Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Finishing Things Part 2

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Following on from yesterday's blog about my finished things, I thought I definitely needed you to see what Tracey has been working on for the past 2 months. This has been a commission for a customer and rapidly turned into the commission from hell. It came from this magazine:

and is the fairisle jacket, similar to the sweater on the cover. Now Tracey loves doing fairisle (mad fool) [and let's not forget this is the knitter who can't do socks on 4 needles!] so it was the perfect commission for her - ha, ha!

It started to go wrong fairly quickly after checking the pattern and realising that this fairisle didn't follow the normal "rules" of fairisle, in that there were virtually no places where the alternate colour could be run up the side of the knitting. Ergo there were going to be millions and millions of ends. Tracey was very clever and worked out the stitches for knitting in the round up to the armholes (thereby removing at least a few hundred ends and the bulkiness in the body that would, inevitably, be the result of all those ends).

So, that solved that problem - except the pattern is such that the side pieces don't match (as in conventional fairisle) and also wouldn't match with Tracey's "in the round" version. We (when I say, "we" throughout, please take it as the royal "we") fiddled and charted and, eventually, sorted it in such a way that the patterns don't match along what would be the side seams but, we figured, no-one would notice. And so she set sail - beautifully:

And then we discovered that, either as a result of the way she'd changed the pattern to knit it in the round (unlikely, in my opinion) or as the result of a pattern error (much more likely, in my opinion) the sleeves didn't fit! Tracey spent one Sunday putting the sleeve in and taking it out 9 times. By Monday morning she was almost in tears (perhaps I should point out here that she had spent, by this point, about 170 hours in this project, which was - by now - referred to as the f*****g fairisle). We looked at it logically, pinned it, fiddled with it, swore and fiddled some more and, in the end, she took the top of the sleeve back and added in an extra 4 rows - it then fitted the sleeve opening perfectly. (Despite the pleasure this brought it was also accompanied by more swearing.)

And then there were the ends. This, my friends, is one pocket:

And this - because I know you want to see it - is the back of said pocket:

This is the inside of one sleeve:

and this is the sleeve plus upper body (can you imagine what it would have been like is she hadn't knitted the body in the round - lie down and breath gently for a few minutes at the very thought):

At about the point of the sleeve fiasco we emailed Debbie Bliss for advice and we also mentioned the ends. She said that ends are all part of fairisle knitting and she puts aside half a day to do them. HALF A DAY. HALF A DAY? Try 4 days and you'd be about there.

In the end, of course, it was incredibly beautiful:

Pockets fitted to perfection (off kilter as per the pattern [ off kilter gives Tracey a nervous twitch]):

and with impeccable tension:

So - if you're having a glass of something nice in the next few days, raise a toast to Tracey - she deserves it!

(She, incidentally, is still lying down in a darkened room cuddling her bottle of vodka - where she's been since she finished it on Sunday. We think she should be emerging on about Thursday - I hope so, anyway, as she's supposed to be here in the shop.)

PS: Forgot to mention - at around the sleeves-not-fitting part of the whole thing, we checked out Designer Yarns website for guidance. Turned out there was an ERROR in the chart. Tracey turned very pale. Too late to go back.

PPS: Did I mention that, in one part of the chart, you read the knit rows from L to R and the purl rows from R to L - total opposite of normal - just to f**k you up completely!

PPPS: If you do knit this, be warned, the yarn quantities are somewhat adrift. Too much of some colours (yellow), not enough of others (teal and beige).

PPPPS: Customer collected it today. Didn't even stop to select buttons. Has absolutely no idea of the nervous breakdowns this has (almost) caused.

PPPPS: If you want one knitting, the answer's "No".

1 comment:

  1. Oh poor Tracey! How could they ever do that to you! Keep hold of that bottle of vodka.

    If it was a commission, the money won't have been worth the breakdown. And off-kilter pockets were part of the design? There ought to be a law against that. I would not have done them that way even on penalty of death. Julia, go and soothe Tracey's brow, she'll need some TLC after this adventure.

    It is beautifully executed though; a real master of the art of stranded knitting/fair isle!