Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Obsession

Alice Starmore's knitting oevre is legendary among knitters. She has a site now called with lovely photos of her designs where you can purchase kits for the yarn. Sadly, many of her books remain out of print, but now and again they can be found on Ebay or, amazingly enough, in local libraries!
When I started this knitting odyssey, I was attracted to very complex designs, with lovely intricate colorwork and/or cables , but soon realized they were way beyond my skill level. I had a while to go in terms of learning before I could tackle anything that complicated. There is also the time factor: dancing between desiring instant gratification and long term projects , as well as the need to master as many things as possible, I gravitated towards lace, which gives the satisfaction of complexity with the speed of human timeframes on larger needles. For some situations, my RSD strikes and I have to back off, so that factors into my choice of projects . Also, I like to make garments that I can wear, so there is the intellectual challenge of knitting to create a 3 dimensional object and making something that fits me.
I have long adored Ms. Starmore's
an intricate cabled sweater, but because the smallest size is 43 inches across the chest, and has dropped sleeves, I knew I could not wear something this big, and it would not flatter me.
Zooming around Ravelry, ( ) I came across several folks who had modified the design to fit them, and I had the idea that I could try to knit something for myself.
I finally knew enough to have an idea how I could manage this! And I had several stashed yarns that might be fun to knit this with. And finally, I had a dear friend who had the book Aran Knitting, so I was able to borrow it on Dec 10th and obtain the pattern, which is charted out. So, it all came together into my winter obsession.
Now, what is the first thing one does when starting a new knitting project? Swatching! My first swatch, in Zara on a size 4 needle, didn't make me happy somehow. I swatched again with Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Superwash, a merino wool blend that has a rustic feel, but is actually nice to knit with. And it shows the cables nicely, and I had 10 skeins ( at 218 yds each) so I had plenty of yarn! And of course, it is in electric blue.
My swatch of this yielded 22 sts per inch on a 6 in double moss, which is pretty close to the pattern gauge, so I cast on and knit a repeat in the round of the whole sweater, subtracting 12 sts on each side, hoping it would come out to something more like 40 inches.I needed to make a set of stitch markers with letters on them so I could keep my place in the charts.
As is the nature of swatches, they lie! LOL! My swatch measures 46 inches!

But I now have a nice piece of fabric to measure and gauge how to redesign the pattern so it will hopefully fit me.

And it's back to the drawing board for thinking about this some more...

1 comment:

Susan Schrott, Textile Artist said...

you are amazing..your committment and mental work, coupled with your technique in everything you do, always impresses me.