Saturday, March 6, 2010

Push it

Buttons can make a sweater, or can kill it deader than road pancakes. Case in point: My surface sweater from last year. Faboo pattern, great yarn, I worked like hell on it for more than a month and then promptly destroyed it with the wrong buttons. I haven't fixed it yet, but I need to. soon. Second case in point, my newest sweater Juno:
I had been waiting to post about this sweater because I just could not find the right buttons. They couldn't be too shiny, too bright, too anything that would distract from the fabulousness of the collar and the yarn...mmmmmmm debbie bliss silk alpaca...mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Ahem. Right, so I waited for nearly a month, looking, looking, and finally found the PERFECT buttons while shopping for buttons for the Olympic sweater. It took trips to three stores before I gave up and went to JoAnns. I'm so glad I did. They were having a 50% off sale and I got these for a song. And they are Goldilocks buttons: juuuuust right.See what I mean? Matte copper, simple, craftsman-like pseudo handmade detailing (i.e. fake hammering marks and scribing), not perfectly round. I think they match the aesthetic of this pattern. It is my urban fairytale sweater. I wear it constantly, usually with jeans and boots, and feel really quite stupendous in it. All thanks to my sister, who gave me this delicious yarn for the holidays. Thanks Sis, you made this possible!!!!!
This is my third sweater of the year and I'm half-way through my to follow, right now it's deadly boring black. I may be doing a sweater a month this year, whether I planned it or not.

Monday, March 1, 2010

So close!

Deathmarch fail!
Olympic sweater fail! I came so very, very close. They extinguished the torch as I was crocheting on the button band of my unblocked but completed sweater last night. I had two buttonholes to go. Granted, I hadn't woven in the ends or blocked it or even tried the thing on yet, but I got SO *&^%$#$%^& close!!! My dear, sweet, adorable GF made me this button for the blog:So I AM the luckiest girl in the world. She even let me get away with mac & cheese with left-over pot roast for dinner last night to let me try and finish the sweater. The reason I got so close and didn't get the gold was the damn steek. It was my first steek ever and I may never do this again. Ok, I'm lying. It's pretty damn cool as a process. But you have to get the crochet stitches much, much tighter than I did to make it work. I crocheted, I took several deep breaths, I put the sweater down for an hour, and then I cut. Everything looked great (no pictures b/c I was working too fast at this point to stop and find the camera), and then I tried to pick up stitches for the I-cord button band. All went well until we got to the yoke. Then stitches started popping out of the steek. My heart almost stopped. Seriously, all that work and this is how it was going to go down?!!? After much crying and several failed attempts to stop the yarn bleeding I gave up. I put the sweater down and went to bed (it was 3 am on Saturday night). The next morning, filled with bright enthusiasm and four cups of coffee, I had a plan and some dpns. I would knit a separate binding that I would then sew over the steek to seal it, stabilize it and act as a button band, all in one. Garment construction 101, right? More than 50 inches of stockinette later I was ready to start sewing. I made two attempts to knit the neck band on to the active stitches still on a holder but experienced massive fail. The problem with knitted-on Icord on size 8 needles: it's freaking ugly. I mean frankenknit ugly. So I ripped, and knit, and ripped and knit and finally realized I would have to do the entire band separately. I did. I was ready to sew it on at 6:45 last night. Yeah. Which was why I was only two button-holes away from finishing when Neil Young finished his "song." Do you feel my pain, knitters of the world? 17 days of constant knitting (ok, a few hours each night in front of Bob Costas, but still!) and I'm two buttonholes away from glory. Is this how Plushenko felt? This colorwork felt like my quad, I tell you what. So the band is on, I will probably rip out the crocheted button-holes and re-do them since they are slightly off.
On the whole, this sweater in 17 days is nothing to be ashamed of:
Pay no attention to the gaping albeit perfectly-chosen button. The blocking and a new button-hole band will fix that.