I really thought I would be wearing this sweater to a party tonight, but totally underestimated the finishing time. On Tuesday the three main pieces were complete, and I thought a couple evening's knitting would bring it all home. Silly me. I had left everything on waste yarn (instead of binding off) to check the fit and proportions, and it took two whole episodes of "Slings and Arrows" to bind off the peplum. The back band took me through "Law and Order." On Thursday, my knitting time was short because of my weekly Voces Angelorum rehearsal. I finished the back band and started the button band, which brings us what you see in the photos. The top photo is closer to the real color, but the lower one shows the cable detail better. I found these buttons last week and really like them, even though they weren't what I had in mind. Silver buttons, which I thought would be my choice, looked too yellow next to the sweater, which is really silver and black. These buttons have a medieval or Viking look that appeals to me. This sweater began with the idea that I wanted to knit some "armor." The real progress has been in finding the perfect name for this project. Vogue called it "Silver Belle" and I thought of it as just "The Belle," but now I've changed my mind. It is "La Belle Dame sans Merci" which hath me in thrall.
Every project is a learning opportunity, and the Belle has been the equivalent of a 4 hour course plus labs! There have been the obvious lessons of learning how to work cables and trinity stitch, but a few more subtle ones, too. Here are they are (so far): - Read the pattern one more time than you think is necessary (learned from reversing the left and right edging bands) - Pay attention to the cable crosses (learned from tinking back several rows several times) - Check Ravelry and Google to see what other people have learned while making the same pattern - Use small hair clips (butterfly clips) to hold pieces togehter while you try them on (actually, I learned this one a while ago), and - Do not bind off pieces while you are working on other pieces! Instead , put the live stitches on waste yarn and assemble everything with those little clips so you can try on before you bind off! I learned this after I bound off the peplum and realized later that it was too short. I'm sure I'll learn several more things before this is over, but with the peplum (now lengthened) and one sleeve/bodice complete the end is in sight!
Over the weekend I took time off from knitting to make this little item! A gym friend and fellow baroque music fan gave me the tile last fall, and I knew it should be a hot pad. There are always plenty of wine corks around, so I trimmed some of them so the tile would be flush with the frame and glued everything together. Cute, no? It was a beautiful 70 degree weekend so I worked outside, too, pruning roses and grape vines and planting petunias in window boxes.
The Belle continues to be the focus of my knitting activity, and it continues to be amusing and diverting. Making sure those cables cross the right way keeps my attention, and the sleeve rows are so short that there is always time for one more. I thought the first sleeve was long enough and had cast on for the bodice, but decided after a few inches that the sleeve needed to be longer (or the bodice would be too wide) and ripped back and added 12 more rows. I also decided to make the bodice longer, based on Ravelry comments and a hard assessment of my own "bodice." I'll probably go back and add another inch to the peplum to balance the additional bodice length, but I have plenty of yarn, so there is no problem. There is a race with the calendar, though, to wear it this year. I took a Belle break a few weeks ago and made the Bow Knot Scarf for DD2, to protect her from the icy gales off Long Island Sound. It took a few hours and was lots of fun. This one was made with stash yarn, but I'm tempted to buy some super-soft merino to make another one. After a futile search for a runner that's narrow enough for this cabinet, I visited the sale corner of the local upholstery shop and bought fabric. It took longer than I anticipated, but I think the finished product works, and it was finished in time for Saturday's dinner party!
Well, work is heating up and my knitting and blogging will probably suffer, but I'll check in from time to time.