Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Deer sweater yarn - and the winner is...!

Ok so I’ve made a decision on the yarn for finishing my Bopchie's reindeer sweater - I can’t find any vintage yarn to match, so I’ve bought a few different skeins, and I’m going with the one all the way to the right, Cadena in Natural from Knit Picks. I’ll knit alternating rows of the existing wool and the Cadena, so it’s not a harsh line on the sleeves showing where the new yarn starts. Still isn’t a perfect match, but it’s as close as I think I’m going to get.

She had the two sleeves squished together on one aluminum needle, I’ll be transferring them to a #9 circ KP Harmony and jumping in!

And of course, it can't be that easy - in laying out the pieces on the floor, it seems the three body panels are three different sizes. :)  The right front is two rows too short, and the back is four rows too long. Not to mention, the left armhole doesn't match up quite right with the back, even after shifting the back down four rows; that I'll just adjust that as I add the side panels to increase the width to fit my torso.

In the picture, you can see where the two top green grass rows don't match between the two front panels, and the front and back bottom grass rows don't match up either.  I want to make all three body panels match up correctly before knitting the sleeves, collar, and side panels, so I'll be ready to seam together once the remaining knitting work is completed.  I'll need to add in two background rows above the deer in the right front panel (leftmost in the pic), remove four rows in the background below the deer/grass bottom row in the back, and then may need to add in  a couple of background rows above the deer and below the top grass, not sure yet - I have to count up the total body length first, to be sure. A good bit of blocking might do the trick there.

I didn't want to unravel her knitting, but wanted to try to insert rows and remove rows as needed, without disturbing her original knitting too much, especially the intarsia.  It may not be perfect, but it was knit by her!  As I told my husband (who truly thinks I'm insane spending so much time and energy on futzing with the sweater), when she's no longer with us in this world, I'll have the sweater that she knit to put on and imagining her hugging me through it! Yes, this is more than worth it.

Back to the process.  I knit a swatch, complete with 4 sts in reverse stockinette for the zipper band, and proceeded with yarny surgery.

I've inserted needles above and below where I will cut. Carefully snipping the center stich and unraveling it, I had to adjust where the needles went into the stitches for the reverse stockinette. After separating the top and bottom halves, I added the new yarn to the bottom needle, knit two rows, and then lined everything up to begin kitchenering. Working the kitchener from right to left on the reverse stockinette was confusing, until I found a tutorial by Queen Kahuna that explained the "same off, opposite on" mantra. Knitty's Techniques with Teresa is helpful here, too. I just need to be careful where the purl is next to the knit stitch where the zipper band ends. I'm explaining this in detail for myself, as I've not done this before, and I want to keep things straight!
Ok, enough practice, on to the beast itself! Crossing fingers and toes that I don't mess it up. :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Quality time with Ron Weasley

Back in February, I started the Ron Weasley Blanket. The pattern is as faithful to the movie blanket as possible. I thought that as garter stitch squares, it would be a good, mindless knit for my post-surgery time, and it was. It's written as 80 squares to be knit and sewn together afterwards. I'm trying to join as I go, to eliminate sewing so many edges together. So far, so good. I'm knitting the diagonal squares separately and then sewing them in and continuing to pick up and knit the next square.

This worked really well in the winter. Now that we have 90 degree weather outside and the AC going in the living room, it's not so fun to knit with a growing afghan on one's legs, even if one is directly in the path of the AC!

I'll have to get creative with the positioning somehow. My July classwork is done and handed in for the HPKCHC, and Ravellenics/Quiddyllenics doesn't start until Friday afternoon, so I can have some quality time with my Ron Weasley blanket.

Until classes start up again in September.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vintage Deer Sweater yarn

So I've won the eBay auction (no other bidders on the lot), and sent payment. Now we wait for it to arrive. My hope is that if it's nearly as old as what I have, the color will be a fair enough match, and I could hold two or three strands together to at least finish the sleeves with near-enough matching yarn (this is Mary Maxim worsted weight pure wool, and I need Mary Maxim Northland wool). Of course, that might look just awful; maybe I should ply them together on my larger drop spindle. Wish I had a spinning wheel with a bulky bobbin right about now! Will have to play with it a bit and swatch and see what works better.

If the Cadena is a better match gauge-wise, and not too bright a color, I could just use it to finish the sweater and add in side panels to make it fit, and be done anguishing over it.

It's a special sweater to me in that my grandmother knit most of it. I can hold it to my face and smell her in it. We are almost two thousand miles apart, and Alzheimer's is taking her further and further away from us every day. It will have both our handwork in it together, and others might question the final product's appearance, but it will mean the world to me. :)

Vintage Deer Sweater

My maternal grandmother just celebrated her 82nd birthday, and doesn't knit any longer.
Years ago, she knit a reindeer sweater for each of her children, herself, and a few close family members. I have one made for someone else, which is too small for me and so my teenage daughter wears it. It was also apparently washed in warm water, and the colors bled.

My aunt just sent me her last reindeer sweater in progress and the yarn with it. I have always wanted one for myself, and was hoping to finish this one for me. I have been waiting very impatiently for it to arrive! The back, fronts, and half-way up the sleeves are done. Most of the colorwork is done already! I was hoping to complete it for myself, but there are a couple of problems. There isn't enough wool in natural with it to finish the sleeves and knit the collar. Brown and green, there is plenty of. It is also narrow and short, as it was being knit smaller than the graphed pattern, which would be way too small for my entering middle-aged, perimenopausal body. I wonder if she was replacing the one that was ruined; she was a tiny woman.

So now I am in search of wool, either in the needed brand, or a substitution, so I can finish her sweater. I've posted on the ISO group on Ravelry, and have had no positive responses yet. I dragged the family yarn crawling to the major chain craft stores in town with a sample in tow, and could find nothing that matches the weight and color of the wool. I've searched online, and on eBay. Nothing yet, but I'm keeping my hopes up.

7/15/12: Ordered three skeins of Cadena in natural from KnitPicks, we'll see if it's a close enough match. The notes say it has a yellow undertone, as does the original wool. Really hard to match years-old wool! Crossing fingers....

7/16/12: Also bid on four skeins of vintage Mary Maxim pure virgin wool, worsted weight, on ebay today. If I win it, and if it matches the color better than the Cadena, I could hold two or three strands together and finish this thing! Or use the Cadena for the collar, and the worsted to extend the side panels. If not, I'll have four skeins of natural and four skeins of burgundy wool to make something lasting with. :)