Saturday, August 4, 2012


About 15 years ago when I was very new to knitting, I knitted my third sweater - Inishmore from Fishermen's Sweaters by Alice Starmore.  That was the time before I understood what gauge, reading sizes, and blocking  meant.

I knitted size medium thinking that was the size I always bought when cloth shopping.  I didn't even know what my measurements really were, so those numbers given in the pattern meant nothing to me. The good o' days when my sizes and my weight didn't mean anything to me.

Along with other beginner knitters' problems including never made swatch, I never even thought of measureing the knitted pieces in progress to check size.  Well, it came out way, way, way too big.  After knitting it, I still didn't measure it, and just put it away. Not long after that I moved away to DC then back to West Coast 4 years later. For 10 years I didn't knit a single stitch.  My Inishmore sat in a bag and in my parents' garage.

I brought it back home few years ago and vowed to redo it.

Yesterday I finally decided to get on it.  The yarn used was Brown Sheep Superwash.  It was very tough to unravel.  Even though the label reads 100% wool, I suspected there may be some mohair in it to make it very sticky.  First it was such chore to undo the seam when ends were already woven in and and cut.  Then after the pieces were taken apart, I wound them into cakes.  That took a long, long, time because of the super sticky yarn.  Total 4 hours it took me to do the above.  Fortunately the re-skein part went fast.  And I soaked the skeins in hot water, then hung them to dry by weighting down with cans in plastic bags.  I had total about 18 skeins so that made up to be ~1750 - 1800 yards of yarn.

(From left to right: Doc,Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, & Dopey.)

Now I just have to decide whether I'll reknit Inishmore with lots of modifications since its smallest size is still bigger than I want, or if I should use the yarn for something else.

One thing at least I can comfort myself with all the work was that after 15 years, thankfully I have not grown into the size of the sweater, it was still too big.

I also felt I was getting to know my old self when undoing the seams. I noticed my seaming skill had not changed much.  I realized I'd been more patient than I thought I was, and I wasn't that bad of a knitter if I don't count the basics of swatching and reading pattern size information as skill set. I was reading my old decisions during the process.  It was an interesting experience.  When so much of my self-image is a construct of my own mind, it almost felt a bit more like a historian sifting through artifacts to reconstruct the real story.

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