Shifting the sands

Published on Saturday May 6th, 2006

Ta-da, Hourglass sweater is done!

hourglass1.jpg    hourglass2.jpg    hourglass3.jpg    hourglass4.jpg

I had to take advantage of our passage on the San Juan ferry Sealth for the photoshoot. I had finished the sweater on Sunday in Green Lake Park, while Mr. Garter did laps around the perimeter for his daily exercise. I was so tickled that, just as I’d bound off the neckline and was trying it on to make sure it wasn’t too Flashdance, a couple of girls came over and declared that they loved my sweater. They were even more excited when they realized I’d just finished making it. Is there anything more gratifying than public appreciation of your handknits? Anyway, once I’d woven in the ends and stitched up the little armpit holes that remained after I joined the sleeves and body, I didn’t take Hourglass off for five days. That’s partly because I’d been idiotic enough not to pack another sweater for a trip to the state of Washington, and partly because I’m really pleased with the way this one came out. I steam-blocked the hems and cuffs when I got home, so there’s no more of the funky hem flare I’m sporting in these pictures. And that’s all the blocking I did – nothing more was required. So, specs:

Hourglass sweater from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts

Brooks Farms Duet (wool/mohair) in a colorway I call Passionfruit, perhaps 800 yards?

US #7 Addi circs

I followed the directions for the medium size, although my gauge with the Duet was tighter than given for the Cash Iroha in the pattern. I just did a little basic math and figured out that knitting the medium size would give me the fit I wanted. I made no modifications except to add an extra decrease on the sleeves, to work provisional cast ons, and to cast off by picking up stitches ten rows below my bind-off row and knitting them together with my live stitches (leapfrogging the resulting stitches over and off as usual), which is the method I tend to use to finish rolled necklines. Et voila! It feels good to have this sweater finally finished, since I began it before I left New York. It’s been something of a transitional piece, if you will, and fortunately the northwest weather is never quite good enough to put your lighter wool sweaters away for the season.

What to tackle next? I’ve got a Conwy sock on the needles, but that’s pretty much it, and we all know I can’t be content with only one project. The smart move would be to dust off poor Rosalind, who has a completed back and half a left front, and who will be eminently suitable for debut if the weather continues summery. If I can figure out which box she’s in, I may take a stab at reacquainting myself with the pattern tomorrow. I also want to work on my drop spindle skills over the next few weeks. Mr. Garter will be jetting off to Texas again for his new brother-in-law’s graduation, and I’ll be home with the cat for a few days alone. Nothing entertains the cat like the drop spindle. He could watch that thing for hours. And you know an idle brain is the devil’s playground – must amuse the resident feline!

One thing is certain: there must be no more stashing. Not for months. I already have enough yarn to knit for years. I don’t generally believe in strict adherence to diets of any kind, but this time there is good reason to be frugal: we are thinking of buying a house. And not just any house: a really nice house. It’s in northeast Portland and it belongs to my aunt. It’s a perfect size, perfectly kept and renovated, in a perfect neighborhood…it’s so darn perfect we’re not sure we’re actually good enough to live in it. It has a window seat. It has nifty fish-and-swimming-people tiles in the bathroom, and a tub. It has a (small) second floor. (This is kind of a big deal in 1920s Portland housing. A lot of the houses we’ve seen appear to have an upstairs, but really only have an attic.) It has a beautiful kitchen with black and white tiles on the floor. It has a back yard with a magnolia and a peanut butter tree. (The leaves smell like peanut butter if you rub them between your fingers – really!) It has a fireplace, and a guest room, and a study, and big closets, and a garage, and a spanking new roof and windows and wiring. Can we afford it? Barely. But my aunt is offering a price we might never see again for all that perfection, and we can put together the necessary downpayment. The monthly mortgage is going to be a stretch, hence the need to be a lot less free with the plastic in yarn shops. I need my metalworking cousin to devise some sort of a chastity belt for my credit card – it’s way too loose with its favors in the presence of merino. I think we’ll have decided within the next two weeks whether to go for the house or not. Gulp. Send powers of reasoning, and maybe a stiff drink in case those fail.

18 Comments to “Shifting the sands”

  1. hanne Comment Says:

    if it is a once in a lifetime offer, your aunt is giving you… BUY the house. You will never be able to knit one…

  2. megan Comment Says:

    It is absolutely lovely! Fantastic job! I love the color variations of the Duet. And what a great opportunity for a photo shoot. Just the motivation I need to finish up my hourglass!

  3. Veronique Comment Says:

    A house?! Wow. I agree with Hanne, don’t hesitate too long…
    (Oh, and I love the swirly action on the Hourglass).

  4. Stephanie Comment Says:

    Hourglass is lovely,what a great job.
    Buy the house.

  5. colleen Comment Says:

    A 1920s house?!?! My dream!! Buy, buy, buy! Restore, restore, restore!

  6. Lisa Comment Says:

    The sweater lookes great! I didn’t block mine out of the Duet either! Our striping even ended up very similar! And the little house in Portland sounds like perfection! I hope that you and Mr. Garter can take it… It sounds like it would be worth the monetary (and yarn) sacrifice! Just think – a whole HOUSE of your own!

  7. gleek Comment Says:

    the hourglass sweater is just lovely!!! i just adore how this pattern has turned out with duet. now i really wish i had bought two skeins 🙂

    the house sounds perfect!! perhaps you can dip into your 401k for it? i’ve heard that it’s possible to do for first time home buyers. i’m on a yarn diet too. just gotta suck it up and not buy! hardest thing to do in the world.

  8. minnie Comment Says:

    the sweater is perfect. and ya know, if you MUST buy yarn, try looking at thrift stores. even if they don’t have yarn, they may have sweaters that you can recycle. sometimes you can get decent sweaters for $3-4. and sock yarn doesnt’ count, lol. nor does roving (you’re MAKING your yarn, lol).

    and i agree with everyone else. BUY THE HOUSE. you may never get another chance like it again. there’s all kinds of ways to pinch and stretch the budget. set yourself a weekly allowance, and if you want something, save your allowance for it. and the sweaters will be helpful in the winter, because then you can turn the heat down and economize that way. and if i recall rightly, AC isn’t so much of an issue? i may be talking through my hat, lol.

  9. P-) Comment Says:

    1) The sweater looks absolutely lovely!!

    2) The house sounds incredible, can you afford to NOT try to get it?

  10. Jen Comment Says:

    Beautiful sweater! I’ve just been told about your site from your friend gleek in NYC. She’s sent me the most wonderful Sockapaloooza socks. I’m also in Portland, SE, and she suggested I send you a “hello”. So, hello! Feel free to write if you’d like to meet up sometime and knit.

  11. Schrodinger Comment Says:

    You look suitably chuffed with your hourglass, it looks fabulous! As for the house, what an offer, you know you would regret if if you don’t take it, but you want to be sure that you can make those dastardly payments.

  12. Stephanie Comment Says:

    Oh I hope the house works out for you it sounds great! I love the sweater. The pictures are just gorgeous! I’m liking those socks too!

  13. Katie Comment Says:

    Hourglass finished off beautifully! And seems to fit you perfectly. I agree with the others, you must get the house! You and your Hourglass are certainly perfect enough and you cannot pass by the perfect house.

  14. Mebeth Comment Says:

    Your hourglass looks great – my inspiration to finish mine is renewed!! Good luck with the house process, I know how stressful that can be.

  15. Kathy Comment Says:

    Your hourglass looks lovely – great job!
    And I agree… Buy the House!

  16. carrie m Comment Says:

    the sweater looks beautiful, great fit and wonderful choice in brooks farm.

    the house sounds perfectly delightful.

  17. Sandra Comment Says:

    your sweater came out perfectly. that brooks farms yarn really is something, isn’t it?

    man, i can’t believe i’m behind on things over at Chez Garter. My stupid Bloglines must be screwy. I”ll fix it as soon as I’m done here.

    oh, and the house? Take it.

  18. Sarah Comment Says:

    I love the sweater! I especially love the swirling action, and how there’s one big swirl that totally enhances the bustage area – awesome side effect (and unplanned, I assume). And that Brooks Farm is amazing stuff, isn’t it? They were (once again) the highlight of Maryland Sheep & Wool for me.

    Re the house – weigh your options and make the choice that’s right for you. Just remember, fixed mortgages never increase, while salaries usually do (for inflation if nothing else). So over time, the “stretch” will be less…