Monday, February 9, 2009

Knitting Oblique

As you look through these photos, you will not only see my latest sweater, you will also get a glimpse of the changes we see in our mountain weather. These were all taken within a 24 hour period. This first, in my backyard late Saturday afternoon. I hadn't sewn on the buttons yet, so I just fastened the front with an i-cord tie through the buttonholes. (It has a buttonhole at the top of each buttonband.)

As is obvious, I was comfortable in just the sweater. I've been so comfortable in this sweater that I've been wearing it almost nonstop since I finished it last week. I may continue to do so, if weather permits. The way things go around here, I never know what I'll wear next.

In a way, the changes in the weather are a microcosm of the passage of the seasons while I knit this sweater. I began Oblique in April of last year. I know exactly which date, because I cast on during the first episode of Grey's Anatomy after the writer's strike. It was April 24th. Oblique, by Veronik Avery, was my Grey's Anatomy KAL project. I knit on it faithfully while watching every episode and rerun of the show I could find on the regular broadcast channels. I think I averaged 2-3 hours of knitting on this project each week.

The photo above was taken just a little later the same Saturday afternoon. It was overcast as I contemplated the condition of the dried crabapples that cover our little tree. Though they are not very appetizing to me, they feed an amazing variety of wildlife--deer, squirrels, and birds of all sorts. (A dove is nesting in our tree now. She's staying close to her food source.)

Last April, I purchased 5 hanks of Berroco Ultra Alpaca to knit this sweater as part of my new yarn goals for the year. I had determined to focus on more classic knits and stay away from the wildly variegated yarns I had impulsively bought in the past. Over the subsequent months of knitting, I increasingly modified the sweater. Since I was only knitting on it a hour or two a week, there was plenty of time to change my plan. I narrowed the sleeves and meant to shorten the length to conserve yarn. Over the months of knitting, I lost track of my original plan. This sweater is longer than I thought I would make it (nearly as long as the pattern original). That and a few other modifications (especially making it slightly larger than the smallest size) meant that I used more yarn than I had planned at the outset.

In the end, I grew impatient to have my sweater. I began to work on it regularly in December and quickly realized that I wouldn't have enough yarn. I decided on the contrasting collar and button band edging in Inca Marl, an alpaca yarn. It is softer than the Ultra Alpaca, which has wool content, and therefore a bit kinder to my sensitive neck. The clerk at my lys talked me into the purple (which wasn't that difficult to do, as much as I love purple). Although it is a departure from the sedate, classic look I originally planned, it does pick up the lavender undertones of the main yarn.

My favorite part of this sweater is the part I most hated knitting--middle pattern, the textured lace. I especially like the way the single repeat of that pattern flows down the sleeve from collar to cuff. I suppose it is appropriate, then, that the photo that best captured that feature was taken by the spring just west of Monarch Pass on Hwy 50. It was a mild 31 degrees Sunday afternoon when I took this photo. The flow of water, however, was comfortable on my fingers. At least, it was warmer than the icy tapwater I usually have to tolerate when I first turn on the faucet in my kitchen.

As we drove on into Gunnison County, we found a good bit more snow. Still, my sweater kept me warm, at least during this photo shoot. Little did I know that I was looking at my immediate future. We drove west past Gunnison to check out the ice fishing at Blue Mesa Resevoir, a time-consuming trip that allowed the weather to completely change. It was snowing hard as we approached the continental divide on our trip home, making crossing Monarch Pass nerve-wracking. We saw several vehicles slip and slide, then give up and turn around. I'm glad there were no accidents.

Unbelievably, it was clear and dry at our home. So, there in these pictures, you have the sweater that began in the warmth of last spring, continued on through the summer, and saw its finish in the dead of winter, being sewn together and buttoned at winter's last gasp. In it, I'm looking forward to spring once more.

I celebrated Spring's approach by buying more sweater yarn, enough Filatura di Crosa's Zara for the Belted Wrap from IK and the Ogee Tunic from Knitting Nature.

More on that, and a look at my Valentine's mitten, coming soon. (Sweater details on Ravelry.)

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Wool Winder said...

It's beautiful! I like the contrasting collar and button band.

beverlyanne said...

Running short of yarn was a happy mistake. The purple lends a touch of pizazzz but the sweater still looks ltotally classic.

Yarnhog said...


But...31 degrees? At 31 degrees, I wouldn't be comfortable in anything less than a down sleeping bag.

Wool Enough said...

It's gorgeous! The perfect, classic, elegant, go-with-everything cardigan. And I, too, love the contrasting trim. The buttons are neat too. (I embiggened the pic to have a close look.) They match nicely and look good without trying to steal the limelight from the sweater itself.

Sam said...

What a great cardigan. The contrasting band is a lovely finishing touch.

vlb5757 said...

I love the back of the sweater! Eventually I will get my sweater finished. I have to rip out the ribbing and take sleeve out to make it smaller. I like the purple too.

erika said...

Colorado weather is definitely something to marvel at. I can do the same thing, go out in a sweater below freezing and sometimes feel hot! It all depends on the sun and wind though, for sure. I'm in the Springs, so if I don't like it here, I just go to Pueblo and I gain 10 degrees!

The sweater is very beautiful. I would not have ever considered it just looking at knitty.

jen said...

This is such a neat post, love all the different scenes. Your knitting is beautiful! Wonderful job on the sweater.

Bron said...

I'm a little late, but what a sweater! I love it. That's something I would make. I need to queue it up. :) The contrast of the purple really makes the sweater shine.

Jenny Girl said...

this is beautiful! So warm and cozy looking too. Beautiful project and pics!