Sunday, October 29

Four months in the making.


Pattern: Brocade by Kaffe Fassett, from Rowan magazine 38
Yarn: Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK in Skip and Rowdy (6 balls each)
Needles: Clover bamboo circs (size 7) and Inox circs (size 6) for the ribbing
Ends woven in: definitely nearing 1000
Started: June 7th-ish
Completed: October 21st

Before I get into my a critique of my work, some positives: I am really quite proud of myself for getting through this project that I was probably a little crazy to take on. It's a gorgeous pattern, and I feel like I did it well, judiciously cutting new lengths of yarn for each section and spit-splicing my little heart out (which got me a few strange looks at the office). It was a joy to knit, not a headache.

Brocade motif
outside/inside... I'll never complain about ends again!
Brocade - inside

And the yarn? I could sing its praises all day. If I hadn't blown all that money at Rhinebeck, I'd buy a bag or two just to have around. In fact, I still might.

bird's eye view?
I got a little "creative" in some of these shots... ahem.

There was a fair amount of talk about Brocade when the magazine came out - how they must have pinned it for the photo shoot because there was no waist shaping, talk of knitting it in the round and converting it to raglan sleeves. Fair points all around. It would be pretty easy to add waist shaping by shaving a few blocks off the sides of the chart. And while it might be possible to knit it as fair isle, I would never want to. The sweater would be doubly thick (DK yarn, remember?) and you'd have to use twice as much of it (Rowan, remember?) and, most importantly, doing intarsia on this scale is just. plain. thrilling.

Not exactly Rowan material.
Not exactly Rowan material.

Am I thrilled with the fit? No, I am not. But that has less to do with the design of the sweater (rather boxy, drop sleeves) and more to do with the fact that the thing is too damn big. And when I found that out, it was too late for me to do anything about it. The back was 40 inches across... and I had already woven all the ends in. What could I do? It's halfway decent in the bust, but it hangs off me otherwise. And in the interest of full disclosure: in some of these shots, some excess fabric is held back with a big clip. Yup! I'm a deceiver.

Ugly face!
Ugly face in this one.

Maybe one day I will get ambitious with a sewing machine and take it in a little bit on the sides. My seaming was rushed (yes, I am guilty of in-car finishing) and the turtleneck could stand to be a little bit longer - that's something I can fix right away.

Another thing (and if you noticed this in person but didn't point it out, you're a saint):

Why I can never look at this sweater again.

Fucking. Dyelots. I didn't notice until I was seaming... somehow the first ball of Skip I used was a different dyelot, less green than the rest. My last ball was a different dyelot as well, but I knew that going in. Seeing it for the first time, though, seeing EXACTLY where it happened on the FIRST piece that I knit, sort of made me want to tear my heart out? A sweater I put months of work into, countless hours bent over it with my crochet hook (I'd get a certain look on my face, Brian calls it "the knitting face" but really it was reserved only for Brocade), and I thought it looked like a joke. I almost didn't finish it, I'm serious.

Sick of looking at this sweater yet?

I'm glad I did, though. Towards the end I really started to doubt myself, questioned whether I should wear it to Rhinebeck, etc etc etc. But none of that matters, really. Because all of your reactions and comments smacked the stupid right out of me. Seriously, I love you guys. My Brocade is not perfect, but overall it's still a knockout.

I'm not sure what's next for me, besides perpetual socks and Christmas knitting (hats all around!) I might pick up the USMP again, if I can make myself stop worrying about the fit and just go with it. It'll fit me at some point in my life, right? There's a certain knitalong on the horizon. Also, I'm on the lookout for a new lace project, so throw your fave patterns my way.

(P.S.: I'll post the contest results on Wednesday, there's still plenty of time to "enter"! Interesting results so far... my WIP sidebar could be a bit of a giveaway, but I haven't updated it in a looong time.)