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Archive for July, 2007

Don’t Hem Me In

I am 23 rows into the hem. At 17.5″ I cast off the center eight stitches of the body’s front (the eight stitch bridge for the cardigan’s steek) and began working back and forth on the hem. I’m using US5’s and I purled the turning row three rows ago, making the hem 1 1/2″ long. My whole left arm is killing me, and my right wrist clicks when I purl. I don’t think I can knit anymore for a few days- knitting worsted weight yarn on DK weight needles puts a strain on muscles I didn’t even know were involved in knitting. Hopefully I will have completed the hem and have it tacked down early next week, and begin contemplating steekage.

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Summer Knitting

I am nearly done with my Cascade cardigan. Two years ago, I purchased 17 (!!!) hanks of Cascade 220 to knit Mariah for a friend. No, my friend isn’t some freak of nature who requires 3,740 yards of wool to clothe her quivering body- I found a fantastic sale. After knitting said friend a few things as gifts (a pair of socks knit with 00 needles, an entrelac scarf, an Amelia Earhart cap in the Cascade to test whether she liked the color) and NEVER seeing her wear the items, I decided to save myself the PAIN of committing hours of my life to a sweater she’d probably never wear, and thus, the Cascade became mine.

Last August, I started bouncing ideas around in my head to design myself a cabled cardigan, using a few stitch dictionaries like Vogue’s new stitchionary series, Barbara Walker, and the Harmony Guides. I knit up a back and a front after lots of swatching (something I rarely do). I even washed the swatches and lovingly remeasured. So, of course the back and front were too small. Dammit. I cast the Cascade aside in favor of some more immediate Christmas knitting, but that’s another story.

So, in wint’ry January, when Indiana is its’ coldest and I said in a shivering heap under an acrylic blanket, clothed in the one sweater I had knit for myself (lovely, lovely wool), I remember the neglected sweater. I fished it out of my cedar chest, examined the stitches and determined…it was still too small. I hadn’t magically lost eight inches from my hips, and the sweater hadn’t magically stretched to accommodate my burgeoning form. I ripped out the neat little stitches, wound the wool into neat little cakes, and viciously began knitting the one fool-proof sweater I know how to knit: a raglan from the top down, no cables, all stockinette all the time. And it was glorious! At least, for a while.

It is so much fun increasing stitches, spiraling your way wider and wider, getting to a little climax: the armhole division. I carefully reserved the sleeve stitches, provisionally cast-on the underarm stitches and started cycling my way around and around the body. Only…stockinette can be a little boring, and the Cascade sweater became a bit of a slog. As Spring grew nearer, I cast aside my well-used sweater and my friend Cascade. New knits awaited me!

Now it is nearly August again, a year after our adventure began. I am one inch away from beginning the the bottom hem after gaining six fast inches in just one week. Will I cast off and steek this little cardigan? Will it ever gain sleeves and a well deserved blocking? Will I ever install a zipper, or will this sweater be doomed to forever be closed by two clasping hands?!?! Only time will tell…

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