Monday, August 11, 2008

Ravelympics 2008 – Sweater Sprint

Now that I’ve had a few moments to breathe… more about the Sweater Sprint and the Plain Vanilla Pullover.

I have no idea what possessed me into thinking about competing in the Sweater Sprint for the Ravelympics2008. Knit an entire sweater in SEVENTEEN DAYS? I must have been hitting the sauce big time. Whacked out on coffee. High on chocolate. Something because 17 day is a relatively short period of time in the Knitiverse. People talk about sweaters taking MONTHS if not YEARS to complete. So who am I, a lowly intermediate knitter, to think that I could accomplish such a Herculean task? The other insanity factor in this is that I have never successfully completed a sweater before. I attempted one other and it became a lovely throw (the Ex made so much fun of it and me that I frogged the whole thing) So yes, I see that I am completely nuts. BUT I’ve made EXCELLENT progress… let me explain…

Le Chandail
I’m doing the Plain Vanilla Pullover for More Big Girl Knits. Long-sleeve, scoop neck, hour-glass sweater. In straight Stockenette. See? Plain Vanilla. No whiz-bang-fancy-dancy-knitting-jedi stuff. Just a nice plain everyday sweater. It’s one of those patterns that you take your measurements; do a bit of math, and – Voila, le chandail! (OK, I did not pull “le chandail” out of the depths of my cloudy highschool French brain archives. I looked it up. All hail le Google!) You have a sweater pattern! Mom and I had a frenzy of measuring one day so I have the first part of the equation. I decided to go with Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Truffle. The yarn is super soft, however I’m a little concerned that it will get “pilly” after some use. I had a terrible time getting a decent gauge swatch for this. The test swatches were all over the place – bigger needles giving me more stitches per inch than the smaller needles! It really made me manic. So, with a deep breath, I jumped up a needle size and closed my eyes, cast on, and hoped it would come out ok. Gulp.

I started off with the sleeves. And for some reason I didn’t do them at the same time. I figured this was the easiest part of the project and if I could get it out of the way first. Then I could focus on the harder parts. I’m not sure this is the best strategy but hey, this is a learning process (albeit on a crash course!). Next I planned to tackle the back of the sweater. Again, this piece should be a fairly straight forward. Then will come the front which will be a tad tricky. MBGK uses short rows for the bust shaping. I’ve never really done short rows before so if anyone has any tips I’d love to hear them.

Problems and Progress
I was in between two sizes measurement wise, so the book said to go with the smaller size (“Hey, knit stretches”). That might not have been the best choice. I fear it will be on the small size. (more incentive to get in shape right???). Also, I think I did some of my calculations wrong. The increases for the waist shaping would have made the top WAY too long. (I think) So I frogged back and decreased the number of rows between the increase rows. I’m hoping this will solve the problem so long as I do the exact same thing on the front (RIGHT???). I think there was a mistake on the instructions for the shoulder cap. All of a sudden 10 stitches disappear! It says to bind off a total of 7 stitches, but the stitch count for the end of that row is 17 stitches different! I think this was just a typo. I hope so, if not, I’ll have slightly misshapen sleeves. (Frankenstein Sweater here I come!).

So I have both sleeves done. That’s a huge relief. And I am up to the armhole decrease on the back. THAT WAS A LOT OF KNITTING! Seriously, I did very little but knit this weekend, but if I’m going to complete this sucker in 17 days, I needed to get a jump start. I should be able to get the back done today and tomorrow. And cast on the front by Wednesday. The folks are coming to town this weekend and I’m not sure how much knitting I’ll actually get done (the front with all that short row nonsense is NOT mindless knitting).

In three days, I’ve made awesome progress! I still have a full two weeks to get this done. I will not however, procrastinate with this sucker. I will bust this out as fast as possible. I should have been keeping track of the amount of time I spent knitting to know exactly how long it will take. Oh well. Next time…

And speaking of next time… I’m thinking of doing the “Bountiful” sweater next as in like order the yarn this week!!). It’s a yolk style sweater with cute cabled ribbing AND a bit of color work on the yolk. AND it is steeked. Gulp and double gulp. Hey, if I can knit a sweater in 17 days, steeks should be no problem!!! As Yoda would say “There is no try, there is only do”

1 comment:

Ryan said...

EEK! Steek!

Good luck on your sweater. Your mom was a big help to me on my first sweater this week, so you'll have to take advantage of her visit this weekend!