Posted on Posted in book reviews/events, projects

i finished the two sleeves by 3pm today—look how dark it is outside already at that time. this is the period here in ohio when nightfall seems to begin at lunch.
plus, um, as you can see we are having a real winter storm here. a half hour before these pictures were shot the ground was completely bare.

i think we should coin a special knitter’s phrase for when something seems to take forever—one that makes each of us nod with sage understanding when the speaker says this is taking a freakin’ sleeve age.

i dunno about you, but much as i love working the sleeves of any garment, with their cool shaping and jump-start action, they are deceiving. they can get to be a real chore, once they reach That Size Around, and this point often comes long before they are nearly the right length, thus relegating one to Sleeve Island for the duration.

and in a man’s sweater, the right sleeve length is just about 4 to 6 inches longer than i have patience for, especially on the second one.

so my strategy has always been to do the sleeves first whenever possible (and see how entertaining they are as photo subjects?). that’s just me; for some reason it makes the whole sweater go a lot faster if, at the end of the neck (or the hem if i am working top-down), i know i am done.

i know you must be thinking, gee those sleeves look awfully skinny for big hunky david; what the heck is she doing, and on a deadline, too?
and you’d be right . . they look ridiculous here. and yes, they make me nervous. so much so that i almost want to soak them in water right now so the ribbing will relax out and they will be their proper size (not that i’m sure that will make me feel more confident).

i mean the sleeve looks ok on my arm, which is admittedly, much skinnier than david’s, but you can see the ribs aren’t really stretched at all here

and after all, that’s what swatches are for. i’ve been fondling at the swatches for reassurance every few minutes, i can tell you. see here—you can see for yourself that the fabric is much flatter after soaking

the ribbed fabric actually spreads to about twice it’s width after being washed. i’m going to trust it. we’ve ALL had that ribbed sweater that grew 3 sizes once we washed it, and i don’t want this one to join the ranks of those.

while we’re looking at the swatches, i can tell you that i am going for the gauge in the center swatch, which was knit on size 6 needles in back and forth rows. to do that, i am using size 7 needles and working in the round on the actual sweater (i did do a circular swatch the 7s, but not til i realized i needed one, so it didn’t get into the photo).

so let’s talk about this yummi-liscious yarn, eh?
i’m totally tongue-tied—no, almost speechless-in-love with this stuff for this sweater—so bear with me . . . i may get gushy and repetitive.

the yarn that chris sent is so perfect for THIS project that it’s a little scary (esp when i think about how its big brother yarn was SO perfect for the totally autumn throw).

this a new yarn that will be offered in her online store soon, called charity. it’s a squishy light worsted weight of 100% corriedale that obviously takes color really well. the fabric it knits into is sturdy-feeling and i’m sure it is going to wear like iron without pilling—which is good because, as you saw, david tends to love his sweaters to pieces. literally.

and even though it’s sturdy, it is supple and soft, especially after washing. it offers incredible stitch definition, even tension, and is a complete pleasure to knit with.
it runs through my fingers without prickling and glides easily along the needles without feeling slippery or catchy . . . it’s just right. i’ve had to use both wood DPNs and my addi turbos with it so far and it works a treat on either.

we’ll be sure to let you know when you can get some.

in other news, i finished the second marie antoinette sock, so another gift is done.

it’s drying near the heat vent as i write. that means i can start a new mitts and hat set that i’m dying to work on. or, i can finish the second lady cardigan sock for another gift. or the second snow on cedars cream version.

for those that are wondering, i understand that it is ok to use projects that were begun before the gift knitting war was officially announced, as long as they are fairly recent and were intended to be gifts for christmas. newly-invented projects are also eligible (DO correct me if i’m wrong, though).

you might remember that i had a a fairly good list of second socks and mitts that i figured i would finish off for gifts (if you don’t remember, click and take a look). and, as predicted, i have thought of a couple of people who needed to be added to the list, so hopefully, they will all be covered.

the end date has been announced as dec 31, 2007, and you can read more about it all at the war blog. i won’t be referring too often to it, as i am most concerned right now with just knitting as much as i can to get the gifts done—i do NOT have backup gifts as i do not shop (ever, if possible; i just hate stores).
if someone beats me, it’s ok—it’s all for a good cause.

the light is just terrible throughout the whole day, but especially after noon. it would be depressing if i didn’t have this all-consuming list to finish. so, i’m grateful for something to bury my head in right now. and the snow is pretty.

ok, enough chatter . . . time for me to get back on the horse and start the sweater body. i am very much looking forward to leaving ribbed fabric behind and embracing the mostly-stockinette portion of the sweater—my left forearm aches a bit from all the ribbing i’ve been taking.

39 thoughts on “sleeve-henge

  1. Hopefully your snow will stay snow…ours us supposed to turn to uce overnight as temps go up and then back to snow about halftime tomorrow…such loverly Pittsburgh weather. Not. I’m always intrigued with good photography…and the sleeves are! I Love corriedale…spinning it and knitting with it. Am anxious to see the yarn when Chris has it ready!

  2. The color is awesome, I can’t wait to see it all done. And I’m starting to get jealous of all the Marie Antoinette socks I’ve been reading about and seeing pictures of. I may have to make the jump and make some for myself in 2008. (notice I’m giving myself a huge time window!)

    If you get tired of the snow, send it to Frisco, TX…I’d love for my last Christmas here to be a white one!!

  3. Oh, Anne, that’s such a beautiful scene! The colour of the sleeves is absolutely gorgeous, and with that snow… We’re currently sitting in air conditioning because it’s so hot! I’d love to have a snowy Christmas one day.

  4. I’m cheering you on! That yarn is gorgeous, sleeves can be the black hole of knitting ;)! We’ve been getting snow all day long here, and we got some last night as well. We’re pretty much buried in it. I can pretty much safely say it’s going to be a white Christmas here!

  5. Hmmm… the way you talk about this yarn makes me look longingly at the Corriedale I have around, patiently waiting for me to find some time to go back to spinning… I’m sure you can guess what I’ll be doing when I’ll finally receive the new spindle and the spinning wheel (an early birthday and Christmas present to myself!) that are coming my way!

  6. It looks wonderful! I’m glad my husband doesn’t read knit blogs – especially yours! He just said today, “Hmmm, I wish *I* had a nice hand-knit sweater.” (I said, “Yeah, ME TOO” because I have yet to finish one!)

  7. Despite all your ribbing and ‘riting, I see by your last paragraph that you still have your sense of humor!
    Happy storm, happy knitting!

  8. Wow!!! Cool snow pictures!!! Love the sleeve-henge! hahaha. That’s great… I think that color is gonna look great on Mr. David.

  9. Sleeve Henge. I love it. The yarn looks like it will be the sort of comforting sweater one loves to wear in winter. I am going to have to caston my Marie Antoinettes tonight – I have gift knitting to finish, but with ten days to go, I can no longer refrain myself from starting the kit you and Kim made! Merry knitting – I’ll be following your war!

  10. I agree, sleeves do take sooooo long. They look great in the photo. It is a great colour. Can’t wait to see it finished. Good luck with the gift knitting.

  11. the yarn is beautiful and i’d love to try it. can’t wait till it’s available to the public. your work is always beautiful and i love to read your blog. I’m new to your page so i wanted to stop and say hello, and i’m looking forward to knitting the bee socks.

  12. Question for the expert 🙂
    I received my kit and am beginning Marie Antoinette. Can you describe for me what and how to do the backward loop cast on method for the co2?

  13. Wonderful, wonderful yarn ! And the color is just perfect too ! I’m working on some sleeves too, and yes they DO seem to take forever 🙂
    I love seeing snow pictures, something we don’t see here too often in winters sadly.

  14. That is the most gorgeous red—I’m skittish about reds in general but I’d take that one in a second. It’s almost enough to make me want to knit a sweater. Or maybe finish the one that I got discouraged with when I got to, you guessed it, the sleeves.

    The snow looks pretty, too!

  15. the color of that yarn is fabulous –
    and inquiring minds want to know…. did you really stuff those arms with snow to make them stand up ?? hee hee.
    you’re fabulous.

  16. I agree with Teyani, the colour is absolutely faboo. I wish my husband wore cranberry! Regarding the pattern, did you go with the one David marked for you, or are you whipping something up on the fly instead?

  17. The color of the new yarn is just awesome. And it looks totally squooshy. I want to reach right through the monitor and grab some up!

  18. A sleeves’s age.. that about sums the feeling up.
    I knit both at once. That is the only way I know they will be identical (I make adjustments as I go and forget to write them down). Then… when its over, its over!

  19. You clever woman, you! Sleeve Henge! It’s great! What are those wonky statue things, anyway? They’re really neat. I love Chris’s yarn. The color is so pretty. David is a lucky guy!

  20. I just call it the Black Hole. You measure your piece, you knit and knit and knit, and when you remeasure, it’s the same length! I don’t know how that happens, but it certainly does. Usually when you’re knitting against the clock.

    Beautiful color, terrific title!

  21. The yarn for the sweater looks positively edible! I’ll have to scope some out for myself for the post-holiday knitting season. Meanwhile, though, I’m slogging away on the stockinette portion of size-13 socks… It’s a Black Hole, it’s a Sleeve Age, it’s something very very long. Hope you are staying warm and snug through that storm!

  22. I love the Sleeve Henge photos. Almost looks like footless legs sticking up from the ground. Howdja do that?

    I love hand dyed reds, the variations in color just glow. That’s going to be one mighty fine sweater when you’re done, Anne.

  23. I think I see how you’re getting the sleeves to stand up… If I’m right, or even if I’m wrong, you’re pretty clever. I envy you for having a man secure enough in his masculinity to wear that color. It’s gorgeous!!

  24. Am I correct that the “statue things” are concrete lawn furniture–a table and two seats? I’ve been puzzling over them, but a light went on, maybe wrongly, when I started wondering why the sleeves seemed so very tall (long). Cool photograph, in any event!

  25. The sleeve-henge photos are fantastic!! They make perfect lawn art!
    I’m sure that ribbed sweater will be spectacular on “Hunky” David!

  26. Gorgeous looking sweater in gorgeous looking yarn. Do please, please let me know when I can get my mitts on the yarn. It sounds magnificent. ‘Course a tiny part of that might be because it is a bit on the unusually cold side around here just now. And I want a hand knit sweater. I know what I’m starting work on on Dec 26th or when I can get the yarn whichever comes second.

  27. The title of this post is great. And “it takes a Sleeve-Age” was hilarious.

    I feel your pain with the lack of light – it’s bad for the Christmas knitting posts. I’ve been having to do all kinds of hijinks with lightbulbs to get decent pictures of my finished knitting before mailing it all off.

  28. The pictures of the sleeves…is that a ‘new’ blocking technique? At first I thought maybe you had soaked them and let them freeze into those shapes and took pictures that way. 🙂

  29. Are your needles ever on fire! I find that no matter what I knit for men (and no matter what part of a sweater I start with), it seems to take forever–and use vast quantities of yarn. That yarn is gorgeous.

  30. That is what I like about ribbing – it contours to fit anyone! 🙂 Sleeves are just long and seem like they take forever – I do like the “takes a sleeves age” saying…

  31. Well, the sleeves are pretty. If you don’t finish the sweater, you could just hang them on the wall and call them art. Or Bob. Or Jack. Whatever floats your boat.

    I got roped into the Knitting Wars thing, too. I’m glad I’m not your partner. I’d be left in the dust!
    (But I *am* at 7 gifts and counting. Heh.)

  32. That sleeve would be freaking me out, too. But then, I did a ribbed sweater for myself that worried me so much, I kept ripping and making it bigger–and sure enough, I ended up with a sweater big enough for an NFL linebacker.

  33. The challenge sounds fun. Good luck on getting your projects done for Christmas and by the end of year!

    I agree, as much as I like knitting sleeves, you get to a point that takes forever. Speakng of, I should get started on some sleeves for my sweater otherwise it may never get finished!

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