Monday, 16 February 2009

Sans Camera

Just as well I included plenty of pictures in my last post as I'm currently without a camera. Yet another justification of the fact that I rarely leave London - I went to the countryside to visit a friend for her birthday (good god it's dark out there at night. I mean proper, actual darkness. You simply don't experience that in a city.) and left the camera sitting on her dining room table, idiot that I am. Which means I have no pictures of The Beast; the Jabberwocky of Jumpers, that took me almost five months and two false starts to complete. But it is done. Honest. Scouts honour. (Actually I was a Brownie, but the oath still counts, right?).

For those not on Ravelry, this was the Seamless Hybrid sweater from Elizabeth Zimmerman's recipe book. And it is a fabulous pattern but good grief you have to be seriously sober, attentive and armed with a very good calculator and possibly a degree in structural engineering. Deciphering her chatty, somewhat vague, instructions is not for the feint of heart, as you discover through the pain of experience that a technique she mentions casually, in passing, in one sentence midway through a paragraph about her children, is actually the foundation of the entire garment, whose neglect will cause the whole thing to morph into either a potato sack or hot water bottle cover. The saving grace is that even though some of the instructions may feel as though your brain is trying to translate Klingon, it actually makes sense once you, to borrow a phrase, just do it (speaking of which, my sister-in-law has recently acquired some Liberty print Nike hightops which are seriously fab). And there is a magic moment when you form the saddle shoulder, knitting and seaming the thing at the same time. The woman knows her stuff.

But it is done. And it is beautiful, even if I do say so myself, in green, jogless stripes. What is even more mind-boggling is that it actually fits my brother. When I have photos I can show you the sweater's one failing, which is that it doesn't sit entirely right at the back, as I couldn't raise the back neck enough (in brief, the shirt yoke across the shoulders raised the back neck, but is based on half the sleeve stitches you started with. Since I was working with a narrower sleeve, I got a narrower shirt yoke. There must be some way to solve this, but it wasn't a complete disaster and I couldn't cope with the thought of re-doing the sleeves at this late stage so, with a little stretching next time it's washed, it should be fine. Something to fix on the next attempt).

Despite the pain, I'd heartily recommend the pattern. Have a quick Google or Ravelry search to get the idea but it's a fabulously flattering design for men. I'm going to make another at some point but in a block colour and a lighter weight.

Anywho, in other news I have finished Plop, the Owls jumper. Well, Plop and his siblings are entirely done, I'm just finishing the neckline. Then it'll be a quick wash and he should be good to go. So far Project Polar is looking like a roaring success, but I shouldn't count my chickens, owls, or poultry in general, at this point. The only problem I'm having is finding buttons. The pattern calls for 32 of them, for the eyes of 16 owls (But of course! I hear you cry). I had thought the simplest thing would be to order them online but all the web-based button shops are full of novelty buttons, or lucky-dip mixed bags of buttons. Nothing close to what I'm looking for, alas. I would have thought the web would be awash with fantastic supplies but it's all looking very thin on the ground. Let me know if I've completely missed a really good UK supplier. I'm probably going to have to trek down to Libertys and hope they have something that will work with enough in stock in those little tubes. Then will come the joy of sewing on 32 bloody buttons onto an owls frickin' face (just whose bright idea was this, anyway?) at which point I may be less enamoured of our nocturnal pals.

They are damn cute though.


Woolly Stuff said...

Choosing buttons can be overwhelming. You've done all this work, and now you think you're at the easy part.

I don't know if you've tried this website? There are a lot of buttons here:

25 pages of them, to be exact!

aleksandra said...

oh, cool to hear you're done with the owls. bring it over to the knitting group.

have you thought of maybe using sequins for the eyes? i think that could look quite good.

Hoxton said...

Thanks for the tip, resorted to Libertys in the end. Sequins great idea, though they'd need to be quite large. Gone for simple, quite plain plastic ones in the end. 32 can leave a hefty price tag otherwise!