About Me

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Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

To Frog or Not to Frog: That *Was* The Question -- Vintage Turquoise Chelsea Silk Sweater with Fibonacci Sleeves

This is a sweater that I knitted on spec about 20 years ago, when I was knitting custom sweaters by hand, in an average of six days, for $100 plus the cost of the yarn. [My grandmother used to quilt other people’s quilt tops for a dollar per spool of thread she used, way way back in the day.] It’s been following me through all the moves and vicissitudes, ever since. It was too large at the time for me to convert to personal use. It is now, alas, just barely too small. And I've never been satisfied with the shoulders.

I knit this at 3.5 stitches per inch on size 7 needles. The stripes are various silk or silk/wool blends by Berroco and Crystal Palace. The main yarn is the discontinued Tahki Chelsea Silk, bought for the then-obscene amount of $10.50 per skein. Most of what I see on Ravelry is in 50g balls, but they note that it was also available in 100g skeins, which is what I had.

I thought it might do nicely as either the green or the blue cropped cardi in the Fall 2008 KnitSimple. [The ones with the garter-stitch vent at the hem in back.] So last night I frogged it. I harvested approximately 384.0 grams of turquoise, and this morning I dug through five bins and four boxes until I found the last partial ball of it, for another 58.2 grams.

This gives me a total of 442.2 grams. I either just-will or just-won’t have enough to do this. I haven’t weighed the bits and bobs that made up the stripes. I probably ought to do that.

I want a slightly tighter fabric than I made with the first sweater. I like Chelsea Silk at 3.5 stitches/inch for plain knitting, because it drapes so nicely. Some of my friends were knitting it at the time around 5 stitches/inch, for ganseys, but I thought that negated the natural fluidity of the yarn, and why not just knit with a wool tweed if you were going to hogtie the yarn like that?

Opinionated knitter? You bet!

The cardis are meant to be knitted up at 17 stitches4 inches/10 cm with a bulky yarn. Chelsea Silk is considered Aran weight. [A lighter weight, for you knitting muggles out there.] I *think* I want to aim for 16 stitches. And yes, I’m going to try it at 14 and 15. Once I know the grist I want, I can crunch the numbers to see what size to make.

I’m thinking of using the contrasting colors to cast on, knit the back vents and the front garter stitch bands, and maybe insert random intarsia garter stitch squares. Or I may just take the easy way out and knit new Fibonacci sleeves. Or some combination of all the above.

I think this is going to be fun!

And I think that I may have solved the challenge of getting myself dressed and out the door in the morning. Behold! Top:


And bottom:

I went to the Container Store yesterday to get a step-stool that met my exacting standards for ease of use and weight-rating. The one that I got will hold 150kg, way more than I would need even if Zeus flew by on swan wings and left me pregnant with quintuplets. The shoe organizer is on sale for $9.99. The canvas drawers are on sale two for $2.99. Six days of undies, nice T-shirts suitable for work with proper accessories, and five days of scarves. When my socks finish drying, I will add matching socks to the mix. [Yes, I’ve never quite gotten over that 80’s fad of matching your socks to your shirt. We couldn’t afford to match the Keds to the socks and the shirt; I did what I could.]

For $12.99 plus tax, I have quite possibly reduced the stress of getting ready for work. And hung six days’ worth of shirts in less space than they would have required on hangers. I’ll let you know how it goes. Yes, I could have grabbed another sweater organizer, and probably should have; they were also on sale. They are also at least twice as wide as the shoe organizer, and they cost half again as much, even on sale, and that closet is tiny. So they didn’t seem economical by either standard.

I think I will splurge on another set of drawers when the eagle screams on Friday. [For my children: from the phrase “squeezing a dollar so tight that the eagle screams”; i.e., payday and my Cirque du Soleil financial acrobatics to make one dollar do the work of five.] And maybe some of those cedar blocks. I think these drawers would make excellent homes for my hand-knitted socks.

Once I find them.

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