April 23, 2015

20 It's a Cable, It's an I-Cord... No, It's Superknitter!

"Superknitter", you ask, with eyebrows dutifully raised?  Yes!  While I'm not about to show you a knitted cape, I don't mind calling myself a superhero when it comes to finishing my "yearly masterpiece".  Every year I choose a crazy complex knit to occupy myself with.  The criteria includes new techniques, a grueling number of hours and, invariably (sigh), a bajillion ends to weave in.

Last year my "masterpiece" was Anatolia, a fair-isle piece using 4 colors at the same time.

This year, I chose Shiri Mor's Fretwork Pullover, from Vogue Knitting Fall 2014.  How could I NOT -- look at this!!

Instantly I asked, wait wait wait, are those cables?  The holes in between the "cabling" didn't compute, cabling doesn't leave an empty background!  Also, it would be impossible to move a cable over so much distance, the width is simply too great...

Well then, were they woven i-cords??  That sounded like a nightmare... Elizabeth Zimmerman might call them "idiot cords" but I'd prefer to call them "imp cords", because they are so.freaking.annoying.

It turns out that it's the best of both worlds: the panels are created by knitting long 4-stitch strips (they fold on themselves only to look like i-cord) and reserving them on little locking holders for weaving when the time comes.

Once you understand the concept, the actual knitting is not that hard to do.  You really are just knitting one side until you have enough knitting 'real estate' to start the weaving process to take you to the other side.  Once there, you start knitting that side only, and go until you get to the same height.

Just make sure that you are not afraid of Giant Squids:

Posted on Reddit by gabemart

And here I must pause to give a shout out to Shiri Mor.  I mean, woman?  You amaze me.  Putting aside the jaw-dropping look of the piece, the fit, the creativity... how did you get the courage to write this down for the benefit of us knitters?!  I mean, even if I had the idea (unlikely), I would shy away for fear of trying to write this out.  I need to thank you from the bottom of my heart for having the gumption to give us the chance to knit this astonishing piece.  Without designers like you, there would be no interesting stuff coming from the likes of me, ever.

If you would like to tackle this piece, start with the small side panel as recommended.  This will give you a small project to test if you can understand the technique.  Please note that at the end of the panels (there are 6 total, plus the sleeves), you will be left to your own devices to figure out how to finish it.

Embody the criss-cross and you will get through...

DON'T LOSE HOPE.  I had this grand idea to write it out for everyone, but sadly, I am no Shiri Mor.  I will give you a hint though: the number of rows of each strip that you need at the end is actually exactly the number of rows you start each strip with.

Additionally, I'd like to add that the armhole is not the best shape.  Actually I should say that, however I managed it was not the best shape.  Do you see all this extra fabric I had at the back?

It actually made the armhole too large for the sleeve to fit in.  So, I decided to remove material by making a new hem.

To get rid of the extra material and bulk, I followed the same method I used in this post.

This is a fitted pullover with negative ease.  I made the smallest size and used a larger needle than required.  You can see how slim the sleeves are.  Readytoknit has just finished her beautiful Fretwork Pullover, and she gives valuable info about picking your size on her blog, should you want to dive in.

As for the yarn -- I used Bergere de France's Berlaine... the color is so lovely, but the yarn is a tad underspun and bit itchy.  I really do have to wear something under -- and that will be the fun part.  What color do you wear?  Here I have gray, but it would change to a completely different look with white or a color!  How fun is that?

If you want to challenge yourself, pick this pattern.  If you love the look of cables but hate cables, pick this pattern!  I'm not a cabling fan and I just loved this project.  In fact, I was in mourning when it was done.  The weaving was particularly exciting -- except when I screwed up and didn't notice until it was far too late!  This happened four times, actually.  Don't fear... you can fix it!!!!

Also, some people have switched the cable direction of the side panels to mirror them.  You know what?  There is so much going on in this pullover, it's really not something you need to mess around with.  I understand the knitting OCD, believe me.  But for once in my life I'm going to say this: it's not important, just enjoy the pattern exactly as it is written.

(And now I will regret those words, as they will come back at me next time I mess around, ha!)

See My Not Cabled Sweater on Ravelry


I had 172 entries, holy moly!  The winner, by random number generator, is laineyhf!

Congratulations Elaine, you will not be disappointed with your gradient mini-skeins by Seven Sisters Arts.  For the rest of you, I know it's sad not to be Elaine today, but don't worry.  You can be just like her and use this coupon code to get 10% off a purchase of the yarn you really wanted!


And now for some house updates.  Let's start with the bad news.  The new butcher block for the island came, this time cut to the right size, but now with a split in the wood and a dented corner and top.  So depressing.

Also, we had some kind of unexpected hurricane thingy come through and a window screen dented beyond repair, and the storm door we screwed up with the harrowing couch move blew open and ruined the lovely new vent we had installed for the stove.  Ugh, this stuff just puts me down.  Fixing old things on a list?  Fine.  Fixing stuff we didn't know was on the list?  Fine.  Fixing stuff WE JUST INSTALLED???  NOT FINE.

So moving on: the good news is that my Mystery Garden is growing!  I have never seen anything there but dry sticks, and so it is very exciting to poke around and try to guess what is going on.  If you have any input, I'd love love love to know your thoughts.

Big strong sticks, not easy to cut.

Bulbs and leaves growing at the bottom of the sticks...

Tulip like leaves, but too early?

I've got a lot of these.

And a lot of these.

A bush that already has beautiful reddish leaves... some dried hydrangea like flowers on the ground.

Only one of these fan-like shoots.
Early flowers.

A different early flower.

I'm guessing daffodils.

Only one of these.
Inspired by Knitionary, I planted a rose bush: "Chicago Peace".  Wish it some luck, she'll need it!

Stay tuned for a lovely spring linen knit, a crazy use of yarn scraps and a cardigan with a very interesting construction... and once again, thank you so much for visiting to enter the giveaway!

If you don't want to miss my crazy knits or other giveaways:

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  1. I was actually standing up to check my computer one last time before hitting the hay when I noticed your latest blog post. I guessed it would be long and interesting, so now I am sitting down. I really don't know how you find the time to make all these special jumpers. I think this one is the best so far.

    1. Una, thank you for taking the time to sit down! You are a treasured follower and I'm glad you love this one. :D

  2. This is absolutely stunning! What an amazing knit!

  3. You are truly an amazing knitter. And, no, I will not be trying to knit this. You are, however, possibly not the most knowledgeable gardener--so we have that in common. I think the fan-like shoot is some kind of Iris...at least that's what my fan-like shoots turn into every year!

    1. Excellent, I am hoping for irises. Though, there is a big group behind of shoots that remind me of tigerlilies... but as you say, gardening and me have yet to get acquainted!

  4. I think the things you have a lot of are daylilies. Might be the plain old rusty orange ones, might be fancy special ones! You'll just have to wait and see!

    1. I think you are right, they will be the orange ones!

  5. I love your garden photos! I´ll try to help with some of the mystery plants.
    I agree with the tulpis and daylilies, and I think the next one is nepeta (catnip). The fan of leaves might be iris. I think your early flowers are scilla, but they might also be chionodoxa; I sometimes confuse them. Your other early flower´s blossom looks like crocus, but I don´t know what kind of crocus has such wide leaves. I´ll take a wild guess with the last one before the rose and say it´s saxifraga rosacea.
    I´d love to see pictures when all the plants have grown bigger, too!


    1. I think they ended up being chionodoxa, scilla were too different a la Google. I have pics brewing, I won't leave you hanging (though the next blog post is going to be a blog contest entry with strict rules, so not yet)...

  6. If I leave work right now, leaving aside that I'd likely get fired, google maps think I should be ready to break into your house to "borrow" this sweater by about 5pm. Seems like a good use of time. I'll leave some wine or something.

    1. Ok -- I waited and I'm such a wino, you might have left another bottle... hmmmmmmm. You made me smile, and so big. :D

  7. Yes, you are indeed Super knitter. Wow, what a project. Somehow you still manage to do science. And I love the photos of your spring garden. I miss real spring here in Florida.

  8. Wow. It leaves me breathless! It is a true masterpiece and it looks amazing on you.

  9. Wowzer! I love it! Truly a masterpiece worth a year's time to make!

  10. Unbelievably gorgeous you must have incredible patience

  11. Yes, this is truly your masterpiece of the year. I wish I had read your hint before tackling the central panels, these gave the most headaches of all. I love your blue version, too bad the yarn is a bit scratchy but you have to wear something under anyway. Would look great with black or white underneath, nude might be too weird, but who knows? Thanks for linking to my blog, your start of the sweater really gave me the impetus to finally get started.
    On the garden side: wherever you have tiny green shoots showing up under the sticks, these are perennials. Get rid of the dead sticks to help your plants grow, these are the dead stems from last year. Then you will have a choice of leaving the sticks up all through winter, or cut them down. I leave mine throughout winter, makes for a little interest when snow covers them, but now is the time to clear them all and watch the plants grow again. The other set of big strong sticks in picture 2 looks like a small tree, don't cut these. It does remind me of my dogwood tree, except new branches are red. Older branches have the same color as yours. So you'll see. Show us pictures when they are all green. How exciting to discover your new garden as it grows. Take care.

  12. Masterpiece indeed! You seem to be fearless about taking on the most complicated patterns. The thought of casting on for this would have me in a cold sweat. It is a beauty!

  13. You are really Master of Knitting! It's amazing!

  14. When I saw this sweater in Vogue knitting for the first time I was really curious how it is made. Too bad, its very hard to knit. :D
    I admire your work, this one looks really gorgeous! ♥ :)

  15. What a beautiful sweater. I have just swatched tonight and will block tomorrow. I hope to give it a shot!


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