Monday, October 23, 2006

Poppy Play


Welcome to Stop 3 on the YarnPlay blog tour! Lisa Shobhana Mason has the day off - and I'm going to unveil my finished Poppy - drum roll puhleaze!!!


When Lisa emailed me after I interviewed her for the podcast, and asked if I could cast on Poppy by the week of the 23rd, I hesitated. I had big big plans for my money at Rhinebeck, and while Poppy was definitely in my knitting queue, I knew I didn't have enough in my stash to get the job done. But, I loved the book, and I loved the sweater, so I decided, eh, what's a few more skeins of yarn I was going to buy anyway.


The bottom panel of the sweater is knit in Cash Iroha, with rows of Silk Garden thrown in, and a few garter rows for good measure. So, I took my 16 miscellaneous skeins of Silk Garden over to Loop to pick a color of Cash Iroha that complimented my stash, thinking that instead of using one colorway of Silk Garden on top, I would pick 6 similar skeins that I already had - I mean, I was supposed to be playing, right?

So, I picked Cash Iroha, maroon. I think it looks more like chocolate than maroon, but it's maroon. Let me just say this and set the record straight - this is an awesome yarn - I know that Cash Iroha has recently gotten swept up in the Debbie Bliss cashmere controversy - but you don't buy this yarn for the cashmere content - it supposedly had 12% cashmere - I don't know if it has any, and I don't care. The color is rich, the fabric is lush, and I hope that this yarn isn't pulled from the shelves, and that everyone can knit Poppy the way she should be knit.

Anyway, before I cast on, I picked a skein of Silk Garden for the random striping. I picked a skein that I maybe had another 1/2 skein of - I just intended to use it for the striping, and use another colorway on top, another for the back, and another for the sleeves. Once the color was chosen, then I thought about the stripes. I'm not a random girl - randomness scares me - I'm a bit of a control freak. So, instead of throwing in stripes that were completely "random" I used a Fibonacci series of numbers for a roadmap of my stripes and garter strips - I threw in either a color or a garter row every 5, 8, 13, 21, 28 and 34th row, and then the same numbers in a descending order. To me, that's playing - maybe it's math, but it's still play.

Once, I finished the bottom panel, which is a straight stockinette, no shaping, I decided to block it before I sewed up the seam. I emailed Lisa first to ask her about blocking, but she didn't block. Now, I'm normally a girl all about short cuts - no blocking means no blocking - fast and wrong. Because it's stockinette, and because it was curling at the edges, I just didn't see how I could neatly sew the seam without blocking it. So, block I did.

So, I sewed the side seam. The pattern says to sew the seam in the back, but I decided to sew the seam on the side, and when I picked up the stithces for the top panel, the side seam became the marker for the beginning of my row. While I did sew a pretty nice seam if I say so myself, I still liked the idea of hiding it on the side, rather than having it in the middle of the back. In fact, if I were going to knit this pattern again, I might do a provisional cast on, and either graft the seam with the side stitches, or perhaps do a three needle bind off on the wrong side.

Anyway, now I had a dilemna. The colorway that I had chosen had really distinctive colors from the other skeins of Silk Garden in the pile. The skeins that I had intended to use were all earthy, muted colors. But this skein had mustard, blue, green and a cherry maroon. So, I decided to pick up the stitches along the top of the bottom panel with the same skein, so that at least the top would be picking up the colors of the stripes. Then, to bring out those colors even more, and thinking I was going to switch to another colorway when I ran out of yarn, I knit the front of the top first.

Once I had the front of the top done, I had a real moment of truth. It was love all over again with Color 234 (it's the same colorway I used for my Sunrise Circle Jacket), and I loved how it looked with the maroon Cash Iroha. It wasn't much of a struggle to convince myself that I needed to buy five more skeins of that Silk Garden, and ditch my cost saving measures of mishmashing the Silk Garden I already had.
So, this is the final color combo - sweet!

And, at that point, I unconsciously made another decision - that I was going to try to make the colors symmetrical. Everytime I've knit with Noro, I haven't really been concerned with lining colors up, or having symmetrical colors on each side of a garment. But, there's something about this sweater that calls for balance. On the bottom, to get the different colored stripes, I cut my partial skein of 234 into color segments - and mixed up the segments somewhat randomly. For the top and the sleeves, I also cut the skeins, so that I was able to start and stop with the same color. Once the top was done, I knew that I wanted the shoulders to be green or blue - so the bottom of the sleeve necessarily had to be maroon.

The top was done in a snap, and before I started the sleeves, I sewed up the shoulder seams and tried it on. I was nervous about the fit - I'm a pretty curvy girl, and I'm used to my sweaters having some side shaping. But, it's perfect. Onto the sleeves.

The sleeves were knit in the round, until the shaping at the top, which is knit flat. The finished sleeves, are then eased into the armhole. I have to say, this was the most, and only, difficult part of the sweater. I'm used to blocking my sleeves, then sewing - and then I know that it's going to fit in the armhole. Not possible in this case, because the sleeves are already done. It took a bit of fudging, and a bit of easing, but the sleeve found its way into the armhole, and viola - Poppy complete!

Poppy came with me to Rhinebeck, and boy did she get compliment after compliment! One woman even stopped me and asked, "Is that the sweater that's on the cover of Yarnplay?" Not only were Knitty D and I kind of knitting rockstars, this sweater was totally Queen of the Festival.

And, here she is -





















Be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the tour!

wednesday 10/25 -Purl Jam
thursday 10/26 - My Life In Stitches
friday 10/27 - Serendipity
saturday 10/28 - Scout's Knitted Swag

23 comments:

girlie jones knits said...

That's a lovely sweater Wendy, well worth the fiddling, it looks great on!

Midnight2sticks said...

WOW! Thats a stunner! Now I HAVE to knit it soon.

jacqueline said...

how quick do you knit girl! great sweater though...both the design and your knitting.

Wendy said...

Poppy is GORGEOUS!

Kat said...

Beautiful - a true work of art. I love how it turned out and your efforts on color coordination really made the sweater!

Carol said...

A complete winner! Love the colors on you - great choice.

Liz K. said...

I wish I had seen Poppy when deciding what to do with my sweater's worth of Silk Garden. While I am pleased with the project I chose, Poppy would have been a great option. It solves the whole horizontal-stripes-across-the-chest problem with Silk Garden.

All that thinking was worth it.

shobhana said...

oh my god! wendy!!! that is gorgeous!! wow! the first poppy! i feel like i ought to send you a prize!

Lolly said...

You did a GREAT job on the sweater! Such a nice color combo! I am hoping to shop for this sweater at Stitches next week...

Maureen said...

That is gorgeous—I absolutely love those colors together, and the fit is so flattering.

Dorothy said...

That is a gorgeous sweater. You did an excellent job with it.

Sherry W said...

I just may have to make that one!

Alison said...

What a lovely sweater. Its very flattering on you - colour is great. I think I need to add this to my wish list too.

Javajem said...

I can't wait to make that sweater.

I saw the book at the Albuquerque stitch and bitch when ScoutJ brought it.

I asked a question about whether it was easy enough to be a first sweater - what do you think?

Love the colors you used!

Knittah said...

The sweater and the pictures of you are spectacular! Rockstar, indeed!

sturdygirl said...

wow, that turned out so beautiful! and it fits great.

Scoutj said...

Oooohhh so pretty!!

Wanda said...

I did like that sweater, now I love how yours turned out. Alot of work, but definitely worth it.

Michelle said...

Gorgeous!!

Theresa said...

That looks great on you - good fit, and great colors. You and your silk garden . . .d

kelp! said...

That sweater looks beautiful! The silk garden and cash iroha really do look fab together.

Michelle B said...

It's amazing!! You look stunning. I did see you from a distance at Rhinebeck but felt silly just barging up and introducing myself. Look forward to the next podcast.

Katinka said...

Your Poppy turned out *beautifully*!

Covet...covet...covet... ;)