Responses to “It is accomplished”

  1. wyvernfriend Says:

    WOOT! Congrats and well wear to himself!

  2. Mairin Says:

    It was worth it – it looks great!

  3. Mairead Says:

    Yay!!! And I saw it in the flesh!!!!

    Glenvar that is, not your other half!

  4. Bionic Laura Says:

    Congratulations! Victory is yours and how sweet it is. It looks great. I don’t think really it is Debbie Bliss’s pattern anymore at this stage. You’ve made it all your own. Isn’t it great when you learn so much while knitting a project. It’s like you’ve graduated from knitting school or something!

  5. Chicwithstix Says:

    It was well worth it,eh?

  6. Rosemary Says:

    hisself looks lovely in it. I remember you working on that in the Bell Cafe a few months back

  7. irishknitting Says:

    Congrats! I’m delighted you finally finished it, and it looks great on the other half too. Fits perfectly!
    A lovely post about your progression as a knitter along with the pattern, too.
    I bet you feel great for sticking with it. Every time you see him wear it, you should feel very proud of yourself.

    And my sympatihies on the loss of your friend.

  8. Averil Says:

    Yay! Well done you! I know there were times you were fit to throw it out the window because of all the hassles, but look at the lovely FO you have and all that you have learned.

  9. Sue Says:

    Fantastic! I agree with Bootie on the cast-off. Let the cardi go…

    PS I’ve been waiting all summer and checking in regularly to see what happened to the tea cosy!

  10. Bridget Says:

    Nice job! I (who have never tried any of these techniques) am terribly impressed.

  11. New posts 12th-18th September « Irish Knitting & Crochet Says:

    […] Under me Oxter talks about her path to finishing Glenvar for her other half […]

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