Saturday, July 25, 2009

Update on Vivian

My working notes for Vivian. See the messy section at the top right hand part of the page? My habit is to keep a running list of "next row" to be knit. In other words, at the end of row 89, I cross that number out and note that 90 is the next row to work. I learned this habit from weaving. If the phone rings or a child needs you in the middle of a sequence, it's a good idea to note where you were, so that you can pick up your work hours, or days, later and get back to work.

As you can see from the picture above, there's a lot of note taking going on. Instead of seeing this as a highly efficient system, please recognize that the amount of apparent organization is in direct relation to my need to be organized, or I would be making many more mistakes than I am. Instead of rifling through several pages of pattern for different cable sections, I copied them all, cut them out, taped them onto the front and back of one page, and copied that. And then I wrote the main two lines of the pattern out at the bottom, so that I can follow the wrong side in order from right to left and the right side from left to right. And I color-coded the left and right cables. And wrote myself a reminder that left-hand cables hold two stitches to the front and right to the back. This is counter-intuitive for me: for some reason, my brain wants the right-leaning cable to have stitches held to the front. (An interesting psychological question. Perhaps because I'm right-handed and front seems more important than back....?)

This pattern is wonderfully engineered. You work the fronts and back at the same time on one long cable needle, and each row consists of a series of modular sections: cables, seed stitch, and purled areas. In most cases, the cabling on all of these individual units happens on the same row. So, in addition to my "next row" list, I have a section that tells me the next row to watch for where all of the left and right cabling happens. In between, you get about 6 rows of working the stitches as they appear. Very efficient and fairly easy to keep track of, especially if I write myself these reminder notes.

And I am persevering, after putting the sweater aside for a month or two. I've even taught myself to unweave a giant section, many rows long, to correct a cable twisting in the wrong direction.

I would not advise unweaving this many rows. On the other hand, today, when I reworked two misshapen cables that I discovered only a few rows after the error, piece of cake to correct them.
Here's where I am so far on the body of the sweater: This is a bench on my back porch. So old that it is beginning to decay. But after the chair in my bedroom, this is my favorite place for knitting. I come out for a bit each morning, work on Vivian or my Fiddlehead mittens (yeah for colorwork!), drink my coffee, and listen to the hawks that have moved into the neighborhood and the other birds in the yards around me.




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