Monday, March 8, 2010

I can't believe it's been so long!

I totally did not intend for such a long blog silence. I've been knitting, and in fact I'm very excited. Here is the big reveal: I'm declaring 2010 the Year of Colorwork. And to kick it off, I planned to do the Cats & Mice sweater, in a waistcoat shape defined in the Elephants pattern. Both patterns are by Alice Starmore, in The Children's Collection.

I just liked the cats & mice theme, and the waistcoat shape better. Plus, I have been dying to try steeks!

Late in 2009, I researched the yarn. I wanted it fingering weight, soft, and washable (it's kids wear, after all). I chose Berocco Ultra Alpaca Fine, a fingering weight wool/alpaca/nylon blend. It's super soft. I'd used the worsted weight in a scarf and it was yummy. It came in 14 colors, and I chose 12 of them, all jewel tones with a good contribution of light and dark.

I did it up right. I charted with colored pencils. I made a swatch. I washed the swatch, and took gauge measurements.

I learned from my swatch. I decided not to vary the color of the cats, as the whitish head on a brown body just seemed odd, and the dark brown tail got a little lost in the dark green. I learned that the lightest color, which I had been planning as "tan" actually reads "oatmeal". And I learned that the charcoal colored mice on the burgundy background do not get lost but actually look pretty good.

Then I declared it to be my knitting Olympics project, just to get to cast on already! Okay, I never intended to finish it during the Olympics. But for the duration of the games, this would be my #1 project. Certain household tasks could be put off for working on this. I wanted a real start on the project by the end of the games. I first aimed to get to the armholes. Then (when I had setbacks) turned it back to finishing one complete repeat.

I decided on a corrugated ribbing edge, and I started. I'm now just a few rows shy of that one complete repeat, but it feels good.

I know I've got some unfinished business (ahem, blogiversary prizes) and I'll get to them soon. But I finally took a photo of my swatch with my camera phone and finally got it uploaded. Still struggling with the new camera, although "struggling" isn't accurate so much as "ignoring the fact that I haven't figured out how to get the pictures off". But some recent events that I took pictures of should get me to put it at the top of my list soon.

Happy Year of Colorwork!