Over winter break, I picked up 25 balls of Jamieson & Smith's Shetland Jumperweight at Weaving Works. I swatched on the 30th, washed and pinned it out on a little piece of cardboard from the garage. (I got gauge, 32 st./4 in. and 33 rows/4 in. ! Yaaay.) I also found a mistake in the color chart. See, swatching is good for you, right up there with lima beans and dental surgery!
If you look at the third row of pattern, you'll notice that there is an X pattern and a little Pac-man trying to eat each X, but this is not what the pattern looks like in the book. There should be one more cream stitch in the middle, making Pac-Man into a boring old oval.
But wow, this yarn. The colors are surprising and beautiful, jewel-like in appearance and deeply textured. Some of the colors are not pure, but heathered or tweedy: the dark purple has undertones of bright green; the light gray has long, thin strands of black running throughout. The yarn is very grabby, so it blends together well and creates a dense, yet light fabric with incredible stitch definition.
I cast on and started knitting on New Years' Eve, did a few rows New Years' Day, and started in on the main body pattern yesterday. I worked for about 6 hours yesterday and another 6 today. I plan to knit for as long as I can stand tonight. I am hoping to finish all 3 repeats of the 8-section Peerie pattern by next Thursday or Friday, but I expect it to be the most time-consuming part of the sweater. Well, besides the period of recovery after biting my fingers off, throwing a temper tantrum, heavily medicating myself with caffeine of various types, and finally cutting the steek so that I can pick up and knit the button band.
This is my progress as of midnight last night. After watching several angst-filled episodes of My So-Called Life (Dear Claire Danes, why are you so awesome?), knitting for a few hours this afternoon with my yarn-store buddies, and knitting on my roommate Emily's bed, I have finished this much:
Every single 323-stitch row takes forever. I'm hoping that after finishing every different pattern once, it will be easier the second time. At this rate, I will be knitting until I die.
.....well. I will be knitting this specific sweater until I die.
Problems encountered so far:
Color changes. They leave looseness or a big ugly hole. Last night, I went to bed discouraged, thinking that I couldn't change their placement - but oh hey, I totally can! All I have to do is change in the middle of the steek instead of the beginning of the round. That way, the ugly looseness will be in the middle of the steek, which will be conveniently cut in a few weeks.
See the distorted white stitch on the left? This is where the color change was last night. Now, it is in the middle. The stitches to both sides of the color change are similarly sloppy - but completely unseen in the final garment, unlike the previous placement.
More tomorrow. Hopefully, I will be reading Alice Starmore's book on Fair Isle, as well as Anne Feitelson's incredible resource book, The Art Of Fair Isle Knitting. I'm sure Elizabeth Zimmerman (as usual) will have something to say in the matter, and Eunny Jang's guide to steeks is both fascinating and incredibly informative.