Saturday, April 12, 2008

The First Week (And a new sweater)

It's been a rough time, but we've made it through week one. I know, we have many more ahead of us, but things seem to be looking up. I've only been able to talk with my husband a few seconds at a time, since he's in Kuwait (for the final training phase before actually touching ground in Iraq), and in Kuwait there is horrible cell-phone and internet service. We're communicating via text message only at the moment -- it will be wonderful to finally really talk next month.

The days have been challenging, but as so many of you suggested, we've been creating our own new routines; not being able to look forward to Daddy coming home at the end of the day is difficult to adjust to, but it gets more normal and "doable" with each day.

Thank you so much to each one of you who took the time to comment or email me. Although I didn't manage to get back to each of you personally, please know that the time you took out of your day to let me know you cared is hugely appreciated. I felt like I was getting a hug from each one of you, and on certain days, it was a total lifesaver. Literally.

The travails of last week are, however, of last week. There will be more to follow, I'm sure, but for now, let's get on to the triumphs, shall we?

I finished my first adult-sized handspun sweater!!

Pattern: Sprout -- Growing Roots by Amy King Needles: Size 8 KnitPicks Classic Options (circulars) Yarn: My handspun (from Spunky Club Falkland hanpainted Pie For Everyone, 8 oz, and natural dark BFL, approx 10 oz) I spun a little over 1100 yards altogether, and I did not use up all of my yarn. There's at least enough for a hat and mittens for Daisy if not a matching stripy sweater for her (although I'd have to spin up more brown). but for now I'm just going to stash the extra bits away until next winter season.
Notes: I was charmed by this pattern. The clever short-rows at the top back (giving the front a gentle scoop-neck), the little cables surrounded by delicate eyelets, the raglan construction -- what's not to love?
Mods: I knit the sleeves bracelet length, and opted for the eyelet increases in the raglan.

I used three colors of yarn: Pure Falkland (the pink striping stuff), pure dark brownish grey BFL, and a marled mix of both (used on either side of each wide pink or brown stripe to create a blending effect).

I reknit the arms about 3 times each until I was happy with length and fitted-ness (I discovered that I needed to give myself little-to-no ease as it tapered to the ribbed cuff), and also worked the button bands several times.

At first there was just trouble getting the stitches all picked up evenly, but then after I'd gotten it all straightened out, blocked, and buttons sewn on (which coordinated perfectly with the sweater!), I discovered that the button's I'd chosen were too heavy and made the band flop over at the top. Also, this yarn is both bouncy and drapey, and within the first hour of wearing it the other day, the buttonholes were all stretched out, and especially gaping around the bustline. No good.

I think that I'm going to install a two-way zipper. Today I wore it just like this to my Stitch 'n Bitch, and it bothered me that it kept flopping open and sort of off my shoulders. I'll probably secure it with a pin in the center until I get the zipper thing worked out. (It's possible that it's a tad too big under the arms, but no matter -- I'm not ripping it back.)

Anyway, enough of pointing out the faults. I love this sweater for what it is: my very first adult sized spin-to-knit garment.

P.S. I cannot get over how much blocking smoothed everything out. I mean, it's not like it's the first time or anything, but it's really a miracle every single time. I'm not the most consistant, smooth knitter. But the fabric of this sweater! Even though it's handspun! Amazing! (My sweater blocking "technique" consists entirely in soaking the sweater in a warm Eucalan wash, squishing it out rolled up in towel after towel until almost dry, then gently stretching and patting it into place on a dry towel on the dining room table -- no pins needed.) It's really incredible what good a little water can do.
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