Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rocky Road

At long last, I have finished my Rocky Coast Cardigan!  According to my ravelry project page, I started this Oct 24, and it should have been done long ago.  When I started, it all seemed so simple. I had a full bag of yarn--which I usually consider to be sweater quantity--that was perfect for the sweater and that I had picked up on clearance at my LYS. Nothing better than knitting from stash and getting the yarn at a 65% discount, right?  I could knit through a skein in about an hour, so I figured working on it an hour a night, it would be done in 10 days.  Easy peasy, right?

Well, my first mistake was assuming that since I was using a heavier yarn and larger needles than the pattern was called for, my gauge would be wider than the pattern and I would need fewer yards than the pattern calls for.  In reality, I made gauge even with the heavier yarn and bigger needle so I had to either find more yarn (Rowan alapca silk aran, which has been discontinued since I purchased the yarn) or abort the project.  Sadly, I had done just enough to know that I loved the sweater and loved the yarn, so I put my Rocky Coast on hold while I hunted down more yarn.

I managed to purchase three more skeins, but I suspected that was not nearly enough, so patiently stalked Ravelry until I found 8 more. However, the owner of the 8 would not sell fewer than the whole lot of 8, which I suspected was too much.  I swallowed hard and bought all 8 for fear that I would never find enough elsewhere to finish my cardi. So now I had 21 skeins from 3 different dye lots and I paid more than double for the the last 8 than I had paid for my original 10 plus the three additional.  Since I have had the sad experience of seeing a distinct line between the new and old dye lots in projects before, I had to be a little creative in how I alternated the skeins. 

In the end, it went like this: bodice down to sleeve divide done from 5 of my original 10 skeins.  From the sleeve divide, alternate original dye lot and the lot of 8 every 2 rows, with bottom ribbing coming from the lot of 8.  This left me with 2 full skeins of the original 10, which was not enough for 2 sleeves.  So on the sleeves, I resumed alternating every 2 rows between the original lot and the lot of 8. Finally, the continuous ribbing that runs up the sides and around the neck was done from the lot of three, and it did take all three. 

All this switching of yarns every couple of rows slowed me down, as did the fact that this project was a little too large to take on an airplane.  And I traveled a lot in Nov. and Dec. (San Fran, Washington, D.C., Utah, Germany, N. Caronlina, then back to San Fran).  I figured with 2 weeks off at Christmas, I would have plenty of time to knit all day and finish this up.  I slept instead (see my previous post). Towards the end, I was only knitting a row a day, but at long last, it is done.

Final stats: 19 skeins consumed, 2 skeins left in stash. 10 skeins out of my stash, but 2 back in.  But it is done, the ends are woven in, and other than feeling a little wide on my shoulders, it fits. That may be how the fit is designed from what I am seeing on line, so if I wear the right tee-shirt under it, it is the perfect warm and cozy cardi for those cold New England evenings.  I have not blocked yet, but I do love it, and at least in the lighting in my house, I cannot tell there are 3 different dye lots involved. Here is a pre-blocking pic, and if I can take it off long enough, I will block it and post an update.

With all the good finishing mojo I am feeling, I also finished up one of my longtime UFOs--the little (blue) burgandy sweater!  I have been slowly attacking the seams for a few weeks now, and I added the neck ribbing this afternoon while I had my #9 needles out from the RCC.  That means 1 of 6 sweaters completed towards the annual goal, and 1 of 4 UFOs completed towards my new years knitting resolutions.

I am craving a fast and easy project next.  I am debating between starting the Umaro afgan, or a quick pair of plain socks. Umaro should fly pretty quickly if I use 2 strands of Cascade EcoWool and size 15 needles, so I am leaning heavily that way.  Plus it would mean 2 big skeins out of stash :) Although there is the slim chance I may need one more...Maybe I can finish during tomorrow's season finale of my new obsession, "Downton Abbey".

I also still have my lace stockings from the teal Camino Alpaca on the needles.  I can't seem to get a lace kneesock out of 400 yards, which confounds me to no end, so I am deliberating trying to buy more vs. altering the pattern vs. (gasp!) ripping out the first sock and finding a new pattern.  Since I bought this in Germany and have not found it sold in the US yet, I am leaning toward the latter.  I am also considering just accepting they are mid-to-high calf socks that are not quite knee socks.  Perhaps they could be worn with a long garter?? While I deliberate this, I will try to whip out a quick Umaro.