Sweater in progress

Ed beat me up three mornings this week. A very happy sign that after weeks of feeling miserable fighting the flu and all the side effects (sleeping endless hours, chills, aches…) he was finally once again waking up before me. He hadn’t been so sick in these past thirty-five years, and he almost always is the first out of bed. He’s not one for lying in bed once it’s light outside. It was almost alarming to be the first one up morning  after morning while he continued to sleep another hour, or more. He’s on the mend and gaining more strength and wellness every day.

Just a short post tonight. Original plots drifting through my head have diminished due to a very slow computer that’s making small tasks into monumental obstacles. So, instead of a long chatty post with tidbits from all that’s happened this past month I’ll pick up where I left off last time and focus on this one thing. The makings of Violet’s sweater.

With optimistic expectation of completing the sweater by Violet’s 1st birthday, confident that there was plenty of time to cut and sew the fabric, the final inches were woven with almost a week to spare.  Tuesday morning I finished sewing the two raw edges, put the fabric into a mesh bag and tossed it in the washing machine with a load of towels.  Violet was sound asleep in her little crib when I removed the cloth from the machine and spread it out on a folded blanket laid across my bed. Smoothing the cloth, thinking ahead about measuring and cutting the pattern from kraft paper I was suddenly stunned to remember the knitting ribbing . Egads! Slow knitter that I am and a full week of responsibilities: work, family from Idaho coming, getting together food for the memorial service for a dear friend, practicing then playing at the annual St Patrick’s dinner there was little hope for finding the necessary time.

Using a carpenter’s square, kraft paper and a quilter’s ruler (I think that’s what it’s called) I drew the pattern using the dimensions given on the Windowpane Baby Sweater pattern by Ann Walker Budd. Deciding to simply hem the bottom of the sweater rather than knit a ribbing I added an extra 1.5″ to the length. Once the paper pattern was cut I traced around the edges onto the fabric with a washable pencil.

Fabric marked I sewed a tight straight stitch all along the outside of the tracings with a double stitching along the edges to keep the handwoven material from unraveling where the ribbing stitches would be picked up. The longer yarn carries (floats) of the windowpane, 3-shaft weave (aka waffle-weave) needs the extra stability than my normal handwoven materials woven with plain or twill patterns.

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Using the pink cotton 8/2 yarn that came in the weaving kit and a size B/2.25mm crochet hook I commenced picking up stitches for the first sleeve and slipped them onto size 4 / 3.5mm circular needles.

233What a patience testing experience. The pattern says to pick up 44 stitches for the ribbing. After the third attempt I finally called it good at 42 stitches. The second sleeve was just as challenging as was the left back shoulder. Even with a fine crochet hook I was challenged by trying to get the correct number evenly spaced through the somewhat tight intersections of weft and warp. The ah-ha moment came on my second try across the left back shoulder: Really now, how crucial could it be to make sure the exact number was picked up? Just go with what looks good and right. Whew, it’s been a bit quicker sailing though I still have the neck bands to do and then stitching front, back and sleeves together.

The little checks of the waffle-weave and the way the intersections of color with white make tidy sun circles make my heart sing with joy. Overall I’m charmed at how well the cloth turned out and with the looks of it as progress is made. I hope to finish it by this time next week. If I don’t get a move on it Violet will outgrow it before it’s worn! She celebrated her 1st birthday last weekend! How the year flew past.

Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Great Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing my fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays we try to set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

3 thoughts on “Sweater in progress”

  1. I was just thinking of you this morning when someone showed us at guild meeting a new spindle her hubby had made.
    The little sweater looks beautiful. I look forward to photos of the finished project.

  2. I too, wait to see the finished project! I didn’t know you could pick up woven stitches and knit a ribbed sleeve. I think I would have knitted the sleeve and then tried to sew it on. Your method is much better! How is your weather? We are just starting to have spring-like weather here after a long, cold winter. We’ve been making maple syrup. The sap is dripping fast into the buckets and it makes such delicious syrup. My kitchen is pretty steamy though, since we do the boiling in the house.

  3. Go back and reread that first line – if I didn’t know Ed, I’d be worried about you!😉. I am delighted to hear that he’s finally feeling better, though – the flu is really scary, especially when it lays someone that low. And I love the sweater, and am wildly impressed by the weaving (as always, but more now that I have the tiniest inkling of what’s involved). I know that the final product will be loved and worn endlessly.

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