Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's Finished!

After two years, one frogging, and about 3 months of hibernation, it's finally here.  The Venezia Sweater:
There it is blocking in our guest bedroom over the weekend.  I haven't had a good opportunity to get some "action" pictures yet, but I did wear it to work on Tuesday and it got a lot of positive attention.  Most people couldn't believe that it came from my own handiwork and not a knitting machine in China!  But because I'm a photo slacker and I didn't want to keep you waiting too long, today's post will be more about the process and my mods.

I'm sure you all remember the devastation that accompanied last winter's realization that Venezia Version 1.0 didn't fit me.  I was heartbroken, but the thing was just too tight and too short.  It would have made me even sadder to have a beautiful, but ill-fitting FO sitting in my closet.  So I ripped it out.  I tore apart ~9 months of knitted labor and nearly cried.  I think that was the only frogging experience I did not enjoy, but I was determined to master this pattern.

My first step was to put it away for nearly a year.  I couldn't bear to look at it.  Then I started to think about color schemes.  The first was all over the place and I wanted something that looked not quite "uniform," but like it all "went" together, if you know what I mean.  I combed through my (then) extensive Palette stash until I found the right combination: all blues!  The finished color scheme includes Navy, Blue Note, Blue, Whirlpool, Sky, Cream, Oyster Heather, and Mist.  You can see them all more clearly in the close up picture:
I'm VERY pleased with this outcome--I've been seeing a lot of people do Venezia in just two colors and this is kind of like that, but with many shades of blue.  And I love blue :)

The next thing I had to do was completely alter the patter to suit my needs.  I went up both a pattern size (36) and a needle size (I knit colorwork very tightly), so that the stranded section was on a size 3.  Mods to the pattern include increasing both sides of the waist shaping by one inch--MUCH more difficult when you have to match the pattern exactly with the sleeves.  I ended up having to do a lot of calculating and row counting, but I managed to make them line up perfectly. 

I also used Garnboet's V-neck modification and knit both the yoke and the shoulder decreases at the same time.  I would never have thought to do this until I knit the Myrtle Cardigan.  Basically, I knit both the torso and the sleeves to the armpit, put the armpit stitches for both sides on holders, case on one "seam" stitch at each join, and then followed the instructions for all the armhole and shoulder decreases--together with the v-neck mod, of course.  It was a lot of counting and a lot to keep track of.

I would write my own sort of pattern/mod for the one piece shoulder decreases, but I was kind of winging it towards the end to decrease all of the arm stitches away.  Maybe if I review all my notes (and the make sense) and I'm feeling overly ambitious one night, I might write out my instructions, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

Certainly not for the faint of heart.  But look how pretty it came out!  Oh, worth it.  Totally worth the years (!) of frustration and countless hours of knitting, calculations, and weaving in the ends.  I almost forgot about the ends.  It really was so bad I almost blocked it out of my memory.  But can you blame me:

To give you an idea of size, when I wadded this sucker up tightly, it was about the size of a softball.  This is 3 nights' worth of weaving in ends.   A less determined knitter could not have persevered through this sweater.  I really hate everything to do with "finishing" processes, but I wanted the final product so badly that I pushed through and now have what I'm sure will become my new favorite sweater. 

I would say that I will never do anything like this again, but c'mon, this is me we're talking about.  What fun is a pattern if it's not outrageously complicated and/or difficult?

I will update with more pictures soon!

Also, next time I should have those Crafty Pay it Forward gifts to show you.  I'm on the second half of the last one...



1 comment:

선미 (Sunmi) said...

HUZZAH!! Holy cupcakes, Allie, that sweater is finally finished! And it's beautiful (of course, it had better be). :)