Saturday, February 15, 2014

More Secret Knitting

I spent the last two weeks knitting like crazy, but didn't want to let on because I was making a secret Valentine for my sweetie!

I've had a bunch of burgundy Valley Yarns Northampton in my stash for a year or so, left over from my Allegheny dress.  I'd been planning to use it to make Hubby a sweater but hadn't gotten around to starting it.

Then, a few weeks ago, he was wearing the charcoal grey Seamless Hybrid with Shirt Yoke (Elizabeth Zimmermann) that I made him several years ago.  And he said to me, "Where's my burgundy sweater?  Don't I have a burgundy sweater like this?"

Now, I hadn't told him that I was planning on making him a burgundy sweater, but when he said that, I decided to get on with it, and set myself the goal of finishing it by Valentine's Day.  I wasn't sure I could finish it in time, but with a couple hours of knitting each day while he was at work, I managed to get it done.

 
I finished it on Wednesday, which was a good thing as for once I did a wet-block and needed the extra time for it to dry.  Because of my fast and furious knitting, my tension wasn't as nicely even as it could be, so I knew that my normal steaming wouldn't even things out enough.  Because I hate shifting a huge mass of wet knitting around, I blocked it in my front-loading washing machine, using the 30-minute cold water pre-soak cycle.  Once that cycle finished, I turned the machine off, then turned it back on and did a drain and spin on the lowest spin speed.  It took about a half hour for it to spin out, but once it was done the sweater was barely damp - much more water had been extruded than if I'd dried it with towels.


I really love this EZ design.  It's a combination of a raglan and a saddle-shoulder sweater, with the saddle continuing across the upper back to create a yoke.  The body and sleeves are knit in the round, bottom up, then joined at the under arm.  At that point it's a LOT of knitting on the needles, but the decreases are fairly rapid, and once you get to the saddles it's very quick.


When I picked up my neck band stitches, I purled the first row before starting the ribbing, just because I like the way it looks.


The paired decreases for the raglan on this sweater were done with a knit stitch in between, but on his first sweater I did a *slip, knit 2 together, pass the slipped stitch over* double decrease, to create a more dramatic line at the raglan.  I like both looks.

We don't normally exchange gifts on Valentine's Day, so Hubby was really surprised when he got home and found a present waiting for him.  When he opened it and saw his new sweater, he was so pleased that he put it on immediately!  Which made me really glad I'd spent the last two weeks knitting like a crazy woman.


Making anything for my honey is a high-yield activity.  He wears the things I make him far more than I wear the things I make myself.  I should probably make him more stuff . . .

38 comments:

  1. Just lovely! And I can't believe you wet blocked. What's the world coming to?? My machine can't do that kind of fanciness and, to be honest, I'd be afraid to spin. I'm very old-school with the towels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! It's like the apocolypse or something, LOL! Just proving I have an open mind ;-)

      I really think that the slow spin was gentler on the fabric than I would have been with the towels. Plus, it's always better if I can get a machine to do my work for me.

      Delete
  2. Ah, thats lovely - both the sweater and your making it in secret (and so quickly). I will admit I don't like knitting for my husband, but then he's not keen on handknits so I don't feel too guilty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sam! My guy loves the hand knits, and I always feel so bad for not making more things for him. So I'm assuaged for the moment :-)

      Delete
  3. That's gorgeous. My guy keeps asking me to make him a sweater. I told him, he's just too big. It would take me forever. In truth, he is of average size. But knitting for the kids and even myself is more of an instant gratification. If you could ever say knitting and instant gratification together!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sarah! It did feel like a bit of a slog-fest at times. Especially once the WHOLE THING was on my needles. Thank goodness for those super quick raglan decreases!

      Delete
  4. That's awesome! And I'm absolutely amazed that you made that in 2 weeks! YOWZA!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Nakisha! Many episodes of Magnum, PI were watched in the making of his sweater :-) I'm on an 80s kick at the moment!

      Delete
    2. Gail, would it be possible for you to calculate just how many hours it took you to make this? Just curious.

      Delete
    3. I'd say between 20 and 25 hours, based on how many days it took. I started Jan. 28 and finished on Feb. 12, but only worked on it M - F, since he's home on the weekends. That's a lotta Magnum ;-)

      Delete
  5. Wonderful story! How nice that your husband is so knit-worthy. He loves it and it fits - well done.

    We have a front-loading washer, but I wonder if it offers the right choice of spin speed. Would the spin section of the "knits and delicates" setting do the job properly, without damage?
    -- stashdragon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe the knits and delicates cycle would work, because on my machine, that cycle uses a slow, gentle spin.

      And yes - he's very knit-worthy!

      Delete
  6. Aw, how sweet! The sweater turned out beautifully, and I'm glad he loves it :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. that's so awesome! perfect color for valentine's day too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And a great color on him too - he has silvery grey hair, so this color really works for him.

      Delete
  8. Wow, this looks great! I love the look of the saddle shoulder! How sweet of you to make it for him! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I really love this wide saddle that extends across the back - I think it's great for a guy with broad shoulders, like my honey.

      Delete
  9. It's really lovely! I cannot believe it took you just 2 weeks! The miracle of working in the round!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I guess where there's a will, there's a way!

      Delete
  10. You really are a doll to make this! It is lovely and I'm sure it was super appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You have a terrific husband. His sweater is simple chic with an interesting detail. He's lucky to have a crafty, beautiful wife like you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such a great design, isn't it? EZ was a true genius, I think.

      Delete
  12. Nicely done, Ms. Gail. And how satisfying that hubby wore it right away!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes, and he wore it to the concert we went to last night!

      Delete
  13. The sweater looks lovely and it it such a thoughtful gift. I actually can't spot any uneven knitting, so maybe you are too hard on yourself ;) And I also noticed that my boyfriend tends to wear the clothes I knit or sew him more often, than I actually wear mine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's why I wish I'd taken some pictures pre-blocking - it really was evident, but the blocking evened everything up!

      Delete
  14. You are so wonderfully generous. What an awesome gift. I must admit that knitting for my man scares the hell outta. Men are big! One sweater for him would a winter's knitting for me :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My sweetie deserves it :-) And thankfully, he isn't too big!

      Delete
  15. Beautiful!! I've got this one earmarked for my DH, but it would take much more than two weeks for me to knit!

    I love the idea of using spin cycle on the washer. I don't like how fuzzy my big knits look when using towels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! This is a fun one - you've got plenty of mindless TV knitting, and then it's fun to watch the saddles "eat up" the body stitches!

      Delete
  16. Your husband's a lucky guy! I'm impressed that you can make a sweater in only two weeks! And the color you chose is just gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! He looks great in these saturated jewel tones. And I admit, I'm a pretty fast knitter :-)

      Delete
  17. What I great present you've made for your husband! I love the color and the pattern you've used.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Carmela! This pattern is a winner!

      Delete