The Rhinebeck Sweater
I realized that I’ve never blogged about the Rhinebeck sweater. Hope Ramsay showed off her finished objects from her MDSW purchases (and they *are* gorgeous), so I feel honor-bound to do the same. I bought three skeins of Spirit Trail Fiberworks Minerva (50% merino, 50% bombyx silk) which became the Rhinebeck sweater, two skeins of Bugga! sock yarn that I haven’t used yet, and one skein of Miss Babs Northumbria BFL sock yarn that I’ll blog about later.
So… what about the Rhinebeck sweater? Well, in August, Carla Kempert found a bus trip to Rhinebeck. And when the stars aligned and I was able to join her… well, a self-respecting knitter can’t go to Rhinebeck in a store-bought sweater, now, can she? So in September, I cast on for a sweater from the Spirit Trail Fiberworks Minerva. To make it more challenging, I (who had only completed one sweater, not counting the two partially-knit sweaters which don’t fit properly and are waiting to be frogged and restarted) decided that this special yarn needed to be a special sweater. As in, one of my own design. Nothing like a challenge!
When I last mentioned it, I had cast on for the sweater. I swatched and swatched, cast on, and finally finished the yoke. And then I decided that… it wasn’t working. It wasn’t horrible, but I knew I’d never have been happy with it. So I made some tweaks to the design and started over again. (At least I discovered the secret to painless frogging… don’t do it until you absolutely, positively need that yarn. I cast on for the second time with another skein, and by the time I needed the yarn from the first yoke, the second one was further along than the first and looked so much better that I didn’t mind losing all that work!)
By this point, I had about two weeks to Rhinebeck. I ordered buttons from a wonderful local yarn shop, but they didn’t come in. I got nervous and ordered more buttons. They weren’t as nice as the first ones, but they’d do in a pinch. So I knit, and I knit. At one point, I discovered I’d mis-crossed a cable some 30 rows (and two cable crossings and countless increases) back. I held my breath, dropped that whole cable section, fixed the cable cross, re-knit the section, fixed the tension issues and kept on knitting. I bound off and wove in the ends the night before I left for Pennsylvania, where I was meeting up with Carla and the bus. The buttons came in at the last possible second, so I stopped on the way up to PA and sewed them on the next day on the bus to Rhinebeck. (Let’s not discuss the part where I blocked it and it wouldn’t dry and wouldn’t dry and finally went for a nerve-wracking spin in the dryer twenty minutes before I had to head out the door to catch the bus!)
And I love it. I got a bunch of compliments on it at Rhinebeck (and a couple of requests for the pattern– talk about flattering!). There are some things I’ve learned since that would change the way I’d do things if I were to make it again, but I love this sweater and wear it proudly. I love the yarn, too– it got a little pilly at first, but cleaned up nicely with the sweater shaver. The silk makes it super soft and incredibly warm. I may actually not get as much wear out of it as I planned, simply because it’s so warm, it’s likely to be a winter-only sweater, rather than the three seasons I’d thought it would be. But it’s hard to get too upset about winter weather when I have this in my closet!
(Yes, I know I need pictures of the sweater actually on my body. Working on that…)