Friday, May 18, 2007

"Assembling sweaters correctly is tedious monotonous work. If the work is done in a hurry you can easily ruin an otherwise beautiful sweater...."

-Gertrude Taylor, America's Knitting Book, 1968

Ms Taylor is a firm and exacting teacher, not exactly Knitting Without Tears (which may explain the wild popularity of Elizabeth Zimmerman when she hit the scene). But Ms Taylor is also often right.

Sigh.... Finishing.... I don't mind weaving in ends, though there often seem to be more of them than can logically be accounted for. Weaving in is rather soothingly boring as long as I'm patient about it. I can do a decent vertical seam in mattress stitch without thinking about it too much. But setting in sleeves is nerve wracking, even little sleeves.

I mark the center stitch on the sleeve and match it to the shoulder join. I whip stitch baste the sleeve top to the armhole edge.

I mattress stitch the two pieces together.

And darned if nine times out of ten I don't end up picking out some or all of it, because even with the basting I've eased too little or too much.

Sometimes I just say "the heck with it" and backstitch from the inside. For some reason, I find matching the pieces simpler that way. But it's a bulkier seam, and less elastic, so it's a trade off.


Back to the "have/haven't done" meme

I have done mittens from the cuff up and Norwegian knitting.

The sweater is a very basic "Louse Coat". I made it with yarn and a pattern that my Mom brought me from her first trip to Norway (she asked what I wanted....). The pattern was in Norwegian, but that didn't really matter, because it was pretty fully charted, and I had books* that described the construction and assembly techniques.

I charted out the mittens myself from pattern graphs in some of the same books. The green and white pair are an object lesson in "color dominance" in stranded knitting. It wasn't until I finished the second mitten that I realised I had carried the green with my left hand on one mitten and with the right hand on the other. I have craftily laid them out in the photo so this is not quite so obvious, but if you put them next to each other right side up, it's pretty blatant. On the other hand, I don't think anyone has ever looked closely enough at my hands to notice when I've actually worn them.

* Books

Dale Yarn Company; Knit Your Own Norwegian Sweaters

Gibson-Roberts, Priscilla A.; Knitting in the Old Way

Lind, Vibeke; Knitting in the Nordic Tradition

McGregor, Sheila; The Complete Book of Tradition Scandinavian Knitting

Pagoldh, Susanne; Nordic Knitting

and of course Zimmerman, Elizabeth; Knitting Without Tears and A Knitters Almanac

Despite this wealth of source material, I do rather find myself craving a new book that just showed up on the Knit Picks site: Selbuvotter (The name just means Selbu Mittens) (and Selbu is the district they come from) by Terri Shea.

Edited to add: Oh yeah, I've never knit mittens from the top down, but I'm not ruling it out.


CatBookMom said...

O.M.G. You knitted that? All that uber-complicated stuff? For fun? You are awesome!!

Given all the other projects I know I want to do (all of them 'right away', of course!), and the amount of frogging I do as a matter of course on so many projects, I may be a tottery little old CBM by the time I get around to needing a challenge of that magnitude!

Cindy G said...

Well, the sweater isn't really that "uber complicated", there are much more intricate Norwegian patterns our there. (Dale of Norway). And knitting in the round really simplifies the color work.

But I should note I didn't just whip these out recently. They're older projects that I pulled out for "show and tell" purposes.

kmkat said...

Gorgeous colorwork, lady! Those Norwegian sweaters are so homey to me. Seems like everyone lucky enough to have one, whether purchased or hand-knit, breaks them out in December for the winter. And I always mourn the fact that I would die of heat prostration in one.

Did you get the notice that I tagged you for the Eight Random Facts About Me meme? Have fun!

TracyKM said...

For sewing the sleeve in....I pin the center and edges, and then graft (?), so it's creating another row of sts. I usually join 3 sts of the sleeve to 3 rows of the armhole, then skip one armhole row. Just like if I were to knit the sleeve from the top down. It usually works out really well, sometimes I have to fudge one or two sts, but it's usually under the arm.
Your other stuff is gorgeous! I haven't done any of that Norwegian stuff. Or miters. Or freeform....

TracyKM said...

I usually don't cast off the sleeve. Much of what I do is baby/kid stuff and they don't really need the bulk. And with adult stuff, it I have enough yarn is the big factor, LOL. I find it easier sometimes to do it with live stitches, sometimes it's easier with the cast off edge there. There's no right or wrong :)

Cindy G said...

Thanks Tracy,
I'm going to try it that way.