I’ve been as slow to respond to the cooler weather as I was to adjust to the summerlike heat that descended on us in May. And I feel guilty for letting this prime knitting weather slip by. The heat derailed my progress on my stranded WIPs, and Sirdal has languished in its storage box for months. I had also made some progress on Colour Your Own, but that sweater required some decisions about shaping. You’d think (as I did) that I’d embrace the coolness and hunker down on knitting with heavy wool again—but it has been hard to get back into those projects. Once I get into a rut of any sort, it is hard to climb out.
Sirdal requires some knitting back and forth (aka stranded purling) at the shoulder area. I’ve gotten to the point where throwing when I knit doesn’t make me feel totally spastic, but when I looked at various online videos of stranded purling, my brain went into meltdown mode. Needles flew everywhere when I tried it. I swatched a bit by purling only in combined or Continental style, combined being my purling method of choice. I did that by dropping one strand, purling with the other, etc. Even though there are only a few rows that would require back-and-forth color knitting, it was truly tedious and the yarns got unbelievably tangled. I signed up for a Stitches class in knitting backward, and if it is possible to use that technique for these few rows, it would be ideal. So I’m waiting to take that class before resuming Sirdal—heck, a few more weeks before resuming its status as a WIP hardly matters, right?
In the mean time, I’ve been working on Nancy Bush’s Traveler’s Socks. The pattern description explains what a great traveling project this is, but I must confess that if I did not work on the patterned top in the quiet of my home, while seated before a table, with an Ott-type light shining on my work, this project would have been abandoned completely. I’m at the point where the pattern ends, except for the clocks that run down the side to the toes:
I made every conceivable mistake in getting to this point. My favorite is to knit two together instead of twisting, only to find on the next round that I’m short a stitch (or more, depending on how often I’ve done this). Tinking the 78 stitches is a huge pain, and ripping and attempting to pick up an entire round is beyond my abilities—I had to restart the pattern region twice after attempting this bit of sleight of hand. But I think I can manage to complete the rest without too many more mistakes, and it is destined to accompany me to Stitches.
So that left Colour Your Own as the project to resume, but I'm doing it by knitting a completely different sweater in Valley Yarns (WEBS' house brand) teal Stockbridge. This is not the bout of startitis that it might appear to be. If this experimental sweater using EZ’s shaped sleeves in the round works, I’d use this sleeve construction as a way to reduce the bulk of Colour Your Own. In WEBS’ summer sale, there was an incredible bargain on Stockbridge yarn (the yarn I used for Laela, and loved). At $2.69 a ball, I just couldn’t pass it up. And because I knit Laela in the same yarn, I already knew what my gauge would be, about how many stitches to cast on, and how the yarn knitted up. So I’ve been swatching for a sweater that will be reasonably simple to knit, allowing me to focus on the shoulder shaping, but still end up as something I’d like to wear. I decided to modify this pattern motif, taken from Nicky Epstein’s Knitting on the Edge:
I had thought about shaping the sweater, but the wool-alpaca of Stockbridge is very soft and drapy, and I don't want that much cling. Instead, I decided to take advantage of the softness of the yarn and make the sweater a bit shorter than usual for me—sitting near the waist rather than a few inches below. And last night, I finally cast on. The knitting will be very easy, but the vertical stripes of the twisted stitches will give me some help extending this sweater to others constructed the same way (that might include some more traditional Fair Isle sweaters). In sewing terms, this sweater will be like a sloper—a basic pattern that I can apply to other designs. So this is now the current WIP, which, in fact, also might make a reasonable travel project too.