Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Made It

It wasn't even a race at the end. I finished off the 2nd sleeve Sunday morning. We sent it through the washer and drier - twice. No one told me Pima Tencel sheds like cottonwood trees in June.

At that point it would have been wearable, but we still had to address the loop-and-button issue. When push came to shove, the pattern directions weren't quite as helpful as I remembered. "With 2 strands of yarn, make a 2 1/2" loop...taking care to attach the loop firmly to the robe" didn't quite give me the detail I was craving. I wanted the knitterly equivalent of that most basic of cooking instructions "stand facing the stove." In the end, I did something completely different anyway. I hauled out my trusty size G/4 mm crochet hook.

Instead of making a triple-strand loop (triple, because the Pima Tencel is thinner than the yarn used in the book), I made a chain much shorter than called for (1 1/4"). Instead of working buttonhole stitch, I single-crocheted along the chain.

I was pleased with the end product.

While we're on the subject, there are a number of things I would have changed had I been a braver knitter or had I been making this for the second time.

I would have knit it to the blocked length - about 6" shorter than the unblocked (which, incidentally, may explain why I ran out of yarn). I could have sworn that, unlike the swatches with the various fancy border yarns, the straight Pima Tencel swatch shrunk lengthwise but not widthwise. Clearly I was wrong, and swatches lie.

Given Clare's body type, I should have placed the waist shaping either directly below the armholes or left it out entirely. We compensated some by placing the button several inches higher than shown in the book.

I would have used a silk-wool blend, although presumably that would have disqualified me for the KAL.

Of course, the only way for me to figure this out was to knit it the first time. It's a tricky thing. You have to get through hard first, before you can get to easy, or less hard. Still, it is a beautiful thing and Clare looks beautiful in it. More importantly, she loves it. So hats off to Deb.

Nitty Gritty:
Pattern - Sweet Indulgence from Amy Singer's No Sheep For You, designed by Deb White of "Not Pretty to Watch."
Yarn - Cascade Pima Tencel in 7478/Wine Red, double stranded except for the border at the bottom of the robe and at the cuffs where I triple-stranded.
Needles - Addi Turbo's 10 3/4 (Pattern used 9's. Bad tight knitter, bad, bad).

The robe has been packed up and Clare is on her way to her great adventure.

I suppose I could add something here, about how the whole experience has been a metaphor for the process of lettting go. There. Consider it added.

And we were hardly even out of breath.


diane h said...

Stunning, absolutely amazing -

Bobbi said...

congrats on finishing! it looks great!

alpineflower said...

Congratulations on reaching the wire with time to spare, but even more so on letting go. You're a brave and loving mother - and she'll prove it to you every time she gets in touch or comes home. Good job!

AmyArtisan said...

Wow - the robe looks wonderful! It has been great to read & see your process of working on this. I'm sure Clare will treasure it - how wonderful to have a great big hug from your Mom anytime you need it. :)