Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm a slow knitter, but . . .

It took me four years to finish Am Kamin. But in defense of myself, and also to encourage anyone else who is thinking about attempting that sweater, here are the things I finished WHILE I was knitting (or not knitting) Am Kamin.

Knit while knitting Am Kamin

Thank you for all your kind comments.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Gold Medal Day!

It started here, somehow.
Am Kamin
Pictures of this beautiful sweater, knit by a Japanese knitter, floated around the blogging world. At least the knitting, blogging world. And then Theresa knit hers for the 2006 Knitting Olympics. Someone knit this amazing sweater in 16 days! Maybe I could do it? I bought the yarn in May, and by July of 2006, I'd cast on.

Now, in February of 2010 (February 19, to be exact) I cast off.
I cast off in a lovely tubular cast off. I wove in my ends, popped the sweater in a bath, and by midnight, it was laying out to dry.

I've had it on ever since.

Am Kamin
  • From the Japanese book, New Style of Heirloom Knitting
  • 8 skeins of Cascade 220, Color 9404, Ruby
  • Knit on size 4 and 6 (mostly 6) needles
  • Pattern is one size -- I made it larger than designed.  Actually since I cast on for this sweater, I've started making my sweaters closer fitting.  I think I'll be fine with this more boxy fit -- it's a sweater I want to still be wearing 20 years from now, so classic fit and style is fine.  
  • La Mode buttons - I bought 4 different buttons for this sweater.  My daughter helped me choose the heart ones.  They're from JoAnn's Fabric.  I'm not a fan of JoAnn's.  I had to pay an extra fee to have the buttons I need sent from another store.  I'm waiting for the rest of the buttons, but I'm wearing my sweater anyway. 
    This is the first button I tried - it's the same shape as the one in the pattern book, but isn't red:
    2 great iPhotos
    Then I found these wonderful buttons at a trunk show for Black Water Abbey yarns.  I decided the pewter buttons contrasted too much, and distracted from the intricate cables of the sweater.
    2 great iPhotos
    The plain red buttons were from Sandy's Fabric downtown.  They would have been fine.
    2 great iPhotos
    But, like Goldilocks, I thought these hearts were just right.
    2 great iPhotos
    They have the irregular shape that was part of the appeal to me of the original leaf buttons, and they're close in color to the sweater.

    Many thanks to Tracey, whose emergency skein of yarn, I'm a little embarrassed to say, I didn't need.  But knowing it was there made the last bit of knitting easier.  

    The neckline of the sweater has stretched a bit as I've worn it over the last couple of days, so I may wash & reblock the sweater and then add some ribbon around the neck to stabilize it.  Any other ideas?  IMG_0317
    This wonderful cable is only on the arm. This color is truer in these indoor pictures, I think.

    Crunchy, cabley goodness! 

    Tuesday, February 09, 2010

    The Kindness of Strangers

    Am Kamin yarn, originally uploaded by phenager.
    About a month ago, I realized it was possible that very close to finishing my Am Kamin sweater, I might run out of yarn. This is always disconcerting, but especially since I bought this yarn in 2007 from a store that has since closed. The yarn is Cascade 220, and the color is still in production. But, how to find more yarn of a dye lot long gone?

    After some quiet panic, I decided to see what Ravelry could do for me. It turns out, quite a lot. I could search stashes, and even projects, by color and dye lot numbers. There's also a group on Ravelry for people seeking yarn, or hoping to get it rid of some. So, I posted, and I wrote messages to people who just might still have some of this yarn. And one kind knitter, Tracey, had a skein of "my" yarn, and sent it my way. It arrived this weekend, and I don't know that I've ever been so happy to see the right numbers on a yarn label.  Thank you Tracey!!  (Ironically, Tracey's Flickr ID is EvilTracey -- Hah!)

    I know all the advice about buying extra yarn, but I will say that I thought I HAD extra yarn. But this project, knitted from a Japanese pattern, altered to fit me, and full of cables & twisted stitches, is just the sort of thing to use more than I expected. What I'll take away from this experience is a new resolve to post dye lots with MY yarns on Ravelry, in hopes of being helpful to someone else, someday.

    Now, for something completely different --
    Haloscan will be no more, as of February 11. So, I've reverted to Blogger's commenting. That means that comments left on Haloscan have disappeared from my blog, but not my heart. Or my hard drive, for that matter, since I have email copies of comments. I think it may also mean that I've lost the ability to reply to comments personally by email. In the process of cleaning out the Haloscan, I tried a different template -- not sure what I think, except that it's the time of year that I am in the mood for a little change. Depending on when you read this, you may see version 2 or 3 of template changing.