Finally out of hibernation: a new sweater is on the horizon…

I have been struggling somewhat at the start of the year. I am between knitting projects and good books. It has been snowing endlessly (12 storms since the first of December) and after shoveling I’m too tired to knit. I want to knit a sweater, but I’m still thinking that I should continue to destash. I could spend the coming year knitting socks, but somehow this isn’t appealing at the moment. I want to do some stranded colorwork, but I really should remove some of those projects that have been sitting in the corner thinking about where they went wrong and bring them back to life…

I have been knitting away on Hannah’s blanket again and now have 12 hexagons finished. (This pattern is the Nectar Blanket by Ysolde Teague.) I have a couple of other projects that I can work on, but meh…

This week, in a moment of reckless impulsiveness, I pulled a sweater that has been hibernating for over two decades out of the garage and took a good look at it. The fabric of the knitting is really cool, but somehow, I fell out of love with the colors and packed it away long ago. Now I like the colors again, but I’m clueless about what I was doing when I packed it away. There are simple but important questions like, where is the pattern, and what size was I making, and holy smokes, where exactly was I in the pattern when I stopped knitting…

Here’s the knitted fabric. Pretty cool, right? I debated just cutting this up and making a sewn teddy bear or pillow or something for a while…

I finally pulled myself together and took stock of what I had in the bin with the sweater.

I had the chart that I was working from, the color key that I made with the yarns that I was using, and some funky notes written on the chart…

I did more digging around until I located the book that the pattern came from. Oh, this is an Alice Starmore pattern published in 1995 that I bought a kit for some time after I bought the book. I put it away when I was working on my master’s degree, so this sweater has been in hibernation since at least 1998. Wow. This sweater has been in hibernation for so long it is almost fossilized. Anyway, here is the book.

I had this book with all my Alice Starmore books and it didn’t take too long to locate the sweater again.
The sweater is Rona.

Once I had the pattern again, I did some counting of stitches and used the chart to figure out where I was in the knitting. Oh my goodness, I was up at the neckline and there are 4 different steeks in this knitted wonder!! The front steek is now on standby, and I just have to worry about the sleeves and the one created to handle the neckline. The notes on the chart I was using actually are the count of the neckline decreases and I had the armhole steeks drawn onto the chart. I’m so glad that I still have the chart and the yarn key! Evidently this was size medium… the directions even began to make sense as I read them over a couple of times. I pulled myself together and knit a few rounds and it all came back to me fairly quickly; I was able to start adding tally marks to the chart to track the neckline decreases just as I had more than two decades ago.

I have all the balls of yarn organized again and I am back at the knitting with a purpose. I hope to have the body of the sweater off the needles in another week or so.
Mateo has been a good boy all week and has been hanging out with me while I knit.

Have a good week everyone!

Author: Midnight Knitter

I weave, knit and read in Aurora, Colorado where my garden lives. I have 2 sons, a knitting daughter-in-law, a grandson and two exceptionally spoiled kittens. In 2014 I was diagnosed with a serious rare autoimmune disease called systemic sclerosis along with Sjogren's Disease and fibromyalgia.

23 thoughts on “Finally out of hibernation: a new sweater is on the horizon…”

  1. I have not a lot to say about this kind of knitting: it is ‘way too far above my level of comprehension.
    Sighh ..
    But I love Hannah lying there with a miniature version of her blanket resting on her hip; and I love the wonderfully furry Mateo looking sultry.
    It’s nice, your family, Marilyn. 😀

      1. I am a little relieved to learn this: I had worried that it all came naturally, and where did that leave me ?!! [grin]

      2. Oh, no. I could not do this without that class. I knit carrying the yarn in my left hand. I was paired with a knitter who carried in her right hand and given bamboo needles and big yarn. After a weekend of using each other to learn how to knit with the other hand we were both doing stranded colorwork using one color in each hand, knitting with both hands. The rest of the class was learning how these sweaters are constructed and how to deal with the knitting. Then I took a 6-week class where the instructor held our hands while we knit our first sweaters. 🙂

  2. Wow happy silver anniversary to this project! In 1998 I was 3 sizes smaller so there would be no hope for me continuing it and it would have to have become a cushion cover lol. Well done for making good notes at the time.

    1. It is that old, isn’t it! I am concerned about the size as I knit a larger size these days and I wear lots of layers… if it doesn’t fit it will be a cushion cover for sure!! There is an strange thing going on with me these days… I maintained the same weight for years, but I started getting smaller. Now I am slowly losing weight even though I eat whatever I want. It is part of my illness, I think that it’s like that “muscle weighs more than bone” thing, but in my case it’s fibrosis that weighs even more than muscle!

    1. It was a thing in the 90s when the picture was taken. The models were supposed to be neutral, and the sweater was the point of the picture. That’s why she is looking away and not smiling. We’re lucky that we got to see her face!

    1. It isn’t too bad… there are only two colors at a time, and I learned how to knit using one color in each hand. I use markers (lots of markers!) to define the pattern repeats, so I can identify and fix mistakes easily. It is pretty rewarding once you get into the groove.

    1. Even better, the sweater body is almost done! I’m glad that I picked it up again and hopefully it will fit when I get that front steek opened up. If not, pillow time! If it doesn’t fit, I didn’t invest that much time into it now, so it is kind of a win-win situation.

  3. A sweater and a WIP coming off the list…that’s a win-win. I love the colors you chose for your project. They are prettier than the ones used in the sample in the book. I am glad your energy is coming back. Happy knitting with the kitties!

  4. Could you give us our thoughts on the Nectar blanket? I have never knitted using four needles and although I purchased the pattern, I´m a visual learner. so, I am struggling to get to understand it. It looks so beautiful so far. And you are so talented in that past project you recovered!! It´s a true classic, I am surprised that it has held on so well although time has passed by. Hugs and kisses from Northern Spain.

    1. I am also a visual learner. I’m knitting on two 16″ circular needles with stitch markers dividing the pattern repeats; I have 3 sections on each needle. I watched lots of YouTubes to help me with the cast on and it is easier to cast onto one needle and then move half the stitches over to the other needle. Put a marker (I’m using a safety pin) to keep the beginning of the round clear as you work. There is a mistake in the chart so I am following the written instructions (unless she has updated that chart – you might check that). Anyway, as the hexagon grows in size you can switch to just one circular needle and then the knitting is much easier to handle. I make the switch when I get to the garter stitch border. I am joining the pieces together working from the top with a kind of modified mattress/Kitchner stitch to close and they are joining quickly and I’m actually enjoying the process. I hope all that helps.

      Sadly, that Rona sweater is back in hibernation since I discovered that the yarn didn’t hold up well in the two decades in the garage. It is very scratchy and keeps falling apart while I’m knitting and it has a smell that is pretty much destroying my knitting Zen. I’m now thinking that it will get washed and then used to sew pillow covers for the couch. It is still beautiful, but not something I will wear.

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