Monday, February 27, 2006

16 days, a knitter, the birth of a sweater!

She bathes in the glow of the light bulb.

I finished, it's true. My sweet sweater is drying as we speak. Preliminary modelling sessions have deemed her a success, with reservations. The final ruling has been held for the post-block runway show.

Initial Parting shots:

1 - Fabulous yarn (details to follow) well suited for this project. Knit on size 8 needles with a pre-blocking gauge of 21 sts / 4 in and 25.2 rows / 4 in. I used ~1100 yards (this is a VERY rough estimate.)

The yarn is a single ply yarn from Habu Textiles in NYC. I believe it is called "a-80 wool", is listed here on Habu's website. It was ~$26 for 17 oz or approximately 1752 yards. Otherwise known as dirt cheap. I have Elisa to thank for this yarn. She and Kellee tackled the wall o' yarn at Habu during our trip to NYC. I just glazed over and marvelled at the silk cocoons. Fortunately they found this fabulous deal.

A second note on this yarn: it is listed as a fingering weight. At first glance I might agree however, the swatch in the store was not knit on anything smaller than US6 needles. I swatched on US7's and US8's (a normal person's US8 and US9)- both produced a lovely fabric with beautiful drape. Blocking created a denser fabric. Honestly, I cannot imagine knitting this on the recommended US1-3 needles.

2 - I need to continue to knit for myself AND knit items that fit. This is the first sweater that I have knit for myself. I love it. Not to mention the realization/confirmation that negative ease is the way to go. I will continue to experiment with this as I choose more sweaters to tackle.

3 - When modifying a pattern to fit my gauge and my body Excel is way more fun than the 80 million scraps of paper I normally use. The infamous spreadsheet was easy to do and created a nice diversion. Knowing how many stitches I had to go was motivating rather than crippling. I loved tweaking it and plan to polish it up a bit for future use.

4 - I need challenge and motivation - the Knitting Olympics fit the bill.

5 - I cannot blog and knit and work successfully. Unfortunately or Fortunately the blog is the first to go.

6 - Team Boston is filled with warm, friendly, and encouraging people. During our closing ceremony fashion show yesterday a knitter (Lucia) was tackling her first sweater. A baby sweater that she choose to conquer her fear of the sweater and the dreaded seaming that is inevitably a part of many sweater patterns. Upon voicing her phobia the room echoed with people encouraging her and offering lessons right then and there to help her along. Truly a fabulous team.

The sweater will be photographed after it has dried.

We're busy here gearing up for a fun weekend in Vermont as I approach the official anniversary of my birth and the close of my 3rd decade on this Earth. T-minus 3 whole days to my 30th birthday.

Someone pass the tequila.

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Anonymous Cara-ISH said...

Wendy, my love, I am SO FREAKING PROUD OF YOU! So proud. When we drove by DF on our way up to Peabody (yes - we had clams again) I waved to you and blew kisses. I love you.

2/27/2006 9:13 PM  
Blogger goodkarma said...

Happy birthday and congratulations on completing your sweater! I can't wait to see it on you. I just know you're going to look like a million bucks. :)

2/27/2006 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Feliz cumpleaƱos, chica!! Can't wait to see the post-blocked sweater. Team Boston was totally awesome -- so much generosity and fun!

2/27/2006 9:27 PM  
Blogger amandamonkey said...

Kudos for finishing your first sweater for yourself! What a nice birthday gift....

The 30s are way better than the 20s. I'm sure you'll enter them with grace and style

2/27/2006 9:42 PM  
Blogger Warrior Knitter said...

delurking to say CONGRATS!!!!

Will you post a link to "The Spreadsheet". I like spreadsheets, too.

Am looking forward to the pics!!

2/27/2006 10:22 PM  
Blogger Vicki Knitorious said...

Ah, to be 30 again; hell, to be 40! Teehee. It's not so bad, Wendy. And, anyway, who will be THE cutest homemade-pasta-making, headlamp-wearing, spreadsheet-wielding, 30-year-old knitter ever? Huh? And wearing a frickin' new sweater to boot!

OMG, I was exactly the same way at Habu. It was completely overwhelming for a small town girl -- at least on first go 'round; I'd definitely like to try it again, though. ; )

2/27/2006 11:23 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

The sweater looks amazing, I can't imagine the stiff ickiness that would result from tee-tiny needles. It's perfect as is!

Many happy returns of the day. As a 40-something looking back on 30's, I loved em. Each decade gets even better. Let the celebrations begin! :)

2/28/2006 6:01 AM  
Blogger maryse said...

yay the sweater is finished. congratulations!

and happy early birthday!!!

2/28/2006 6:25 AM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

Congratulations, both on the sweater (can't wait to see it) and on the birthday. Celebrate long and hard. I found 30 tough - it was a real transition to me.

Can't walk away from Habu without SOMETHING in your hand. The skeins in that back room scream for indulgence. Did you SEE the cashmeres??

2/28/2006 7:27 AM  
Blogger Carole said...

Hooray for the finished sweater. When we were driving home Dale remarked on your diligence of working on it - he was impressed! I think you should save the photo shoot for this weekend in Vermont. (I'm thinking Maria in the Sound of Music with the mountains as a backdrop) Happy Birthday, dear one.

2/28/2006 8:30 AM  
Blogger Varina said...

Congrats on your Olympic gold; the sweater looks nice from here. Also, what do you mean that your US8, 9 is a normal person's US7, 8?
On a book-related note: don't you just love Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Love in the Time of Cholera is one of my favorites.

2/28/2006 8:31 AM  
Anonymous Bethe said...

Happy Early Birthday! 30 was relatively easy to deal with. I had a harder time with 33 for some reason.
It was so nice to meet you Sunday, and I am sure the sweater will be even better than it looked Sunday (which, by the way, was gorgeous!)

2/28/2006 8:35 AM  
Anonymous margene said...

March is a great month for birthday's. Looking forward to see your Olympic sweater with the gold medal!

2/28/2006 8:53 AM  
Blogger claudia said...

You can be 29 in your head for as long as you want. Ask me how I know.


The sweater looks awesome on you, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

2/28/2006 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Kate said...

Can't wait to see the sweater modeled!

Happy early birthday. Enjoy your get-away.

2/28/2006 9:13 AM  
Blogger Kellee said...


30th birthdays are the BEST, 30th years rock, and the Hourglass is (so far) one of the best sweaters ever..... How can you go wrong with such a great combination?

And I don't care what Carole says, Sond of Music be damned - I want to see that sweater right this second.

2/28/2006 9:36 AM  
Anonymous elisa said...

I can not wait to see this sweater, dude - I know it will be absolutely stunning on you. Congratulations on finishing! You rock!

2/28/2006 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Samantha said...

Happy Almost Birthday! Break 30 in for me, so that when I catch up in Dec, you'll have greattips and tricks for me, okay?

Can't wait to see the post-blocking sweater!

2/28/2006 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Kat with a K said...

Can't wait to see it all done! Happy Birthday!

2/28/2006 1:25 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Look at all of that wooly goodness! Can't wait to see what it looks like dry :-)

2/28/2006 8:09 PM  
Anonymous kristen said...

congrats on what sounds like a spectacular sweater, and thanks for the link to the yarn at Habu.

I hope you have a fabulous birthday! I am looking forward to thirty, but I reserve the right to change my mind when I'm 29. May your next 30 and 60 years be as great as the first 30!

2/28/2006 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Monica said...

Congrats on finishing, looking forward to seeing it modeled!

I would not have guessed from the early sleeve that it would get denser.

Happy Birthday!

2/28/2006 8:21 PM  
Anonymous mamacate said...

Hey girl. Rumor has it it's your birthday! Happy happy happy happy!

3/03/2006 12:57 PM  
Blogger maryse said...

it's a big ole rumor.

here's a little song i made up for you... it's sung to the tune of "happy birthday"


have a wonderful birthday. we need to celebrate!

3/03/2006 1:20 PM  
Anonymous kate said...

Happy Birthday! Enjoy the celebration!

3/03/2006 3:58 PM  
Blogger Cathi said...

Happy birthday, girl. You are the sweetest.

3/03/2006 6:04 PM  
Blogger Norma said...

Happy Birthday, Wendy!

3/04/2006 12:33 AM  
Anonymous Amber said...

Well happy birthday you lovely thing! Hope you enjoy(ed) Vt, we're going up for our birthdays/anniversary in April :)

3/04/2006 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, old lady! ;)

The other day Liv said, "I don't want you to turn 33!"

Uh ok, no problem there! When I told her the number was 43, her face fell. "Noooooooooo!" she cried.

Enjoy your wonderful weekend.


3/05/2006 6:09 AM  
Blogger Carrie K said...

Oh, it's your birthday! Or was. Happy Birthday! And here I was thinking that the sweater was still not dry.

3/07/2006 6:54 PM  

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