This year, I finally got the opportunity to participate in the “Knitting Olympics” with my hero, the Yarn Harlot. I was excited all through January, finishing up projects so I could focus all my time and energy on whatever project I chose to knit competitively. After consulting with my daughter, Sami, it was decided that the project I made for the KOs would be for her, and in a pattern of her choosing.
Oh yeah, first mistake. To be fair, I did hand her Debbie Bliss’s “Celtic Knits” to aid her in her search for the perfect cardigan. And, to be even more fair, I did tell her that she could choose the yarn as well, then showed her some of the lovely choices on Knit Picks. And in the Olympic spirit, I admit that I waited until Thursday (yes, the day before the Olympics started) to order the yarn – although, in my defense, I thought they started on Sunday and felt I could deal with a one day handicap if the yarn didn’t arrive on Saturday.
Well. Let me tell you. I retrieved my yarn from FedEx on Monday morning, only to realize that I didn’t have the right size needles to start, and the yarn store that opens at 10:00am doesn’t open at all on Mondays, and the yarn store that DOES open on Mondays doesn’t do so until noon, and I had to drive to LA at noon – and my route did not take me anywhere near the Monday-noon-yarn-store. So I went to Michaels, where I discovered the only option for size 4 needles was straight, long and spindly bamboo. This was an emergency, so I got them anyway.
I proceeded to knit every time I had more than a few minutes free. I was doing pretty well, too, until I realized how much I hated the cables in the pattern Sami had picked. They crossed, once, then continued up for 10 rows only to end abruptly and restart at the center. In addition to them being kinda ugly, they also required cabling on every right side row. For fancy-shmancy cables, I might be willing to let this slide. But not for ugly ones.
So, on Wednesday morning I frogged the whole thing and made up a chart for a cable I liked. Now that I only had to cable on 3 rows out of 20, I was flying right along. And then, yesterday evening, I did something I should have done LONG ago.
I read the rest of the directions.
At the very end, it mentions referring back to page 7 to read about finishing the sweater. In the section on finishing, I found that the sweater I was knitting was designed to be knit in yarn that, although machine washable, will shrink. Apparently, it will shrink quite a bit. The finished, unwashed length of the sweater is 28″. The final length is 22″. Oh yeah, and I’m using hand-wash-lay-flat-to-dry-alpaca-silk yarn, which, if cared for properly, will NOT shrink.
I’m not starting over again. I’m just going to hold it up to Sami’s back frequently to make sure I’m still making her a sweater & not a dress. I’m nearly halfway to the arm hole shaping on the back (60 rows down, 73 to go). This makes me a bit sad, because I’m beginning to doubt that I’ll be able to finish in time to get the Gold. But then, when I really think about it (which, as evidenced above, I should probably do a lot more often), I got this far in just two days. I have 8.5 (or so) left.
I might just be able to pull this off!
Olympic Sweater – Debbie Bliss’s “Shaped Denim Jacket” (with heavy modifications) in Knit Picks Elegance (Jade)