Sometimes a sweater has about a dozen different moments where you go, “Finished!” My Eastwind Jacket (Emily Foden’s design from her book Knits about Winter) has provided me with all sorts of finishings, with a few more to go.
The unusual construction is what drew me to this design in the first place. A top-down, in-the-round sweater it is not.
Finishing the four pieces was one moment of glory.
Blocking the four pieces of supercurly stockinette was another. (Redemptive Power of Blocking, Chapter 201!)
Sewing the four pieces together was the next.
Then I moved on to the knitting of the pocket linings, an adventure that led me to knit one using the specified needle (two sizes smaller than the needle used for the body), and soon wondering about that.
It quickly became apparent that this pocket was going to be far too wee to fit the opening which had the same 26 stitches but was worked with a needle two sizes larger. See? So little!
I ripped it out and redid it with the same size needle as the rest of the jacket. Done!
I Kitchenered the top of the pocket lining to the provisionally cast-on stitches at the top of the pocket opening. Done! (I am getting better at Kitchener. Fifteen years later . . .)
I stitched down the side edges of the lining. Done!
Then I had to make the other pocket. It went faster because I had to knit it only once. Done!
The winsome curling of the pocket edge is the sort of design feature that makes my day. Please notice my contrasting pocket lining, it says. When I pull out an acorn I have stashed in this pocket, you’ll notice that somebody fetchingly Kitchenered the heck out of it.
Then came the knitting of the button bands. This fascinating feature is yet to be fully clear to me. One button band is 8 rows wide; the other is 16 rows wide. This is unprecedented in my knitting experience. I can’t wait to see what that whole thing is about. Of course, I dutifully knitted it exactly as written because I figured hey—make a plan, work the plan.
The button bands were so wildly curly that I had to block the whole sweater a second time in order to get at least a little behavior out of the button bands. I mean: I love a curl of stockinette (see above pocket edge), but these tight little tubes were amazing. You could slurp a milkshake through them.
This was not a chore, mind you. I find blocking to be one of the most soothing, meditative parts of knitting.
Overlap! Blocking overlapping button bands is one of those things you never anticipate having to do. Eight stitches wide on the left, 16 stitches wide on the right (half of which are underneath the other button band).
The blocked button bands retain their curl, but in a less wacked-out way.
And then there was the weaving of ends. When you have a delicate, two-row line of contrasting color at the edges of your jacket, you have to really dig deep to weave in the ends so that the elegant edge looks good.
You’ll notice that this fairly crappy set of photos shows Emily Foden’s Viola Yarn in a variety of lights. It looks different depending on time of day, whether Kermit is blocking the sun like a feline eclipse, whether I’m sitting by the lamp with the bad fluorescent bulb. (Why does a bad bulb seem absolutely insurmountable? Why do I think I need to wait eight years until it burns out to replace it?) This to me is the glory of her yarn: there are so many shades dyed into this that it is gloriously variable. I couldn’t possibly tell you what color it is. And that’s why I’ve been knitting on this piece so ravenously.
Knitting with hand-dyed yarn always sets me to thinking about the person who made it. I went over to Viola Yarns just now to find the information about Emily’s next shop update (she runs a small operation, very small batches), and I found her post from two days ago: “Introducing a Change.” I hope you’ll take a moment to read it. The images, for one thing, are quite beautiful. And her message about the temptations of growing a business, the challenge of wanting to work hard without wearing out, making the most of every opportunity that presents itself—this is the sort of thing that everyone running a creative business thinks about. When do you hit the accelerator? When do you slow down? Such food for thought.