Saturday, April 9, 2011

Knitting with an Adrenaline Rush (and Perseverance)

I have been pushing myself hard to finish my Truffle Tunic. It's just been dragging on and on. I put the front aside half way through the colourwork last November and started on the back. That was a marathon of grey stockingnette, and did not lend itself to long knitting sessions because something about the wool, needles and weight of project was really hard on my left hand/arm.

But I pushed through. Last week I finished the colourwork section on the front and was very close to the end of the back. That's when the ball of wool I was using for the back ran out.

I had a ball attached to the front yet. That's all I had left. There were some grey rows to do on top of the colourwork but I didn't want to do them until I knew for sure I had enough wool. I wouldn't know if I had enough wool until the back was done. Conundrum!

What I did was continue knitting the back with the other end of the ball attached to the front. I ended up with two halves of a sweater connected by one ever-shrinking ball of wool:
Once I had the back knit even with the front and only 4 rows of ribbing to do on each, I felt much better. Whatever happened, I could at least easily make them match. To save on possible rip-backs, I then alternated working on the front and back. Two rows on the front, two rows on the back, the ball of wool is getting smaller!!!

But I got my four rows on each part done, and then I got them cast off. I ended up with this much wool left.

Troy thinks I am a gambler at heart because I seem to keep doing this to myself. ("Not that often," I protest. Wait...the Whistler hat, the Superscarf, the Cuffed Boot Socks,...ok, ok, so those happen to be my last three projects. "Coincidence!" I now weakly protest.)

The only thing that irks me about almost running out of wool in this project is that it could have so easily been avoided. No, I couldn't buy more wool--it was recycled from a sweater, remember.

If I had knit this project from the top down, I could have gotten all the hard parts out of the way first, (made sure I liked it before I had so much invested), and I could have just knit the length until I ran out of wool. Then the only concern would be whether it would get as long as I wanted it to be. But if it didn't, I wasn't stuck with a sweater missing the top part of the pattern or a back shorter than the front. No, worst case, I would have a perfectly usable sweater that was an inch or two shorter than I would have really liked.

Well, let's call it a lesson learned and a catastrophe avoided because I had enough.

On the other hand, getting the finishing done was a lesson in perseverance. The front and back were attached at the shoulders with a three needle bind off. I followed the directions and got all 330 stitches cast off. I then tried it on by flipping it over my head. (At this point the shoulder seams were done and the neck edges cast off so it hung like a kind of poncho.)

Looking in the mirror, I could see that 1. the bind off was too loose on the neck edge and 2. the shoulder seams didn't come in far enough. (I.e. the neck opening was too big.) Ok, I am a big girl. Even though I had been thinking I would finish this thing every day for a week straight, I could take all that out and do it again...

So I did. I didn't have to take out both shoulder seams, but I did have to take out the neck edges and redo part of the shoulder seams to bring them in further and then redo the neck edges. But the big girl did it (without tears). Problems solved, so I thought.

Then while I was working in all the ends (because I was going to get this d*mn thing blocked today if it killed me...), I noticed this:
Between the yellow lines lies a perfectly good seam between the front (top) and back (bottom) from the three needle bind off. Between the red lines is a three needle bind off done from the wrong side resulting in a seam on the outside of my shoulder seam.

Ok, really, big girls don't cry....::chin quivering::

Boo hoo, I had to take it out again only this time I had already cut one end after working it in and had to worry again about the piece of wool not being long enough. But I persevered and got it done without running out of yarn. You can see it looks much better:
as it's lying out blocking.

I have the whole thing blocking, as a matter of fact:
Following my new habit of using the washing machine, I had it soaked and spun out in no time. Pinning took a little more time. After I had it all pinned, a little voice in my head said, "Should you really measure that to make sure the halves match?"

I listened to the little voice and discovered that the front was pulled a good inch longer than the back both above the sleeve increase and below. So I repinned it and now am walking away for a while...
The colourwork is not the best I've ever done for two reasons: there are a lot of very long floats in the pattern and these two yarns do not knit up in the same way at all. (More details here.) I think the results will be livable though. Time will tell.

And now I should really head outside for some work I've been avoiding for a week. (There lies my truest talent.) They promised me very warm temperatures today and I don't think that's come true. And no sunshine. I miss sunshine.

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