It was the best of patterns, it was the worst of patterns.
We have alot of green in our home. It is Chip’s favorite color and Vash’s favorite color so when in doubt, alot of times we go with green. Our living room is green, Chris’s room is green, our room is green, the bathroom is green, the dining room is tan and green and the kitchen is yellow and green.
Likewise, alot of the projects that get started are in green.
They don’t always work out.
Like the penguin sweater.
When I started knitting again I wanted to make sweaters for the boys. I had picked up an issue of KnitSimple magazine and found a sweater that had a big penguin on it. PERFECT!! It was our penguin year and it would be ready by Christmas. (We choose a theme each year to decorate for Christmas and that year we were getting Christmas penguin stuff). I love incorporating different colors in my knitting so the idea of inserting a penguin into the sweater did not intimidate me. I just pulled out my Vogue Knitting book, did a little reading and was off and running.
The first sweater was to be for Vash, so of course I picked green for the background color. We went to the Warm Ewe and he picked out a dark green yarn – Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca – which is a great yarn. Soft with a beautiful deep color. Loved it.
We also picked up some in white and black Ultra Alpaca for the penguin and some in gold for the beak.
Now, I started this project before I really understood what gauge meant when matching a yarn to a pattern, but as I started I realized as I was knitting that this yarn was a little thinner than was contemplated by the designer. No problem. Just use bigger needles – right?. They say in the books to just adjust the needle size to get the gauge. Easy. So I moved up two sizes on the needles.
Everything seemed just fine and I finished the back of the sweater fairly quickly. Even the front was looking pretty good. A couple of holes where I had not quite connected the black and the white sections securely but those holes could be handled. I would just weave some yarn in later to fill them. No problem.
Then I held the sweater up to Vash and realized that the problem with using yarn that is too thin on needles that are too big is that you get a lacey effect – which means you can see the shirt he is wearing underneath the sweater through the holes in the stitches. Now if the sweater was just green I could have put a dark colored shirt on him under the sweater and the holes would not be noticeable. But then you saw the dark shirt through the holes in the white penguin. Likewise, a white shirt would not show up under the penquin section but it did show up through the green parts of the sweater.
I put the sweater down for awhile and hoped Vash would forget about it.
Vash doesn’t forget anything.
For the next year he kept nudging me, reminding me that I still had to finish his sweater. I kept putting it off. But one thing about being raised Catholic – guilt is a real motivator in my life! So after about a year and a half I picked it up again and convinced myself that I could figure out something that would work under it. This time I got both sleeves knit – though about now I started to suspect that I might have another problem to deal with. While Vash was waiting for his sweater, he was very sneakily doing something else – Growing. I had to add two inches to the length of the sleeves.
Still, I thought I could get away with the sweater for a little while and kept going. Next was the collar – and that was when I realized that I had waited too long. While I could get it over his head before adding the collar, there was no way this collar was fitting over his head now. He just was too big.
That is when I learned the term “frogging” – which is when you give up on a project, take it apart and salvage the yarn for something else by .
So now my beautiful Ultra Alpaca yarn is becoming a pair of armwarmers – of which I finished the first one this morning.
These are the Lettuce Knit Armwarmers that were designed by Grace Alexander and is another wonderful free pattern you can get on Ravelry – and on the Vogue Knitting website – and on the Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller website. Alot of folks who knit these armwarmers in Ravelry posted comments complaining that when they knit this pattern the armwarmers were too large – which is when I knew I had the right yarn for it!!. The Alpaca is wonderful for this project because it is soft and warm and knits up smaller than one might expect. (grin)
The green and white yarns are also going to become a wonderful illusion scarf for Vash with Robots on it so he will at least still get the benefit of his favorite color. I haven’t started that project yet but will get to it pretty soon.
Luckily my other green sweater project is going wonderfully!! That would be Chip’s sweater which I am making using a Sirdar pattern with Tahki’s Sedona yarn – which is a wool/silk blend.
The silk actually enhances the warmth of the wool so I am hoping that this will be a really useful sweater too. While working on my last appellate argument I managed to finish the back of the sweater to the point where I will now start working on shaping the raglan sleeveline into the pattern. This pattern is just a fun blend of cable stitches, twisted stitches and moss stitch thrown in with a 24 row repeat. Here is what is done so far.
Well, Chip is hustling me out the door. Markus has to get to Little League practice and the other two have a Boy Scout meeting. I better grab some knitting to bring to the ballfield.
Maybe I can get some new inspiration in green while there.