14 January 2009

WIP Wednesday: Tangled Yoke Cardigan

The "WIP Wednesday" thing is a bit gimmicky, but whatever.

I bought a giant cone of anonymous wool sport/DK-weight yarn at Vermont Sheep and Wool this September, $15 for 2250 yards! It's brown with a gray halo, well-spun (2-ply) but not thoroughly washed, so full of lanolin. I think I like that, but it's a little bit weird to have two lightly-waxed fingertips on each hand.

Usually when I buy yarn, I sometimes have a vague idea of what I want to do with it.... but I'm not one of those people who has the self-discipline to buy specific yarn for a specific project and that's it. I buy stash yarn, and then knit from my stash. But with this yarn, I knew exactly what it was for: the Tangled Yoke Cardigan from Fall 2007 Interweave Knits.

I began working on a sleeve during a three-day conference/continuing-ed retreat at the end of September, and got about 8 inches done. Perfect gauge, first try, no fiddling at all. Love it. I also love going to three-day-long meetings where it’s okay to knit and learn things at the same time. The world needs to be like that more often. I also went to Boston the next week for an overnight and did a bit of subway knitting while I was there.

I made little progress until the end of October/beginning of November, when an unexpected family funeral gave me two five-hour-or-so plane rides to fill, and I got both sleeves done and the first couple of inches of the body started.

Then I took a month-and-a-half break. I had a couple of smaller projects I needed/wanted to do for Christmas (like socks), and Christmas is generally a busy time for pastors anyway. BUT... two days after Christmas, I was back at it. I spent several days knitting seriously (particularly New Years Eve and Day, when we watched three or four movies in a row and I didn't change out of my pjs that whole time), and within the first week of the new year I had the body done, the sleeves attached, and about 2" of yoke completed.

And this is where I had to admit to myself that, well, the cable chart looks kind of scary. I wanted to do a more challenging cable than I'd done before, but still. I was feeling a bit nervous. I'm also well aware that looks can be deceiving when it comes to knitting, and the chart's bark was probably worse than its bite. I was intimidated, but figured I'd just have to get over it.

I was right.

Something wasn't right in my counting in the decrease row, so the set-up row of the chart took me forever. I had to keep ripping and reknitting these two rows several times -- two Gene Kelley/Fred Astaire movies back-to-back, and all I had to show for my time was those two rows. But they are well-done rows, let me tell you! And I figured out that all the WS rows of the chart are just plain-ol' purl-back rows. I was WAY less worried about this cable when I realized that. Hello.

I set a goal of knitting up one RS chart row and its purl-back WS row every day. Since each row is 300-400-some stitches, that's still quite a lot of knitting.

I'm currently ahead of my goal, because I did four or five rows while watching the Golden Globes on Sunday night. But I had to stop for the night when the muscles in my hands really started to ache -- too much holding-tight-while-cabling! First time that's ever happened, but it's really not surprising. I put the heating pad on my lap and my hands on the pad, and then the cat sat on my hands for a while. Fun! Then I went to bed, and when I woke up my hands felt fine. No worries.

So now I'm about halfway through the cable, and have realized that there's nothing in this chart that is scary at all. I'm so not intimidated by this cable anymore, and that was the point of tackling this project! Well, that and getting a new sweater.

Oh! I also kitchenered the underarm seams already, so I don't have to deal with that later. Also so I could avoid the cable chart for one more night, which I was fully capable of admitting to myself and to Husband. Doing the underarm seams early has the added benefit of making it easier to try on the sweater in progress. Yes, this photo is terribly unflattering. I'm okay with that. Like my cloud pjs?

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