Monday, October 7, 2013

R is a skier.

The Fuzzband and I have been blessed with wonderful friends. Sometimes these friends are glorious enablers! In the summer of 2012 we were at our friends' M and R's - delicious food, fun people, croquet in the back yard, the neighbors' kids had a party and ended up playing a game that involved running around with glo-sticks. It was fabulous!

One of the outcomes of the party was that R - a dashing gentleman with the most sincere kindness you could ever hope to meet (Fuzzband and I do not think he is capable of a negative thought) - got to talking about sweaters. Now, R is an AVID cross country skier. He told me it had been his dream since for ever to have a sweater with cross country skiers on it. Really? Well, let's Ravelry it! I'll knit a sweater if he pays for the yearn. Really? Really. We did some searching on Ravelry, and found little. In the end we decided to combine the pattern from a hat with a sweater I would make from scratch. Exciting! And R got a hat out of the bargain as well: 

The pattern is by Bea Ellis Knitwear, which can be found on Ravelry, Facebook, and e-Bay. It seems they are no longer in business. I caught them at a moment when there were a couple of items up on e-Bay, and after a few messages, I managed to get in touch and actually purchase the pattern. They only sell kits, so R and M decided which colors they wanted from the beautiful Falk yarns at Dale of Norway - that's the yarn the kit uses. It was very nice of Bea Ellis to accommodate the colors I requested, and the kit arrived nice and prompt. Score! The hat was very much appreciated:

After this, I did some serious measuring, knitter's math, and figuring things out based on Ann Bud's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns:

Much tea was consumed. I ordered the yarn from my Dale of Norway purveyor of choice, - and service was cheerful, friendly, and prompt:

I don't like knitting to deadlines, and R was the perfect recipient - cheerful, grateful, excited, and always telling me to take my time. I cast on Dec. 9th. I ended up unraveling the ribbing and trying out the tubular cast-on (thank goodness I bought Nancie M. Wiseman's The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques all those years ago!) - it is cast-on love! Where has it been all my life? 

I copied the skier pattern and multiplied that until I had a ribbon on skiers. The lower band - I think of it as the snowbanks R skis over - also grows out of the ribbing. I am a little bit ridiculously proud of the back as well, and the collar is a Kitchener Stitch bind-off - again my first! I did the body in the US, and the sleeves while teaching in Germany.

I ended up finishing the sweater on August 4th, 2013. In other words it had dried from blocking, and I sewed my "handmade by Miti" tag into it. Apparently I did a marvelous job:

To add to the incredible excitement of this year has been M and R's little baby J! I had leftover yarn from daddy R's sweater, so of course a matching piece had to be produced, right? I settled on Valerie Wallis' Presto Chango which I'd also knit for another friend. I like the option of multiple panels so grandma can hold a kid without milk drool, should that be an issue. It also meant I could do two panels - duh!

Presto Chango calls for heavier weight yarn than the Falk I had, so after a bit of knitters' math, it was easy to cast on the number of stitches needed for a one year old, and do the measurements for 6 months, and with a bit of luck it will get cold enough in New England for J to actually, you know, wear it before he gets too big. I feel I have done the patterns as well s the yarn justice. Not much more I can eke out of that combo. 

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