But does this mean I have not been knitting? Oh, mais non!
In preparing my article for the menknit.net magazine, I need biographical information about Mary Thomas (she of the Knitting Book and Book of Knitting Patterns) and the only source anyone (even Marilyn) could come up with was Richard Rutt's History of Hand Knitting. I ordered a miraculously inexpensive copy from Powell's in Seattle but had to set it aside unread, except for the Mrs. Thomas passages, until the past few days.
Now I'm devouring it.
I'm a sucker for history, and this is history plus knitting patterns. Not whole patterns, mind you, mostly just colorwork patterns from old (in some cases very old, as in ancient Egypt) sources. But I am, and forever have been, enamored of making new things (food and photographs mostly) using historical sources and/or materials.
Man vs. Sweater, Round Two: The Neckline
Not long after the evening I did the sweater dance, I arrived at the neckline. Mind you, I've been reading Elizabeth Zimmerman on a daily basis for months. Even though this is my first sweater, her directions are burned into my brain and I can say with confidence that I followed them exactly.
So when I got to the neckline, and had finished the decreases precisely as directed and was left with 100 stitches for the border, it seemed wrong to me. After all, her standard percentage for the neckline is about 40%, and 100 was well over that amount.
So I tried it on (placing it on waste yarn) and sure enough, the top was open enough that it slipped right off one shoulder. I looked like one of the Go-Gos.
So, as dear Mrs. Zimmerman is mum on specific suggestions but does encourage one to think and then act, I figured out the 40% and did a few more decrease rounds until I had that many stitches left, and it looked peachy. I worked the collar in 2x2 rib for about an inch and then tried it on.
Although the sweater was dilated 10 centimeters, I was the one who was ready for an epidural.
This round does have a happy ending, though. You may, if you've been reading this for a while, remember that I had a fear of ripping. On this night, determined I was not going to sleep until the [expletive] collar went over my [expletive] head, I ripped. I ripped with gusto. And I did it over.
And I won.
Man vs. Sweater, Round Three: Help?
For the hemline, I worked with the combined assistance of Maggie Righetti and Elizabeth Zimmerman. I picked up stitches, I used smaller needles, I decreased 10 percent. I did it all just like I was supposed to.
And I know have a hemline that flips up where the hem stitches are sewn to the sweater body. And yes, I sewed them loosely. I worked the hem on Susan's toque the same way and didn't have the flipping.
And I also have this going on:
From the front, the sweater looks perfect. It fits better than any sweater I've ever owned. At the back, it flares. I am, in a word, pissed. On the videotape Greg leant me, Elizabeth Zimmerman does say to begin the sweater with 10% fewer stitches and increase to full width. However, she does not say to do this in Knitting Without Tears and by the time I saw the video I was already halfway up the body.
I figured the decrease in the hem would deal with the flare. Obviously, I was wrong.
The flipping, flaring hem needs to be dealt with. Here is the best solution I can puzzle out. It's not perfect, but I want desperately to save this project. I figure I should:
- Get rid of the current hem.
- Pick up stitches around the bottom and knit down, working in a 10% or 20% decrease in 2x2 ribbing
- The length of the body at present (when the hem isn't flipping up) is perfect. I mean, so perfect it almost made me cry. I am a short guy, with a short waist, and this is the first sweater I have ever put on that doesn't hang too low and bunch up over my Italian rococo posterior. So I don't want to make it longer, though an extra inch or two wouldn't kill me I suppose.
- I didn't want to rib the bottom. I wanted the bottom to be flat, with a hem. Dammit.
Thanks to everyone who weighed in with solutions to the pile of yarn that is beginning to ooze out from behind the sofa. When I hear about rooms, rooms full of yarn, I blanch. Mind you, this is not and never will be an option for a city dweller of limited means. But I think between some cute little bins from Target and a shelf I've just moved into the end of the bedroom we euphemistically call the "office," I should be set for a little while.
When that shelf is full, I may begin colonizing the space outside the freight elevator. Nobody else is using it. Finder's keepers.
And Before I Forget to Mention It
The t-shirt I made for Colorado Jon as a Stitches present is now available for purchase through my new little shop. There will be other designs very soon, including some for women and some for either sex. We're all about equal opportunity here at The Panopticon.