Green Green Everywhere

A Sweater for Anne  Me

Oh my!  I returned a few days ago from a week-long trip to New Jersey to see family and friends.  I had a few days to myself before David joined me and I planned to blog during the trip.  It was a great trip with so much to write about but in the end the words wouldn’t come.  So, rather than push it, I decided to let it go.  I am home now, back in my space where creating just seems to happen.  So remember this?

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This was the yarn that Anne selected for the sweater that I was knitting for her.  Well, it’s a good thing I like green. In fact, it’s my favorite color.  Because this sweater turned out to be my size (barely), not hers.  I had warned Anne, as I was halfway through the project, that it was looking a little skimpier than I had anticipated.  This was disappointing because one of the reasons we chose this pattern was because I had already knitted it up in a short sleeve version that fit Anne perfectly.  Sorry honey.

The thing about knitting is that if you change the weight of the yarn even a little bit the gauge can be off.  Gauge refers to the number of stitches per inch, both horizontally and vertically that you need to have in order to achieve the finished measurements.  A way to “make the gauge” is to change up needle sizes.  This also helps knitters adjust for how loosely or tightly they knit.  So before a project really gets going there’s a bit of tinkering that goes on.

In this case, the yarn Anne chose was slightly lighter in weight than the one I had used previously and even after upping the needle sizes the gauge was a little bit small.  And I learned that a little bit small adds up to a whole size small when all is said and done.  So without further ado, here’s my new sweater:

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And up close, here’s the lace pattern:

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And the trim:

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If you’re thinking, “wow, those stitches are soooo even”, so am I!  As a relatively new knitter it’s been a real challenge to knit with even tension.  There are a couple of reasons why this project was so technically successful (the gauge issue notwithstanding).  First, the entire sweater is knit “in the round” using these:

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Knitting in the round means that the entire body of the sweater is knitted at once eliminating the need for pesky seaming which I’m not great at.  In addition, the smooth “stockinette stitch” which makes up the non-lace part of the body is achieved by knitting all the rows.  If a project requires turning the work after each row the stockinette stitch is created by knitting a row and purling a row.  For me those purl rows are a bear;  the motion is not as natural for me and this inevitably shows up as uneven tension from row to row.  And that brings me to:

Blocking

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Years ago when I first tried (and failed) at knitting I complained about uneven stitches, and my mother always said “oh, you can block that out”.  I didn’t even get that far back then, but now I get it.  Blocking is essentially wetting the sweater, either by submerging or spraying it, pushing and pulling it into the proper shape and dimensions, pinning it down and letting it dry completely.  Wetting the yarn literally causes it to relax and the stitches almost reorganize themselves into a more even configuration.  Plus any lace patterns or cables will become more prominent. My “pinned into submission” sweater is shown above.  I blocked it yesterday and it was fully dry this morning.  Blocking hides a multitude of sins and in this case, helped me make a too-small sweater fit.

As it turns out, Anne is in the middle of mild Chicago summer weather, and David and I are headed to Montana in ten days to explore Glacier National Park.  So maybe this turned out the way it was meant to.  I will be rocking this look, “apres-hike” in Montana:

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And while we’re on the subject of green, look what else we came home to:

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This honking zucchini is our first full-size veggie from the garden.  Shocking to see it really!  Well this guy is slated for some zucchini, quinoa and parmesan fritters.  Details to follow 🙂

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9 thoughts on “Green Green Everywhere

  1. Oh Lis……love, love, love this sweater! The pattern, fit and color look beautiful on you! Whether it’s even tension, needles in the round, blocking or just plain talent, this looks like a professional made it. Enjoy all the “fruits” of your labor 🙂

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  2. Adorable sweater!

    I come from a long line of knitters and crochet-ers, but never developed the knack or interest. Now I no longer have the patience. Or eyesight.

    My mother has an afghan made by her grandmother. She knows it from ones made by other faint members because of her proclivity toward purple yarn in the squares. The borders are black, like the others

    My maternal grandmother made me an afghan that matched the colors of my room in River Edge, and another for my college dorm.

    And my great aunt (Ruthie) on my father’s side knitted me a sweater for my 16th birthday. I can still remember picking out the wool with her. It hung in my closet unused for years. When she died about 10 years ago, I wore it to the graveside funeral. And when we were asked to share stories about her, I talked about the sweater and how much it meant to me. A friend of my aunt’s daughter who I had never met hugged me later, saying she felt like she was hugging Ruthie. Powerful!

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    • Thanks for sharing the story about your aunt. Handmade things are all about the love. I wonder how you felt actually wearing the sweater? I wear everything I make even with imperfections. There’s something about that great energy…

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  3. Malabrigo !

    I was in my local yarn shop today and the owner was talking on the phone to someone about how small the batches are It sounded as if a dyelot is offered to retailers via catalog (?) or whatever and is only made up *for that order specifically.*

    The sweater turned out great!

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    • I had to look up what Malabrigo was!!! I didn’t realize that was the name of the yarn I was using (or something like it). Interestingly I wouldn’t have gone for something with all the color gradations but I love how it looks. Kudos to my daughter and a reminder to expand my horizons.

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  4. I hadn’t thought about this until you just asked. But wearing that sweater reminds me of the warmth I felt for -and from her, and how special she was to me. I actually feel it just by looking at it in the closet. All about the love, indeed.

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