Sunday, December 13, 2009

Meryl's Catriona

Intoducing the sleeveless vest 'Catriona' by Debbie Bliss. Isn't it lovely? It's knit in DB Rialto, of which more anon.

Importand disclaimer: Understand this. I DID NOT KNIT THIS!! I just wanted to show it off for someone and this is merely the forum in which it is displayed.

This is knit by my 83 year old friend M for another friend of ours, D.

I'm not saying that this was an easy knit for M by any means but it was a huge success. It was interesting to see how a...ahem...mature knitter of many years like M coped with the modern style of knitting pattern. She found it difficult to follow and felt that it lacked information and clarity. No surprise there.

She was also amazed that there was a combination of knit and purl stitches on the uneven rows, which in traditional Aran knitting are purl only. This creates the garter stitch insets inside the cable design. However, it didn't take long for her to get into the swing of it, and off she went.

There were a few miscrossed cables which had to be fixed, but otherwise, while I know she struggled with the stitch pattern instructions it was reasonably straightforward. Until it came to the blocking.

Jeez people, the blocking gave me heart failures! I had preached the gospel of blocking to M with all the fervour of a fundamentalist convert and extolled how it would straighten out the cabes and smooth out the fabric....etc...etc....and I offered to block it for her. OMG. The pieces grew from 21 inches to 28 inches in length when wet and I really quaked in my boots. The fact that it turned the colour of wet pastry dough didn't help, as it grew and grew in my hands.
Where's my pastry rolling pin? Yikes!

I gotta tell ya folks, I freaked out. I lost my cool. I took the drastic step (prematurely as it turned out) of unpicking the shoulder cast offs and ripping back 5 inches on each piece. It was still way too long, but I didn't have the courage to rip further. Then I seamed it up and (again trying to be helpful) picked up the stitches for the collar. It all seemed ok. Phew.

Then I showed it to M. Curses, she spotted right away how the collar was now far too short for the deep and lovely 'V' of the design. And besides, now that it was fully dry, it had shrunk back to a reasonable length. Sigh. Poor M shook her head sadly at my youthful and impetuous folly and took it away. She ripped out everything I had done and knitted back in 3 inches or so. The seams were fine, the collar was fine, and you can see from the pics that it worked out nicely in the end.

The only real downside was that M lost a little of the trust she had in my ability to navigate her through the choppy waters of modern knitting designs. That was a pity. I lost some of that trust in myself I admit. Certainly, I'll try and remember this project before I go hacking at something before it's fully dry.

Oh yes, and there's me nerves. They were shot for quite a while.

(Jeez. For a short post, this one sure grew - like Rialto!)

PS: I do feel a little badly that I have left you in absolute suspense since this post. As usual, things have been slightly delayed by the intervention of reality. Bummer. Never mind. Let me just say one word.


I'm sure you can work out the rest.



Leslie said...

Whoa! Wow and may I say, yikes!

What a lesson to learn for me.

Many happy returns of the season to you and yours, Nic. So glad to have you in my world!

Sinéad said...

You poor thing. You must have nearly had a heart attack when it grew like that!
Especially when you were after telling your friend that "blocking was the new black".
Still, it all worked out in the end and the jumper is gorgeous.

Irene said...

I adore this!!!

I wonder what yarn M worked it in? Some yarns just lose a bit of their spring after blocking, I blame it on the machine oils... Also, the whole 'dry flat in shape' bit is for a reason! ;-)

It is absolutely beautiful and full marks to M!!!

Nic said...

Knit in Debbie Bliss Rialto, the specified yarn, can't remember what it's made of.

'Blocking is the new black'...snort!

Irene said...

Rialto is pure merino which explains alot!

Clasheen said...

Fabulous result Nic in spite of your efforts! Happy New Year X Nicola

Nic said...

Hoot! Yes, I think that was M's feeling on the issue too. She's so patient with me. Like she's seen too many World Wars to fret much about my knitting frenzy. Funny.

Thanks hon. Happy New Year to you too! N xxx