First and foremost! I’d like to congratulate Sherry in Idaho who had the winning comment number (23) on my shawl give away post!* She’ll be getting the PDF right away, and the yarn through the mail.**
I was so inspired reading everyone’s first (or favorite) cable stories. Some people started logically, with something small. Some people started with something they really loved (you know, so you have a goal to work towards. I’m not ashamed to be a project knitter) I’m not sure, but the afghan square folks might have started with both a big and small project, all at the same time (sneaky!)
And a few of you started with cabled sweaters. Which strikes a cord with me, because that’s exactly what I did. My first cabled project was Rogue. Which was also my first sweater project.***
According to my ravelry project page I started it in December of 2004. This is a rouge estimate. I didn’t even join Ravelry until 2007, but I was so taken with it’s ability to track my knitting that I carefully went back through my computer photos and mental memory and entered all my old projects. Every. Single. One. Everything I’ve ever knit is on Ravelry*** (ok, so I have one entry for “dishclothes” but you get my drift)
Ahem, where was I? Oh yes, winter of 2004. My friends and I had recently found our LYS and I was SO EXCITED to move to real yarn from the plastic crap in Michaels (I remember being so frustrated in Michaels that they didn’t have more than 30% wool in any of their yarns. Even before I knew it was possible to get good yarn, I was already a wool snob) I was still scared of the internet as a place to get knitting information***** mostly because it was so overwhelming. I’d do a google search and get THOUSANDS of hits and not know where to start. But one
enabler friend had sent me the link for Rogue and I knew I had to knit it. I’d never made a sweater, and I’d never worked cables, and I’d never downloaded a pattern before. But who cares!
I think I got very lucky. Rogue is 19 pages long and contains extremely good details on how to do everything. After reviewing the pattern and picking my size I went to the store and picked out enough brown sheep lamb’s pride to knit myself a sweater. And I dove in. This sweater took me MONTHS to finish. At that point I was only working one project at a time, and it still took months. I went on a school wildlife/birding trip that involved driving from southern Georgia to the keys in Florida and back to Georgia – this was the only knitting I took with me. And it still took months.
I must’ve ripped the bottom 4 inches three or four times. I remember twisting the join at least once. I also struggled with the twisted stitch hem being too tight. I had read that I could have mirror image cables if I reversed the chart – so on my first attempt I worked the cables on one side following the chart from right to left, and on the other side following the chart from left to right. (Turns out that’s not how you reverse cables, but I didn’t know because it was my first cable project)
But by the time I got to the kangaroo pocket (which is knit first) I was ready to start experimenting. I put mirrored cables on the edges of the pocket. By the time I got to the neck I was able to get the cables worked on the wrong side of the left edge of the hood correct on the first try.
Don’t get me wrong, this sweater is full of mistakes. I was wrapping my purls incorrectly on the kangaroo pocket, so half the stitches are twisted. I had NO IDEA how to graft in pattern at the top of the hood. The seams on the undersides of the sleeves are smoodgy at best (that’s the technical term) The cables I extended all the way up the sleeves gave way too much extra fabric in the shoulder cap – I could pad the shoulders and fit right into 80’s fashion.
But I love this sweater, I still have it, and still wear it. The mohair in the lamb’s pride yarn might not have been the best choice for showing off the cables. But it’s given me 6 years of constant and continual use – this sweater has been boating and camping, on planes and long car rides, soaked in nature’s miracle after a dog peed on it, and washed more often than any other sweater I own – yet the only pills are under the arms and the seams and hems look as good as they did new.
*since I have a mirror blog on LJ I assigned numbers 1-40 here first and 41 to the entry over there – in case you’re curious.
**since no one has come up with a way to send solid things electronically. Is anyone working on inventing the transporter yet!?!
***I still have a tendency to dive into something new with both feet…
****and on that note, I just cast on my 200th project yesterday.
*****is that irony? I’m always bad at that definition.