With the first Adult Gansey Class under my belt, its time to get back to work on the brown sweater for Mr. Needles. While the red sweater is looking good, it is a lot of plain knitting and I really needed a mental break after the gauges problem. I am waiting for Tuesday when a friend with a set of 16 inch needles will put me out of my misery.
Meanwhile, brown is working up very nicely.
When last you saw this sweater, it was an ocean of plain brown, but it was a nice ocean of plain brown. It was left that way so students could see mine in progress just a step ahead of theirs. While I waited I played with stitches and patterns, but nothing was set in my head till it was time to do it.
I knew from a sample at the store, that the yarn worked up beautifully in a full ground of seed stitch, so seed stitch was my fall back position, but I wanted more. Allover seed stitch was not a very exciting prospect. I tried some twisted stitch patterns, some knit and purl patterns, some allover knit and purl patterns, and found that there were things this yarn just doesn't do well.
I picked three things:
seed stitch on the right, a double cable section with banding in between, and a nice little seed stitch based woven band panel.
Nice patterns, quietly strong, just like Mr. Needles. I thought this woven panel would make a great central panel, but just like the knit and purl patterning, the yarn just doesn't do it.
You can see the problem. The weaving pattern shows fine on the stockinette bands. You get a hint of what it could be, but in the seed stitch sections, the patterning just disappears. I suspect that the reason I like this yarn, the airy lightness of it, is the reason it doesn't do well defined very well.
Anyway, it was an interesting exercise that made me understand yarns like this a little better. There are a couple of these airy light things on the market right now, and they will cable incredibly well, but patterns relying on clear edges, are not going to show up well.
The more I knit, the more I come to see, there is a yarn for everything, and an everything for every yarn. A great looking project isn't just a matter of the getting the right gauge. Its also about understanding the qualities of the yarn, about working with the yarns strong points. It is about letting go of preconceived ideas and working to find the beauty the yarn holds inside.
I started with a different plan for this sweater, but letting my plan go hasn't been hard. The real goal, the only goal, like the hopes for every sweater before it, is to have a sweater he will love to wear.