Thursday, February 19, 2009

Plum Truffle weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I've only done the simplest of cables and lace, not so much because I was afraid to try them but because I don't normally gravitate towards sweaters with heavy cabling or intricate lace patterns. It's not really my style. But when I came across Megan Rogers' brilliant Truffle Cardigan Tutorial on Ravelry, I decided it would be a good project for learning how to do traveling and short-row cables. I was really drawn to the neo-Victorian silhouette, and on a more practical note, in the middle of winter I've often found myself wishing I were wearing a second scarf to better insulate my neck and chest. Turtlenecks are usually pretty unflattering, but a cabled turtleneck cardi is perfect!

It's not a pattern, so you make your own calculations and adjustments as you go along; it sounds scary, but I definitely feel like I've become a better knitter because of it. This tutorial was published over a year ago now, and it was high up on my Ravelry queue for almost as long (giving it frequent glances of longing in between churning out Christmas gifts...)

The yarn is discontinued Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran, which I picked up for less than half price on eBay two years ago. I was planning to make this, but fell out of love with it at some point. (I'm already thinking about making a Truffle #2, because I think it would look terrific in a lighter-color yarn.) This dark rich plum tweed (with fuschia, rust, bright purple, and emerald-green flecks) is nice too, though the wool is unevenly spun, which is irritating when the yarn gets as thin as a strand of sewing thread. I've found a knot in almost every ball, too. The cheek of Rowan, charging $16 a ball! I bet quality control issues were part of why the yarn was discontinued.

I was anticipating a fair amount of frogging and re-knitting when it came to the yoke, which requires short rows to get the cabled panel to hug your collarbone area, but I whizzed through it in four days or so. The horseshoes tend to vary in size, but I decided not to drive myself crazy counting rows and half-rows or else I'd never finish the darn thing.

I'm using a cable pattern from Vogue Stitchionary for the yoke (Horseshoe #1, page 27) and this cable from Barbara Walker’s Charted Knitting Designs for the front. I really enjoyed knitting the test swatch for the cable—this is going to sound really dorky, but watching the traveling cables emerge feels kind of magical.

My grandparents recently gave me the pick of their button collection (every time a shirt got too worn out even to donate to Goodwill, they snipped off the buttons and dropped them in a rusty old candy tin). From all the buttons I picked up from them, I found plenty of clear plastic 1 1/8” buttons for the inside buttonband (meaning that the buttons don't all have to match, so long as they're the same size). Like I said, I've been trying to work with materials already on hand whenever possible. It feels so good to be thrifty, and of course I've benefited from my grandparents' thriftiness as well. (Though come to think of it, didn't I learn how to be thrifty from them in the first place?)

By the time I finish this it will probably be too late in the winter to get much wear out of it, but it will make me happy just knowing it'll be ready to wear at the first October cold snap. And anyway, in Ireland you can wear a sweater any time of year—2008 was a pretty cold summer.

Ravelry project link here.

2 comments:

BrendanĂ³ said...

Mmmmm, plum truffle.

Wait, this doesn't look like dessert.

Or does it?

Mmmmmm, tasty woolly cardi.

Kate said...

You need to explain these crazy knitting terms. I'm assuming yoke is the neckline?