By this evening...

...I'll be k2p2-ing on Sleeve #1! (Before My Beloved climbs on yet another jet I'll be able to check for final length and cast that baby off!)

With the collar already done, sleeve #2 in the cross hairs means I'm 'almost there! Not that far off my December 1st Goal - by the end of that day I should be well on my way down the sleeve.

Aaaaand worries about running out of yarn were banished by the arrival, yesterday, of the make-up skeins. Pre-washing there is no difference between them and the one remaining unwashed skein from the first shipment! (the one bearing the label in the photo below)

Have a great weekend! I plan to! thanks for dropping by!



After playing with various elements on the Shearer sleeve over the weekend I arrived at something acceptable about 10:00 p.m. Sunday evening. Good thing too - I wasn't going to bed until it was sorted. This was guilt-based determination having spent what could have been valuable knitting time, instead yarn shopping over the weekend (Romni  - 2 visits and Eweknit) as well as working on a little project other than Shearer for a couple of hours Saturday night. I'll tell you it made the sort-out-the-sleeve-slog all that much more painful.

In the end, pushed through the "pain". Here's what I came up with...

  • Sleeve cables nonsensically springing out of the purled section at the shoulder edge...picked up alongside the last knitted row, relegating the purl rows to inside, out of sight...also gave the cables visual breathing room by working one knit row before doing the set up for the cables on the next row.

  • The pointed pucker at the shoulder seam generated by quickly starting with the central cable cross ... repeated the set up row 2 more times putting off crossing that first central cable cross until row 5.
  • Excess fabric in the sleeves...cast on 10  fewer stitches and only worked 8 short rows, 4 per side, 5-7 stitches apart keeping the wraps "hidden" in the purled columns. (This, rather than short rows every row on more stitches as I did the first time through) I got 2" of extra depth for the shoulder by doing this while minimizing bunching of the bulky fabric under the arm and eradicating the resulting waviness on the sweater itself..

I've learned putting some daylight between sleeves and body (with narrower sleeves and higher armholes and sometimes, although, not in this case, waist shaping) breaks up the visual sense, in a bulky sweater, of one continuous mass from outside sleeve to outside sleeve. I want the "look" of the person wearing the sweater rather than the other way around. So I'm happy to now be working away at a slightly slim sleeve. This is also good for yarn conservation - still unsure about quantity but I'm cautiously optimistic.

Monday night at Craft Group (baking this month - Spicy-Gingery, Snappy, Ginger Snap Cookies) I was able to show the whole Shearer works off to very appreciative "audience" - don't you just love knitters? (And Crocheters!)

After that reception getting back "into" it full force was a little easier. I'll miss my December 1st goal but like the yarn, it will be close. I have a few Christmas season knits waiting in the queue - only one of them a Christmas Gift - and I am keen to get onto them (and off of this!)

Thanks for dropping by - knowing I needed to "report" on progress this week helped a lot with that weekend work at "pushing through the pain"!


Shearer Short Row Shoulder Shaping (Try to say that 10x fast!)

Finally -  the sleeves! (And finally a bit of a hitch.)

Picking up from the shoulder and working the chart downwards, knitting flat. The plan, to accomplish the short rows for both sleeves before knitting on down towards 2x2 ribbed cuffs.
Picked up,  across the length of the arm hole, the number of stitches called for in the pattern for the top of the sleeve. Used the usual "pick up 2, skip 1" approach. Marked the centre point and each of the cable elements either side of that then tweaked the number of stitches a bit to make the sides match.
Then, working the chart from the top also put in short rows, every row, either side of just over half the stitches at the centre of the work.

With the planned short rows done, the bulging excess of fabric tells me I've done too many. 

I also see my wraps and turns among the ribs are probably best described with words I don't want to put on my blog.

Both these problems are easy enough to fix.

Less clear is how to address the fact the sleeve cables seem to be springing out of the the visual no man's land of the purl section along the top of the shoulder edge. At the underarm, where the ribs visually connect with the sleeve detail, its fine but then it all falls apart - crappy wraps and turns aside - once you get beyond that point...

Ewwwww.  Hmmmm. I'm going to have to ponder this a bit....

  • Obviously, what I've done so far has to come out but then what?
  • Duplicate stitches across to the first rib of the body sections spring to mind but seem a cheap fix.
  • Picking up the sleeve stitches from closer to that rib also occurs to me....not sure what the drawbacks of that might be fit-wise since the body I'd need to measure against is currently somewhere across the Atlantic.
  • I could work the sleeves bottom up and then sew them in to best visual advantage.
  • I think I've already ruled out working the sleeves without cables so as to render the issue moot.
Yup, 'off to ponder...
Thanks for dropping by!


Shearer Step Ten - The Collar

3" of 2x2 ribbing atop stitches picked up to visually incorporate the cable elements into the collar.
I'm getting more and more confident with with knitted "lying"!
"Live" stitches atop the collar sewn  to the stitches picked up at the collar's base...
I like how the doubled collar compliments the "beefy" scale of the almost 46" sweater. (4" pos. ease)

I'm thrilled with how...

...the cable elements open outwards to frame the collar and of course, ultimately, the face above it.
...seeming to flow into the collar rather than appearing truncated in deference to fit or structure.
The back neck is just the right additional height above the front.

Yup I'm thrilled with how this bit turned out! (Kinda makes up for the grafting issues.)

So now I'm onto the short rows of the sleeves. (Pics to post on that tomorrow.) I'm placing them amid the 2x2 ribbing either side of the sleeve cables which need to be worked from the chart top to bottom - a bit tricky, after working the charts bottom up for a month, 'have to turn off the "autopilot" and stay conscious enough to work them backwards!

(5 weeks in - just gotta keep going - almost there!)


Shearer Step Nine - Grafting Shoulder Seams

Again, Lorraine's sage advice from the comments rang in my ears as I sat to graft the shoulders. I couldn't expect absolute perfection  - at best things would be off a step for each stitch. Also, I knew with my less than perfected grafting skills I'd be doing well to achieve even that! So I just tried to get the thing to give the impression of continuity across the shoulder join.

I set up on a table with great light and grafted only a few stitches at a time. then I'd walk away, come back and look with freshly critical eyes and several times, ripped out and started again.

I'd worked one cable element (the one pictured at the bottom in the shot below) to a point where they were just about to cross as they met so I crossed the stitches (on the panel on the right) without actually having knit them that way. It gives the impression the cable spans the seam, hopefully distracting the eye from seeing where the pattern isn't as well aligned where the next element meets.

In fact, to make sure that one cable element was exactly right... (again, I'm talking about the bottom one in the shot below)
I started the graft at that point, several stitches in from the edge then went back to graft the skipped stitches afterwards. this let me hide the one stitch that was off alignment out of sight in what will be the eventual shoulder seam with the sleeves.

I'm very happy with how the shoulder seam relates to the collar and thrilled with the collar itself.

Details on all that tomorrow! Thanks for dropping by!


Shearer Step Eight - Blocking Front and Back Panels

Last Thursday evening I wet blocked the two completed panels to the exact specified measurements.
While I was at it I made sure all the cable elements were straight up and down. Then I pinched each "rope" along its length from bottom to top to ensure each would seem plump and uniform.

Then I turned a small fan on over the blocking board and indulged in knitting colourful mittens,  long neglected in the basket, because there was nothing to be done on Shearer until it was dry. A guilt-free break from a month of knitting monogamy. That felt good!

The pieces blocked beautifully just as Lorraine had assured me in the comments they would. I only had to pull a few T-pins out to see how right she was -  the wet stretched fabric stayed exactly where I'd placed it to dry - perfectly aligned with the desired measurements.

Everything was ready to go for grafting the shoulders and working the collar Friday night (and maybe a bit into the wee hours of Saturday morning) I took my time with the grafting and with how the 2x2 ribs of the collar would arise out of the front and back panels. More on that anon!

Thanks for dropping by today!


Shearer Step Seven - Collar Shaping

'Started this part of the project very early last Saturday morning with the house still quiet, a fresh pot of coffee and a big poodle curled up at my feet...bliss!

My goals - beyond making a hole for the head and neck of course...

  • Avoid cables crossing close to the collar edges making choke-like puckers around the collar or worse, partial, half crossed cables.
  • Decrease to edges that lend themselves to the 2x2 rib that will progress upwards from that point.
  • Make nicely terminated, and visually complete cables at the shoulders to border the planned saddles. 

I worked out the bulk of the approach on one back shoulder...

4 hours to sort out that 4 inches of knitting.

That was okay - the rest should fly from there! The second back did sail along, as did the first front.

But the last....most tantalizing...close to the finish line...only 20 minutes more...front panel took...

4 runs over 4 evenings to get right. 
Rushing always takes longer. When will I ever learn?

In fairness this part of the exercise has shown me just how much I have learnt over the past few years of, some non knitters would say, "manic" knitting. (Anyway "rushing" is more about human nature than knitting!)
Sweater Front atop Sweater Back showing two different collar lines
I'm very pleased with the results.

  • The net effect does visual justice to the time and care I took at the bottom edge.
  • I think I've set things up so the collar will nicely "flow" from the cables on the body.
  • The termination at the shoulder edge of all the elements either side of the collar is such that the saddle shoulder is unnecessary. (Good thing because despite fiddling with a variety of treatments for that element they all just struck me as too busy to nicely bisect front and back and flow into the cabled sleeves.)
After 4 weeks of strictly monogamous knitting and 3 1/2 weeks before my "deadline" I'm off to block these two big pieces to 23 1/4"wide x 27"long.

Tonight and tomorrow I need to graft the shoulders and see if I can't get the visual affect to be one of having the elements flow continuously up and over the shoulders. (I'll ultimately run a reinforcing something-or-other on the backside of each graft for stability) and put in the collar.

Beloved gets on another plane tomorrow night. My hope would be I could pull something with a finished collar over his his before that so I can confidently knit and  install the sleeves while he's away over the next 7 days, finalizing only length upon his return! He's been here and gone a couple of times over the last week after returning from Asia ten days ago. I'm getting good at taking measurements while he sleeps off jet lag!

Have a great weekend! Thanks for dropping by


Oh and By the Way...

...I might run out of yarn for Shearer - well, not exactly yarn - this yarn, the yarn I've been using. More yarn will be shipped to me, it just won't match what I've already got.

The mill wound most of the skeins short by about 20%. Juniper Moon has had to have them make new yarn with a different mix of fleeces.

It'll be here soon.

I've known this for a while - but I was already too far into it to stop so I've just kept on going.

Every so often I weigh what I've knit and what remains. It'll be close.

I've decided I'll use the new yarn, if necessary, to work the ribbed undersides of the sleeves and the gussets down the sides, if I end up adding them. Then I just put the whole problem out of my mind and keep on cabling.

Between fit, deadline and yardage, this one's a nail biter!



Comments chez Sel and Poivre have recently been difficult/spotty/impossible because, I suspect, of my use of what Blogger calls a "Dynamic" template. (It makes the home page feature those spinning/flipping images.) So I've gone back to  a Template they call "Simple" where the comment option should be consistently present.

And speaking of comments - for anyone interested in reading on - here's mine on our "Mayor" (title only - lets face it, for months, if not years we haven't had a functioning one).

Why does his family support and facilitate the public spectacle of his personal spiral? Why don't they get him into rehab? Further, how can they let his children continue to witness and endure this?

His almost daily bizarre behaviours dominate the media but what about the racist and homophobic slurs he spouts during his public episodes of drunkenness?

His substance abuse is an illness. His intolerance just "sick".  Dry, clean and sober he's unfit to lead the city he says he loves. But then, if he's using his own family's demonstration of what "love" looks like he's got a pretty poor example to follow.

As for the next election - I don't think we need to worry about Robbie for that one - on his current path how can he still be in any shape to participate in that one?

I'm not concerned about Toronto - an amazing city on a fantastic run of growth and urban development, the trajectory and momentum of which is well beyond the impact of any one poor addict, whatever office he might occupy.

Okay that's my comments on that topic closed. But hopefully the comments re knitting will henceforth be open around here! Fingers crossed!


Shearer Step Six - Cable Cable Cable

Three weeks in. (Two weeks actual knitting time) and the back's worked as far as the bottom of the collar and the front to the midst of decreases for the sleeves. A bit behind where I wanted to be by now but nothing I can't make up.
6.0mm needle used on left portion - 5.5 used on right.
I moved to a 6mm from 5.5mm for this front panel to yield a slightly more ample midriff section. I prefer the more closely knitted back but its nonetheless the right thing to do for fit across the front.

The thoughtful bits are now close on the horizon

  • saddle shoulders with short row shaping
  • sorting out collar details
  • knitting and reworking the sleeve charts for a top down approach.

I'd like to try installing the collar before the sleeves (a la Asplund). As My Beloved's suitcase will barely have time to air out between long trips this month I'd prefer to have everything around the collar and shoulders nailed during his next brief "visit" home and then only have to work the sleeves while he's gone.
So I just need to keep on cabling! Every spare moment I have plus a bit later each evening than I'd like and an hour earlier each morning - easier now after the time change!
This yarn is truly glorious and oh so "creamy" (as EZ would say)

I mentioned this project to a non-knitter the other day and within moments I think she was hallucinating with boredom so its really gratifying you've taken the time to drop by! How fun it is to imagine people are following along with me on this.

Number One Son's coming home tonight after submitting a big paper today and no doubt having pulled a couple of recent all nighters. I'm bracing my self to see a gaunt, pale creature and cooking up both a hearty dinner and things for him to take back to school to consume in coming days. Its going to eat into my knitting time tonight but I have to admit I'm looking forward to feeding him!

Happy Knitting everyone!


Craving Colour

I'll post about Shearer progress tomorrow but today, a confession....
Late last week, from the depths of "approaching the halfway mark -itis" I began to crave colour. Badly.
But I did not stray. (Completely) I didn't cast on or work on anything else. Over the course of a day, bit by bit as I had a couple of minutes to spare now and then I just hand wound a ball of crazy colour. It worked. That evening it was back to creamy coloured cabling.

Today my plan is a bit of creamy coloured poodle grooming where I'll clip off a pile of stuff like this...

Thanks for dropping by!