Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Son's Sweater

I have been knitting for a couple of years now and early on I figured out that I liked to bind off my stitches and be done with it; whatever "it" is. Weaving in ends, can be okay if it's just from the cast on and bind off, and if there are one, or maybe two tasteful stripes, I can handle that. But, when I need to weave in anything more than 5 I get a bit preoccupied with other projects. Similar to when I was a teenager and my room would get strangely clean when I  had a big paper to be working on. I think the worst striped project was a garter stitch scarf for a friend that I really should have known better than to undertake. It had well over 30 ends by the time I was done, and I was done well past when the gift was planned for. Ridiculous. 

The only other part I can't stand is sewing up seams. I don't like it when my seemingly beautiful knitting suddenly becomes my enemy as I struggle to find just the right place to bring the end of a toe together or to attach arms and ears to an elephant. I love the finished products, but sometimes those elephants remain earless, armless, and eyeless for far too long. 

It was knowing this about myself that I put off ever knitting a sweater. I tried, once, to knit a bolero for my son. It's cute but huge, and the arms are lumpy where they attach to the shoulders, and I also don't usually take the time to block things very well, so the whole thing seems a bit off. This experience, combined with my accepted lack of enthusiasm for all things involved in finishing, made me regretfully put down some lovely yarn I had in my hand when I realized the pattern for an adorable baby sweater said, "sew underarms."

I was in the store with a friend of mine, and we both spotted the sample at the same time. It was a beautiful green variegated pullover and I even already had the book the pattern was in. There was a wonderful blue version of that same yarn that would compliment the blue of my son's eyes and who knows how long that may last. The project would supposedly only take 4-6 hours and I already had the needles it called for. It couldn't be more perfect, but there were those words and I knew. I would never be satisfied with how the sweater looked because inevitably my lack of finishing finesse would sabotage the final product. I waited another two weeks, went back with another friend who had knit at least one other sweater and took the plunge. 

I decided to set myself up for success I needed to do everything right, include knitting a gauge swatch. I knit one on the size needles called for in the pattern and low and behold, it was far too big. I went down a needle size and still too big. So, 1 hour later, 2 needle sizes smaller, and the realization that this was probably why the bolero didn't work out, I finally managed to get gauge and I was off. It knit up quick and beautiful, but I don't think I've ever counted all the way to 99 so many times before without the triumphant, "100!" that is ingrained in us from childhood. 

I bound off the neck two days later, and wove in my ends. It's beautiful and amazingly it's the right size. I think. I still haven't kitchner stitched the underarms, but I don't think that will change the fit too much. And, I still need to attach the buttons, but it looks really cute even without them... ...


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, now I know about your clean rooms. The Kitchener stitch is really easy and won't take too long. Check out a google search to see a sample of the kitchener stitch on bound off edges. I can't wait to see the "finished" project.

thefeltedsheep said...

I agree weaving in ends sucks! Much less seaming! The sweater did turn out so cute and I can't wait to see him wearing it!