Friday, February 01, 2013

FO Friday: My Fair Isle Sweater Is Done!

I did it!
This post is over-the-top BLUE and long, so get ready.

I am so glad I pushed on through this week and finished this project, even though it necessitated some neglect of the spousal unit. You know, lots of head-down, half-listening "mm-hmm" and "yes, hon" and sometimes silence for responses. Now I can go back to paying attention to my surroundings and such. This was the kind of project that called for complete Zen, in-the-moment concentration...and I still messed it up!

Yep, as I told you last post, I shifted the color pattern when the steeks started. I also picked up the wrong number of stitches around the neck and made it work anyway. I also worked the steeks wrong, I know I did. They got all fiddly after I cut and picked up stitches. I was afraid I would lose some of them, so I double reinforced and sewed a line just outside the fabric on the sewing machine. These sleeves and collar are NOT going to fall off!

And then there's one of my favorite fiddly bits--figuring out the yarn consumption. I guess I've gotten so used to obsessing over this whole subject by writing patterns myself. I am always so terrified of putting horribly wrong yarn amounts in my patterns that I usually spend too much time crunching yard/ounce ratios and working the percentages over and over. Why, you might be asking, did I spend any time figuring this out for a sweater that I knit from someone else's pattern? Because I ran out of yarn!! Not all the colors, mind you, just one of the main ones. 

I ran out of the one color that I had, again stubbornly, used instead of the yarn called for in the pattern. I had some Dale Hauk (comparable to Heilo) in a nice medium blue that I had decided would work just fine and would save me the cost of buying four more skeins of yarn. For some reason, I must have knit very loosely with that one color or something, because I used more of the blue than I did of the color that was supposedly the main color--the grey heather. I actually only used three of the five prescribed skeins of the grey. One partial reason for that is that I shortened the sleeves. Since this is for me and not a monkey-armed man, I took out two inches by leaving out the last blue and grey band and some of the cuff rib rounds. But still! Two skeins left of the grey and minus none of the blue? Ah, the eternal mysteries of knitting.

Anyway, the important thing is that after I realized I was not going to have enough of the blue to finish (long about the second sleeve) I looked for some online (none of my LYS's have this yarn) and found that what I was using was (gasp) discontinued! The horror! Not only that, but a search on Ravelry yielded--get this--one possible skein for sale! One! I sent a message to the seller and tried to wait. While waiting, I thought I would do something crazy like search my stash one more time. Maybe I had inadvertently stuck another of the precious blue skeins behind something else. Maybe it had gotten absorbed into some other pile. Mind you, I just reorganized my entire stash, so I knew what I had and where it was. That's when a little ah-ha moment came to me and I remembered a little group of yarn I rescued from my local craft store a few years ago. It was a lovely, rough, blue 100% Australian wool I had snagged for $1 a skein. Did I dare to see if it matched? I think I hemmed and hawed a little at that point, because I knew this might be my almost last chance. And then it was Hey! Let's see if a miracle can be squeezed out of this!

And it could. 
The yarn in back is my humble buck-a-ball find and the little bow remnant in front is the Dale Hauk. Amazing, huh? We need to be humble and grateful in these rare moments. We should pause....

Back to the story.
After the mishap with the color pattern on the body, I wasn't taking any chances. I charted the whole sleeve into three different sections so I could keep up with the decreases and color changes at the same time.

On the body I remembered to weave in the new color a few stitches before the seam and weave out the old color after the seam to avoid so much end-weaving at finishing time. Most of the ends you see will not need weaving in, thank goodness!

I wasn't always so wise, however, and there are still ends to weave in. This picture shows the steek facings before I ran a seam line on the machine and trimmed them. They were really bulky and half falling loose. I'm glad I did that step. Also, on the first sleeve, I had a mind warp and totally tied knots at the seam every single time I changed colors. I am a wonder to myself. Sometimes I just stand back and drop my myself.

I can't explain any of it. All I know is I love this sweater just as much as my first puppy and I wish I had time to make another one right now. I guess I like yarny torture.

Thank you for enduring my story, the jumpy-aroundness of it, and just my general obsessiveness with this whole project. I know, knitting friends, you understand my plight, but are also glad that now I can move on.



Anonymous said...

I'm so envious!

Nana Go-Go said...

An epic journey indeed but a very impressive result. It's absolutely lovely and in my favourite hues of blue. Wear it with pride Jen, it's FABULOUS!Can't wait for your lacy tales. x

Marie/Underground Crafter said...

Wow, this is a great sweater! And not only is it beautiful, but it has a story to go with it! Between the discontinued yarn and the find in your stash, you had me on edge :). (Of course, I saw the finished picture first, so I wasn't too nervous.)

Jen Hagan said...

Yeah, Marie, I kinda gave it away, didn't I? That's why I mentioned the "jumping around." I knew I had my facts all out of whack! Probably because I was thinking about the packing I was supposed to be doing. We went snowshoeing the next day. Fun! And thanks for the compliments!

Jen Hagan said...

Nana, thank you! I will wear it with pride (when my "power surges" will let me. I can't wait for the lace, either!