Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Sous Sous Big. . .

Well my second sweater of the year is done but I'm in two minds about the result.  It took over three months, but I have to say I really did enjoy the process of knitting it. The pattern is Sous Sous by Norah Gaughan, who is known for her interesting constructions and I absolutely loved the cables.  I also fell in love with the wool - West Yorkshire Spinners undyed Blue-Faced Leicester DK.  It's smooth, has great stitch definition, washes well and has a lovely, comforting sheepy smell. 

I really spent a long time making sure I got things right. At one point, I ripped back sixteen rows because I noticed a row in the moss stitch was all wrong.  At another, I made a mistake on the cable and that's the focal point so it really needed to be perfect.  There are a few errors in the lace portions, but I could live with that.

The problem came when I went to block it. I don't know what I was thinking; I knew I wanted to open up the lace eyelets a bit, but impatient to have it dry in time for my trip to Edinburgh, I took it off the pins and hung it over a clothes rack near a radiator.  The weight of the still wet wool completely stretched it out. When it dried it was so huge on me, I wanted to cry.  The neckline was down to my navel and the back had such a huge gap, it looked ridiculous. 

So I did something I've NEVER done with anything woolly.  I gave it a good spray with water and threw it in the dryer, albeit on a wool setting.  And prayed.  I figured I had nothing to lose - if the shrinking meant I lost all the cable and moss stitch definition, at least I'd still have a sweater I could actually wear.  Here's the result.

It did shrink to just a little bit bigger than pre-blocking. It looks okay from the front but there is SO much material under the arms and the back that it really feels more like I'm wearing a poncho.  

In retrospect, I should have knit about twenty to thirty stitches less in width and done an extra cable repeat on the front.  I still love those cables!

These photos were shot on the top of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh which we climbed the day before the Edinburgh Yarn Festival.  We also knitted on the top even though it got a bit chilly.  This wool is really warm and cozy though.  I've learned a lot from this project and it's definitely been one of the most challenging knits I've tackled.  And now I'm completely obsessed by cables!

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