Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Plain Gray Sweater is Finished!

An interesting quote

I came across this in the expanded edition of Knitting in the Old Way, by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts and Deborah Robson. I'm not sure which of the authors is responsible for the following words. It's on the bottom of page 95.

"We can secure more reliable satisfaction by having a few possessions that satisfy our souls, instead of many disposable items that briefly assuage fleeting desires."

The first part of the paragraph is worthwhile, too:

"Hand knitting was taken for granted until 'progress' did away with the need for its regular practice. But the cost to humanity in the loss of these skills and the ability to employ them has exceeded the value of the theoretically higher standard of living. We need to work with our hands, creating objects that are unique and also enduring."

I think that applies to many, many things, not just knitting.

Speaking of soul satisfaction, here is:

The Plain Gray Sweater

Isn't it beautiful?

The borders are seed stitch. I wanted a sweater that would hang instead of cling. Blocking did indeed take care of the flipping bottom band.

The pattern is Elizabeth Zimmermann's percentage sweater with a raglan sleeve style, taken pretty much directly from Knitting Without Tears. I made the sleeves a bit bigger around, in accordance with modern tastes.

As usual, my favorite project is the one I just finished.

Here is a close-up of the knitted fabric. It's not as sharp as I would like. (My photography skills are improving, but there's a long way to go before I call myself proficient.)

You can see the bits of texture in the yarn. However, you can also see that the knitted fabric is far more even than a glimpse at the yarn would lead you to expect. The transitions between different balls of yarn are not at all visible.

The yarn color is closer to the top photo than the close-up photo. It's a medium gray color, somewhat heathery due to variations in the roving.

I took a photo of the seed stitch sleeve cuff. However, between my so-so photographic ability and the fuzziness of the yarn, it's hard to make out any interesting details.

I need to remember that the yarn is too fuzzy to show textural patterns clearly. Do not make a gansey with subtle knit-purl patterns, for example. Even seed stitch or moss stitch wouldn't look all that great. A big honking cable might work. Ribs might work if they're simple. Color patterns would show up well as long as the blocks of color are fairly large.

Today is probably going to be a doily-knitting and yarn-spinning day. I'll be doing some mental planning for my next big project. I'd like to finish one more of my in-progress projects before casting on for something new. But you never know.


fleegle said...

That's a very Japanese sentiment. Plain and elegant are far more interesting than flash. You'll get a lot of use out of that sweater. And it would go so well with a tutu!

The Doily Underground said...

Plain is underrated.

Oh, yes, I definitely need a tutu for this! And then, some of those chunky legwarmers! And an earflap hat with I-cord squiggles! Would a frou-frou muppet-fur scarf be too much, or would it complete the ensemble?

That's the nice thing about a plain gray sweater. It goes well with everything!

Deborah said...

It could have been either of us by philosophy, that's for sure, but those words are Priscilla's. Most of the book is Priscilla; I just contributed enough over the three years we were working on the expanded version that Priscilla said, "Your name should go on the cover, too." So there it is.

We both have Japanese-influenced aesthetic and practical ideas.

You'll love that sweater. Simple (a word I'd use instead of "plain"), handspun, lovely. I *still* wear a sweater made of some of my earliest handspun . . . although it's not the first sweater I knitted from that yarn. About 10 years after #1, I ripped and re-knitted (with punting when I ran out of yarn for style #2).

Wear your terrific sweater in good health. Great timing for completion. The temps are dropping!

OneEar said...

I was not aware that there was such a thing as a doily underground. This frightens me.

Marie said...

The sweater looks so cozy that I wish I could touch it! Is it slightly a-line?

The Doily Underground said...

Thank you, Deborah, for clarifying that! I'll mention it in my next blog post.

Yes, OneEar, you should be frightened. Very, very frightened... (have you seen 0000 steel dpn's or a circular needle with a long, strong cord?)

Marie, the sweater is not an A-line. I'm not sure if the slight flare in the photo is due to the way I laid it out for photography, or if it's because the bottom band is seed stitch and thus slightly wider than the sweater body. I wasn't in the mood to use smaller needles or fewer stitches.