Last weekend was devoted to Rest and Relaxation. The stress of working on all cylinders for so many months got to me and I spent the weekend Revisiting my WIPs. Now that the weekend is past, I’m a definitely a better woman for it. I was more mellow and relaxed this week, even though the annoyances didn’t disappear.
High on my list was Returning to Sirdal. I had stopped work on this nearly 11 months ago after the ridiculously warm early spring last year. I thought I had to chart the sleeves because there’s an error (or at a minimum some very arcane instructions) in the pattern. But after pulling out my knitted tube, I saw that I had never completed the neck edge. That was where I started.
To shape the neck, Sirdal requires flat knitting in two colors. Like any one-color sweater made in flat pieces, I’d have to purl on the private side and stranded purling side is not something I was looking forward to. I consider it a major achievement that I’ve managed to knit English style. Whenever I try to purl English style, it is truly a sorry sight. Needles fly everywhere, and the result is a hopeless mess. I took a class at Stitches East in knitting backward just to see if it would be possible to work in Reverse. The teacher showed us how pickers would knit backward, and I managed that quite well. When I asked about reverse stranding with yarn in each hand, she said it was possible but she would not demonstrate it because there was enough to cover without that complexity (as I fully appreciate).
So I spent some hours on the weekend Reviewing backward knitting as a picker, learning to knit backward as a thrower, and combining the whole shebang into one smooth movement, like this. My trial swatch progressed from puckered to smooth, and I was ready to work on the Real thing.
For much of my weekday nighttime knitting, I did not have to use my newfound skills. After I divided for the neck, the next several rows were either red or white, and so I could just knit and purl away as I would on any sweater knit flat.
But eventually, this happy state of affairs came to an end, and last night I spent almost an hour doing the first of what will be four 260-stitch rows of stranded purling (see the last row knit). Here is the motif that will extend across the shoulders, and the rows that need stranded purling are circled in green.
The sleeves use the technique too because the bottoms are like blouse cuffs with buttons and buttonholes.
Although there’s still a lot to do to complete Sirdal, I hope that before long (and especially before it warms up) I can use the F-word to describe it: Finished.