Tuesday, January 30, 2007

St Brigid, Finished

As you all know, I had meant to post this days ago, but circumstances conspired rather heavily against me. The entire household, myself excluded, has been laid up with the 'flu - despite (or perhaps because of?) the shot - and I have had no time to model, photograph, or post much of anything.

This afternoon, finally, Friend and I managed to get together. I had a beachy-type theme in mind but getting to the beach in daylight, with the model, the photographer, and their (4) combined children, proved to be impossible. So the late-winter front garden is the best I can do right now. Here goes...

Pattern: St Brigid, from Aran Knitting
Designer: Alice Starmore
Yarn: 825 g Paton's Classic Merino in New Denim
Yarn Source: Fun Knits moving sale, Quadra Island
Yarn Cost: $54.25
Needle: 4.5mm Clover Takumi 80 cm bamboo circular
Cast On: November 11, 2006
Bound off: January 19, 2007 (collar added post-blocking, on January 25. Yes, she took a whole week to dry.)
Preblocked size: 49" bust
Blocked size: 52" bust (7-8" of ease)
1) substituted the waist-shaping cable from Rogue in place of the double-moss side panel
2) worked body of sweater in the round instead of flat
3) used a less costly (ergo less durable) yarn than what was called for
4) omitted the fringe the designer added to the hem of the sweater. I thought it would felt a bit, snag on things, and generally start looking hairy and sloppy long before the rest of the sweater did

This was the first full sweater I have knit for myself, and only the second adult sweater I have ever knit, period (Rogue being the first). I think Brenda Dayne is right when she says that you never forget the first, and you pretty much keep it always. I think I will hang on to this, for sentimental reasons, well past the time it should really be put to rest.

Back view. Cables identical to the front - only the neckline changes.

There's a definite sense of accomplishment when you put on your first sweater, and it fits, and it looks great. Mr. HalfSoledBoots, who reacts to my knitting like he reacts to my belly-dancing or any other hobby I hold dear - by laughing his head off - glanced at me in St Brigid and actually said....

wait for it....

"Nice sweater."

I felt like casting on for my next one right that second. It may seem like tepid praise to those of you with supportive spouses, but to me (and to others who know the love of a taciturn man) it was absolutely the zenith.

The side-shaping cable from Rogue, which I substituted for an unshaped panel of double-moss.

This garment is comfortable. The ease is perfect: 7-8 inches above body measurement. Any less and it would be binding and look snug; any more and it would be annoyingly tent-like. The night I first finished it, before blocking, I pulled it over my head, cackling with glee the entire time. I threw open the door and plunged outside into the freezing evening, chortling and gloating that I was perfectly, toastily warm. I was so pleased with myself that I went straight to the shed, rummaged for the loppers, and pruned the rose bush. (This might seem an odd thing to do, but in fact working outside in the chill dampness seems to suit this garment down to the ground.)

The saddle shoulder. I like the fit and the look of it - I think next time I will try a wider saddle.

Standing out there in the freezing, damp twilight, leather garden gloves on my hands and wellies on my feet, I felt utterly rocky-coast-of-British-isles, and thought to myself "I need to be walking some sort of animal right now. Preferably a flock of sheep down a country road, but a corgi will do."

St Brigid is an evocative sweater to knit, and to wear. One can't help but indulge in these sort of reflections. I feel an almost overpowering urge to go for a walk on the wintry beach, trudging along in my serviceable boots, the wind whipping my hair out from my battered corduroy newsboy cap*, the cry of gulls overhead and the slippery, salty scent of seaweed underfoot.

I might get to that later this week...photo shoot aside, the surf is definitely calling me.

Sleeve length, and a bit closer view of the cabling at centre front.

I enjoyed doing all the cables, and was glad to finally master the cabling-without-a-cable-needle trick I had been hearing about. I did get bored near the end of the process, but managed to finish in a respectable time despite the ennui. I would absolutely make a sweater like this again...maybe Cromarty?

Shade shot - a bit closer to the actual colour than the sunlit pictures show.

Thanks to my lovely model Sandy, whose figure is much more ideally suited to this sweater than mine could ever be (I am frighteningly broad and shoulder-y. I dwarf others. I tower. I loom.)...I had to fight the urge to just bow to destiny and give it to her.

And thank you to Kate, Karen, and Sunmi, the Wednesday night SnB, who were so enthusiastic about this whole process. It kept me on schedule, having to do weekly (informal) progress reports. I hope you'll be there for me next time too...

* I don't even own a newsboy cap. That's how evocative this sweater is.


Anonymous said...

Oh! Oh! Oh! ....
'nice sweater'
Can't really be said any better than that.

And I can attest to the fact that it looks stunning on you and doesn't belong on anyone else. So just hush.
I was at the beach today (dogs are good for that) and the sweater would have been perfectly at home in the damp quasi-fog.

Anonymous said...

It's gorgeous, VERY impressive for a first sweater!

Anonymous said...

Wow, fabulous. I like it immensely, and you're right about the Corgi / rocky coast / Wellies. Great work, I love the cabling on the shoulder.

Jenny said...

That is beautiful! I have always wanted to take up knitting. Three years ago my mom bought me a book on Knitting...I can't figure out where to get started!LOL

Emily said...

Lovely. The Rogue panels were such a good idea, might have to nick that!

Anonymous said...

Oh yon Looming Tower, the only way you overshadow us all is by your sparkling wit, your limitless talent, your erudite conversation and your goddess-like persona.
Smoochy, smoochy
(By the way, you needn't fight those urges - I'm sure it will do you damage)

Juno said...

The shaping on the side is really a stroke of genius. Looks fantastic.

Ames said...

AWESOME!! When do you expect to have mine finished?

Fun Knits said...

Wow the sweater is wonderful. I hope you wear it the next time you come over to Quadra. Great job

Shan said...

Jenny, there are only too many people keen to teach a person to knit...if you have a local yarn store, just drop in and ask if someone can show you how. They'll get a maniacal gleam in their eye, I practically guarantee it.

Ames, just as soon as I get your cheque, dear, promise.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely love your yarn choice! I was between knitting St. Brigid or Celtic Dreams. CD won the coin toss. Fantastic knit!