In the verbal tug of war in which DH accuses me of being stubborn, whereas I insist I am tenacious, I’m beginning to think that he is right. We’re about to face our fourth heat wave of the summer (it feels like the end of August to me now, not mid-July) and I’m still knitting away on Mara. This project is so captivating that I’m willing to brave sweaty hands and a wool body tube in my lap rather than break out the lace yarn and needles for my summer knitting.
Mara’s body tube is about 60 percent finished, and the aspect of it that is captivating me is the shaping for the armhole and V neck.
I haven’t been progressing very quickly, which is one reason there haven’t been many posts about my work. I would like to post after every session: Hey, I haven’t screwed up yet or show a “I-didn’t-screw-up-o-meter.” That would be boring—so the posting pace on my progress will be intermittent. But I have been deliberate in working on each row and checking the pattern. Slow is much better than ripping, which I’ve learned from experience on this project. The only way I can fix something, without making things worse, is to tink back each stitch. That takes entire evenings for just one round.
The pattern gives no charting for the decreases, and it would be very easy (for me at least) to mess up the alignment of the patterns. I thought about copying the chart and marking the decreases, but I really did not have enough experience with Fair Isle knitting to think that I could do this accurately. I’ve used markers only for the large blue-green motif, and I left them in for the red zigzag and smaller light blue-green-purple motif. This gives me some help in confirming that I’m correct in the middle of the fronts and back, but not along the decreased edges. For that, I’ve been threading waste yarn to verify the positioning.
The V looks a bit wonky in this photo because the yarn changes aren’t always exactly in the middle of the front steek, but the V is correct.
I also wasn’t sure how the armhole would work out, but it is rather like a giant opening for a mitten thumb. The live stitches will be picked up for the underarm, and the part cast on above them is the armhole steek—to be stitched on a sewing machine and cut open.
Another aspect of the body tube where Alice Starmore leaves you on your own is in the direction of the armhole decreases. She explicitly notes how to decrease at the front edge of the V. So I decided to have the armhole decreases point toward the armhole—a completely arbitrary decision, but they do look better this way to my eye.
The decreasing for the last several rows has required a lot of concentration. The armhole decreases are every other row, and the neck-edge decreases are every third row. I wrote the rows out on graph paper, indicating where the decreases go. It will get easier after the next row, because I’m done with the armhole shaping and only continue on the V.
Once the body tube is done, the pattern asks you to cut the armhole steek, pick up stitches, and knit to the cuff. But I may pause to block the tube so I can get a good measure of the sleeve length. The sleeve requires full patterns, and I want to be sure that there are no rude surprises when I go from the shoulder to the cuff.
So for now, I’m holed up in AC pretending that fall is around the corner, and that is likely to continue.