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!

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Monday’s Musing – And the Winner is?

Amuse

Congratulations to Bionic Laura ! Your parcel will be sent in the post to you later this week (as soon as I get your address!). I hope you enjoy this little windfall.

On second or third glance through the book I noticed a pattern or two that I thought I might like to try; so I have to admit that I took photocopies of two sock patterns before I posting it off. I don’t think that’s breaking copyright laws – considering I bought the book in the first place; the designer still gets royalties.

The Muse

It was great fun to have people participating in my little Bonanza. The contributions from Mairin, Sarah, Laura and Katalysis really put a smile on my face. It made me wonder what might have been, however, if other people – regular readers and sock-knitters to boot – had put in their entries (these are all written by me and I hope the subject each enjoys having her leg pulled a little!). 

Bridget’s haiku: 

Three kitties has she
To chase and chastise her yarn
As she knit 10 pairs

Sinead’s haiku:  

O Prodigal Sock
Left alone in a glovebox
Will you forgive me?

Helen (OfTroy)’s haiku: 

Oh Sensei*! I am
But a grasshopper to your
Vast Knitting knowledge

*Japanese word for teacher or mentor 

My head is in a Spin

Bemuse

And where would we be on a Monday without me being a little bemused, eh? 

This time, it’s the Elsica pattern again – in particular how it was printed in Yarn Forward. I finished mine on Christmas Day – a day late to give it to my sister for Christmas, however. I warned you I might have more comments to make about the pattern as I worked through the crown. Sure enough, it appears the chart for the crown has been printed with the legend over-laying it – such that you only get half of the information you need to complete the crown. Again, I’d blame those behind printing the magazine, rather than the designer. 

My recommendation is that you refer to the written instructions. They are pretty straight-forward. To help me keep count I broke the pattern into three sequences that repeated all the way around – I called them A, B and C. In the first round of decreases the decrease happens in all the A parts of the sequence; next round all the B parts, next round – C. The next round – no decreases at all, just to keep me on my toes. So, kind-of like a waltz, I was counting “A,2,3,4 and B,2,3,4,5 and C,2,3,4,5”.  Once I got my rythm going I didnt’ need the chart at all.

From reading Wooly Wormhead’s blog about her pattern, it seems the rights to the pattern revert from Yarn Forward to her in six months time. I reckon you’ll be safe going straight to the horse’s mouth, as it were, for the best version of the pattern when that happens. This is a really lovely pattern and a very enjoyable knit. It’s just a pity that the magazine couldn’t have been more careful about how they printed it.