Saturday, 29 March 2014

See my vest! See my vest!

Made from real gorilla yak chest!  Weird...

Anyway, about a million years ago I started knitting the Honeycomb Vest.  Okay, two years.  That's still a long time though.  I used Lang Yarns Yak which is a soft and squishy blend of merino and yak wool.

This was a bit of a different project for me from the start, because although I thought the yarn was dk weight when I bought it, it turns out that it was aran weight which is thicker, and therefore meant that I had to do a gauge swatch.  Yes.  Actual swatching.  And math.  How crazy is that?  I worked out that I would need to knit a smaller size than the one that looked like it would actually fit me, but I decided to trust the swatch and go with it.

I started the back in July of 2012 and maybe got a third of the way up before needing a break and knitting something else.  This stitch pattern is extremely fiddly.  Extremely.  It might not be so bad if it was knit in the round, but given that it was knit back and forth, it made it that much worse.  So when I got back to it, months after starting it, I was only able to handle doing a bit more before putting it back in time out.

This cycle continued over the next year and a half.  The back (eventually) got done, and the front (eventually) got started, and (finally) it got to the point where the back and front could be grafted together at the shoulders.  I think that was near the end of last year or the beginning of this one (sorry for the blurry picture).

And then that's where it stayed for a couple of months, because the next step required it to be blocked before all the finishing could be done.  Even though, truthfully, blocking doesn't take that much time or effort, I have a bit of a mental block (pun intended) about it.  Especially in this case.  Usually when you block something, that means that it's finished and ready to be worn.  In this case (and with other garments that are pieced together), it needed to be blocked to the proper measurements before it was ready for a lot MORE work.  I wasn't going to rush it.

Then, a few weeks ago I got invited to tag along to a small weekend retreat of quilters (some of whom are also knitters) and decided that it was time to bite the bullet.  I blocked the vest in anticipation of a weekend away with no other distractions.  I still brought other knitting with me, because if I only had the vest along it might drive me crazy, but my goal was to get it as close to finished as I possibly could.

The first evening I googled how to do mattress stitch and sewed up the side seams.  That took all evening but they turned out well.

The next day I spent picking up stitches and knitting the twisted rib around the neck and one of the arm holes.

And on the final morning of the retreat, I picked up the stitches for the second arm hole, and without counting as I was going picked up EXACTLY the same number of stitches as for the first arm hole.  I took that as a good sign so I powered through and finished the ribbing around the second arm hole, wove in the ends, and breathed a huge sigh of relief that this monkey was finally off my back.

It even fits.  Not perfectly, but pretty well.  Maybe it would have fit my July of 2012 self even better, but who cares.

Thank goodness that it's still cold enough outside to be able to wear a knitted vest without sweltering!… Just kidding.  I'd prefer if it was too warm for the vest.  I've waited long enough for the vest, I could have waited a bit longer.

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