Monday, March 24, 2008

Yoke Untangled

Give a girl a Duncan Hines cake mix, and all kinds of craziness can happen - even a nice Jewish girl can make an Easter bunny cake. I'm having a heart attack just looking at it, but there it is -

And, that's not the only thing I finished over the Easter break - tangled yoke is a tangle no more!
I don't even remember when I started this - whenever the magazine came out, I think, because I know I grabbed this color, Avocado, out of our first fall shipment of Rowan yarns, and I think I cast on before I cast on Cobblestone (which, by the way, is such a tragedy - because Mr. Tall insisted on washing it, and hanging it on the back of a chair to dry - all of that ripping out I did because I had overestimated how tall he really is is now completely for naught - as it has stretched back out to its oversized, ridiculous original state. Ah well, back to the blocking board!). I knit the body, and the sleeves pretty quickly, and then - the yoke -
You can hardly see the cable, or the decoration as my niece called it, on the yoke in this picture, but it's there - and it scared me. I saw that one to five increase - the stitches increasing at the speed of light. I imagined the stitches on my needle, falling off my needle, becoming unwieldy and unmanageable. And, I tossed it aside, and tried to put it out of my mind.

Then, Marian was at knitting circle one night, and picked out her yarn, Whiskey, to get started. By the next week, she had finished the body, joined the yoke, and had her markers in to start the cable. I admired hers, and began to covet. I coveted my neighbor's sweater. So, Laura and I were working at the shop on Saturday, and I mentioned my fear of the cable, and my potential inadequacies as a knitter, and Laura was like, "huh, I should knit the yoke for you - it looks like the only fun part of the sweater." I let that sink in a bit, and it sank -

Until it was like a Call to Duty (not that Call to Duty is imbedded in my brain or anything from Mr. Tall and his son playing it for four hours yesterday while I read the Times) - I must knit this because I CAN. I CAN DO IT.
So, I joined the yoke, color coded my cable chart, and three days later - the yoke was done. And, I was mighty proud of myself.
Then, my second fear rose to the surface.

I wasn't sure it was going to fit.

My weight fluctuates - up five, down five, up seven, down 10 - we all know how it is. My bust is like an inflatable balloon - 36C, 36D, 36C and once, after a totally obsessive round of weight watchers - a 34C!) - When I picked which size to knit, the 38, I was coming off the summer, was in pretty good shape, and had not yet gone back on the pill. A good six months later, and 2 mos. of birth control in my system, preceded by Thanksgiving, Christmas, and now, a very chocolately Easter - well, a C is a stretch, and the D is pretty much where I'm at now. I became very nervous that the buttons wouldn't close, or if they did, it would be a tight squeeze. I consoled myself with the thought that the cardigan would still look pretty open, with a crisp white shirt underneath.

When I went to Rosie's to buy my last stash of the Felted Tweed that I had on hold, I chatted with Jen, who also has a Tangled Yoke in the mix. I mentioned that I hadn't seen many Tangled Yokes parading through the store. She had, and I don't remember her exact wording, but she had seen a few sloppy button bands - loose, and pulling away from the sweater. My anxiety level increased. But, I was really determined to finish it. Laura's offer to do my knitting for me had definitely sparked a competitive chord in me -- it was a matter of pride, and if worst came to worst, it would be a great gift for a skinny person.

In an effort to avoid the gaping button band, and the dreaded stretchy button across the boob, I did two things. First, I ignored the number of stitches that Eunny instructed us to pick up, and just picked up my button band like I would pick up a sock gusset - leaving no stitch unknit - and I ended up picking up a good 20 more stitches than the pattern called for. On the next row, I decreased to the correct number of stitches, and I think my button band is pretty darn spiffy.

The next thing I did was I added buttons. The pattern calls for 9 buttons, I went with 11 spaced 2 inches apart. I figured the more hardware, the more restraint, and the more likely my boobies would stay put, in the sweater as opposed to popping through the buttons.

So, I crossed my fingers, and hoped my prophylactic measures worked - because I knew that aggressive blocking would foil the cable.

And, voila - it fits. And, not only does it fit, I think it's one of the best fitting sweaters I've ever made.

And what happened to the mukluks - is March Mukluk Madness over? Have no fear. One mukluk is in the can, and the second is at the cuff (which since you start at the toe makes it about 3/4's done!). And, the Muchos Manos Blanket of Madness is moving along - only 15 more blocks to go! I definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel. And, since the mukluks, I have not cast on anything new. While we were at the Kaffe class a few weeks ago, someone asked me how many projects I had going at one time. I couldn't give her a number, I mentioned a few, and while the group was quietly knitting, I did some real soul searching about how many WIP's I actually have - and it's scary. Just as Laura's offer to do my knitting for me struck a nerve (not that it wasn't a generous offer, just that I knew I had it in my to knit the cable), I found myself growing hot under the collar, I'm sure my face turned a greenish shade of red - I don't even know if I can confess how many projects are actually hanging around. My fingers are hovering over the keyboard about to type the list, and I can't do it - hello, my name is Wendy, and I'm an addict . . .

So, I do feel better having finished Tangled Yoke. After the Mukluks, and of course, the ongoing blanket, I'm going to finish Martha, and then assess what's next. I do know that Autumn Rose is in my near future, but I'm going to try try try to hold off casting on until I do some more colonics of the stash. And,


Alison said...

That looks terrific and fits really well.

Kat said...

I love it, and it looks so awesome on you! I am itching to do Autumn Rose as well... hmmm, a mini kal?

meg said...

The sweater looks great! The color is amazing.

Steph said...

The sweater looks great! Love the color.

Lisa said...

It's another sweater I want to knit! Yours looks fabulous by the way. If you're done with your cake, you can send it on down here to VA, and I'll take care of it for you. I haven't made one in years!

Bridget said...

It turned out so nicely! And I'm really glad that you like it too, after all you went through to get it knit.

That cake looks yummy, by the way. Cake and a sweater - the perfect post ... :-)

Lisa said...

Great bunny cake! Better be careful noone mistakes you for a schikza (did I spell that right?)

The sweater is gorgeous, but I hear Martha muttering, "knit me now" in the background.

Karin said...

Love the sweater. It really fits you well and the color is great.


Emily said...

Aah, scarey numbers of WIPs is just how it is for some of us. It's the remnant fo untidiness, it's how you create, and it's allowed (I reckon)>

It's surely an Equinoxial Cat rather than an Easter Bunny.

The cardigan is gorgeous. I'm trying not to want to make it.

Sally said...

Fabulous fabulous. I love it in this color! The fit is lovely. And don't worry, I betcha I have more WIPs than you... ;o)

And who says a nice Jewish girl can't enjoy a bunny cake?

Knitting Novice said...

Bunny Cake is very cute!
The sweater is beautiful!

Knitting Novice said...

Bunny Cake is very cute!
The sweater is beautiful!

mariss said...

The sweater is gorgeous! You did a great job, what a nice fit! I'm glad you sucked it up and did it yourself.

I'm excited to see what you finish next...

But most importantly, is there any bunny cake left? ;)

Macoco said...

I can't believe that you coveted thy neighbor's cardigan! You did a fantastic job on the tangled yoke and it looks great on you.

Laura said...

Sorry Wendy, I didnt mean to imply that you couldnt do the yoke yourself! I just wanted to get my hands on that sweater. :)

Your tangled yoke looks so great, you have convinced me that I have to make one for myself.

Andrea said...

Girl, the sweater is gorgeous!! You did a beautiful job of it. The color is nice on you too.

WandaWoman said...

Your Tangled Yoke looks beautiful. One of my friends mentioned her button band did something weird too and she didn't like that. That's good to know, because i do plan to knit it. I do the same thing with my socks, when picking up stitches in the gusset, leaving no stitch unpicked up.

That's such a tragedy about Mr. Tall's sweater too.

Anonymous said...

If my whiskey got you restarted, I'm glad to say that your fabulous finished project has spurred me on to complete mine. All I had left were buttonbands and end weaving, and I finished those last night. By 11:30, I had it washed and laid out, using my own haphazard blocking technique of squishing and patting a washed sweater into place, and crossing my fingers. I liked your idea of adding buttons, and added an extra one of my own. In a book my mom gave me some time in the 80s, with the off-putting title of THE RIGHT WAY TO KNIT, the author has some no-nonsense guides to picking up stitches--depending on the gauge of the yarn, you'll probably come out ok if you pick up 3 out of 4, or 5 out of 6 vertical stitches, or whatever. So, I usually pick up based on those guidelines, and then adjust, if needed. One of my favorite patterns didn't even bother giving a stitch count on the buttonband--just recommended picking up 3 out of 4 on the vertical, and away you go.

Whiskey Cardigan Marian