February 27th, 2011


Red Riding Hood

This particular project was an epic example of on-the-one-hand and on-the-other-hand. On the one hand, I didn't get around to making something for Madelyn nearly soon enough. On the other hand, at brilit's last weekend, there were enough questions about knitting and crochet and how long does something take, that I thought "a little teeny sweater in a week? If I use heavier-weight yarn, I can do that! Plus, Monday is a holiday!" So I picked a pattern (basically a variant on Elizabeth Zimmerman's classic Tomten jacket, with colorwork bands), assigned harrock to be Moral Support, dragged him off to Windsor Button bright and early Monday morning, and bought red and black yarn (and buttons!). (mjperson tells me I have claimed in the past that red yarn is the fastest to knit. I have no idea why I might have said this, but why not? Red yarn it is!) The yarn is gorgeous and soft. I've been wanting to make something with Madeline Tosh DK for a while, just because of the color, so this was a good excuse. I took the yarn home, and started knitting all Monday. The pattern turned out to be - well, the designer called it a "thinking woman's pattern", because there is a lot of "and then figure out the right thing for *your* project and do it that way". No sleeve length, no actual colorwork patterns included. I grabbed some patterns from a different book I had, but belatedly realized that dark red and light black (otherwise known as dark grey) are way too close in brightness (or lack thereof) to make the colorwork clear. The braid-pattern I try is just too muddled, and I have to rip it out. Anyway, I think "color choice" goes in both the good column and the bad column here. I comment mildly critically on the pattern in Ravelry, and the designer sends me numbers for sleeve length.

So, then, there is much knitting. All Monday. Tuesday night. Wednesday night after drinks-and-dinner (I make sure to get coffee, otherwise the drinks will put me to sleep afterwards. I can't afford to sleep.) Progress is a little slower than I expected - I'm slower on colorwork than plain garter, ripping out the colorwork a couple of times has cost me, and also, there's a lot of hidden area in the hems, which fold underneath the entire cuff and the (even larger) button band that goes all the way around. Thursday night, I realize that I am not going to have enough red yarn. Argh! Friday, I sneak out of work slightly early to get back to Windsor Button, and get another skein. Then more knitting (during which I send harrock to JP Licks to get me a Moral Support Frappe), until about 3:30 in the morning, when everything is finished except sewing down the button band and making button loops. Some sleep, and then finishing up in the morning. I make the mistake (you would think I would be done with bad decisions at this point, but no...) of deciding that it needs a quick soak, which turns into a longer soak when Charles hops in the shower; trying to iron it dry is too slow, and it's way too floppy and stretched when damp, so I toss it in the dryer (it is superwash, and Ravelry promises me that this will work) and hover nervously until it's close to dry. That tightens up the floppiness again, and off we go, now late to the party. While Madelyn didn't seem very impressed, enough other people are, and ooh appreciatively, so I'm happy.

Anyway. I was clearly overly ambitious in terms of "what can I make in a week?", but did squeak in about as close to the wire as you can get, and I do like how the sweater turned out. Victory, but next time - more advance planning!

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