Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Next Sweater

DS1 is a sweater kind of guy, which is lucky, since I'm a sweater kind of knitter. I'm starting a new one for him in a light color - a first in his collection of dark browns, blues, greens, and charcoals. The plan for this sweater is to fit it to him along the way, so I will work on bits of it to the point where he is needed, and then wait to see him to check the fit and plan the next step.

This is the yarn, Cascade Ecological Wool,an undyed Peruvian wool that has not been chemically processed. It's a heavy worsted, very smooth yarn with a nice drape and feel. Now let me tell you, that is a huge basket and those skeins are enormous as far as skeins of yarn go - 478 yards. I bought 6 skeins, which is probably enough to clothe a giant, but I'll just return the extra.

The price of receiving a handknit sweater is helping to wind it from the skein. This used to be accomplished by children who sat for many long minutes with their arms extended, yarn draped between their hands, while I wound the yarn into balls. Being intelligent children, they quickly bought me a swift and a winder at the earliest opportunity. 
Here is the wool unbound and held in suspension on the swift. If you are lucky it takes as long to put it on the swift as it took to type this sentence. Every now and then you have a mess, a tangle of yarns that have no intention of unwinding smoothly or even in the same direction. Somewhere close to the swift you have...
...the ball winder. DS1 is the operator here, winding with one hand and keeping the other on the yarn for tension. The goal is a compact ball of yarn that will not collapse into a huge knot or be so tightly wound that the yarn is exhausted from being stretched.

We wound four of the skeins, leaving two intact in case of returns. Since this sweater is being knitted without a pattern I only have a rough idea of how much yarn I'll need, so I'll wind the other skeins if I need them. The wound balls are gorgeous, as always, and very big! There is nothing for scale in this picture but they are large, two-handed, 6-inch diameter, not-going-to-stuff-into-my-purse balls of yarn.
They also, incidentally, pull from the center. As all balls of yarn should.
Finally, here's the beginning. Worked up from the bottom, this is the ribbing at the waist with a few inches of body worked. It looks small but that's because the circular cable is shorter than the circumference of the sweater, to keep the stitches moving along. The pretty stitch marker indicates the beginning of a round of knitting. Once I reached this point in the knitting, I slipped it onto a larger cable so it could be tried on and we could confirm that it is the desired width at the bottom. 
Last night I cast on for a sleeve ribbing and knitted a cuff for DS to try on. It was a 48 stitch ribbing and just a little too loose, so I pulled it and will cast on 44 stitches for a better fit.

Now if only I could just sit down for hours and hours at a stretch and knit....

No comments: