Tuesday, December 20, 2005

it all started when someone told me about a beautiful sweater.....

top left to right:
greenish cascade 220 (initially bought for a Rouge cardigan)
a green tweedy Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed
green/blue/purple cascade 220 quatro (read this yarns potential fate below)
Bottom left to right:
Jo Sharp wool in an icy purple-gray color (an after-test yarn splurge because it was on sale)
Bartlett wool in blueberry (bought after my mom's sweater in this yarn was finished)
Rowan Big Wool in Berry (this yarn screams "warm!")

another view of the yarns - somewhere between these two pictures is where the "true" colors exist. (the Aran Tweed looks better when it's not sitting next to the cascade...)

At the most recent Harlot Sighting at Willow's bookstore (last October?) I had a chance to meet up with a group of knitters who were all at Rhinebeck this fall. Kellee and I discussed the merits of cascade 220 (it started with a "perfect sweater" discussion) and she mentioned that she had seen a beautiful rendition of St. Brigid done in 220 and it was as soft as it looked. A helpful link pointed me in the right direction and after I'd poured over Vicki's page on her St. Brigid I was convinced I needed to make one of my own.

I'd emailed with Katy about the knit-a-long, but I tend to shy away from group things and didn't think a knit-a-long was the best idea for me. In the emails I learned where the pattern was (in a very much out of print book - Alice Starmore's "Aran Knitting") and learned that I could probably use InterLibrary Loan to get ahold of the book. After a little paperwork and a few weeks wait I had it in my own hands, and know that I can get it again if I decide to go ahead and knit this one up.

St. Brigid is one of the sweaters that catapulted me into reading knitting blogs - the pattern was simple enough that the cables really stood out and it wasn't too fussy looking and had a true feminine edge to it. (that could have been the models wearing it, I know, I know.) I like cables, and after hearing it was possible to knit it up in cascade 220 the wheels in my head started turning....

I had six skeins of the purple/blue/green quatro in my stash that were a result of a special order during a local store's winter yarn sale last year (12/04). I called them a month or two ago to see if they had more of it in the same lot and they did (!) so I picked up another 4 hanks. I love the colors of this yarn and bought the 10 hanks after I fell in love with the way it knit up into a warm winter scarf. Now I have enough to go ahead with the sweater, but do I have the time?

A sweater for me is the ultimate project but so far my attempts at them haven't been too successful. My noro sweater needs to be taken apart and re-knitted with some waist shaping and additional length, the sonnet sweater needed a trip through the washing (felting) machine to be wearable and my striped brown sheep cotton sweater is still in time out for sleeves that aren't quite right. I did finish a warm (and simple top down raglan) sweater for my mom last year and I've had great luck with kid's sweaters, but my confidence in another sweater for me is shaken.

Part of the problem is that I have no idea what looks good on me. Margene and Claudia are great examples of people who know what styles look good and what sizes are best for their body types - I don't think I've figured that out yet. I do know that cardigans look better then pullovers (and are more practical) and that some negative or less ease (or a more fitted style) is more flattering. But putting those things together into a sweater that I'll wear? that's the trouble....

I have enough yarn for several sweaters but only a (relatively) short time amount of quality time to spend with my knitting before the craziness of my rotations starts up again. Do I make a simple top down cardigan in the blueberry Bartlett because I know it's simple enough to work on? Do I knit something up with the big wool because it'll be a fast knit and warm enough to wear this winter? Is a Rogue finally in my future? Or I do start swatching the quatro for a St. Brigid and do the best I can with it before I start in the hospital again?

I don't know. I do know that until some of the above it knitted up, I do not need any more sweater yarns.....


Blogger Anne-Caroline said...

I would say...do something you can finish! There are two sweaters I have in my UFO box, both of which should be easy to finish, and I feel so dumb every time I look at them because I know they should be done!

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm - I say do something that isn't too "mind-needing" so that when you're back on rotation, you'll still be able to make progress. In your shoes, I'd probably tackle the aran you love (b/c you love it and that's the point), or maybe Rogue, or a top-down cardi with a bit more waist shaping then the Noro (which I like fine BTW - and you could cheat and do waist-shaping by cutting and sewing sort of like a reverse steek...) (I'm daring at times, what can I say...). Mull it all over tonight, swatch a bit, and see what happens....! Sara

8:42 PM  
Blogger claudia said...

Before tackling an Alice Starmore (guaranteed boxy shape, drop shoulders, constant cabling) if I were you I'd seriously consider Rogue. I think a Rogue cardi, knit to be fitted, would look really nice on you.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

Sounds like you need a success. Simple wool (no mixtures), full model shot available of the knitted sample (ala Righetti's advice), enough pattern interest to keep your attention without breaking new ground. Something you can possibly do waist shaping on without major maths. Just one opinion.

9:16 AM  
Blogger Vicki Knitorious said...

Hey! I do love St. Brigid, no secret there. I have bought similar sweaters and worn them to death in the past, so I knew that the style and shape of St.B. was at least something I liked and was comfortable wearing, even if there was an argument to be made as to whether it's "right" for me.

The clue there is to take a look in your own closet -- what kinds of store-bought shapes are in there, what do you wear, what makes you feel good, what looks good on you?

I haven't knit it yet, but I don't think you can go wrong with Rogue. Has anyone knit it that hasn't loved it? If you think that St.B. is definitely in your future, though, I wouldn't shy away from starting it. Personally, I took a little break between pieces -- might have been Christmas in there -- but even without such a distraction, I don't know if I'd have been able to knit on that exclusively from start to finish. It is a LOT of cabling. Anyway, I would recommend my own method of starting with a sleeve...

9:22 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

I would knit something simple in a shape you like. This will give you the confidence and the motivation to tackle a more complex sweater, and will also give you an idea of how to think about styles you like ...

11:37 AM  
Blogger margene said...

I saw simple and well fitting so that you know you can finish it and will wear it. You can tackle St. Brigid when you have more time and know it is something you'll wear.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

I vote Rogue, cardi version. Several reasons: 1. I'm about to start mine after Christmas (right before I move to San Diego, good idea, right?), so we can both be behind the curve on this one 2. Cardigans are (almost) always better than pullovers 3. The pattern has attention-needing-parts and stockinette-stitch parts - perfect for a rotation, because you can do the cables when you have time to concentrate (now) and do the st st when you're stressed. #3 is the best reason - I love projects like that

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Ann said...

Gorgeous batch of yarns! I'll be curious to see what you end up making!

Merry Christmas or whatever you may be celebrating this time of year!

2:49 PM  

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