Last August, or maybe it was July, sometime in the warmer sunnier months, my granddaughter Amelia, was browsing in the shop, just looking around as she usually does, commenting on colors and textures. At one point she pointed to Tropical Sea and said, "I want a sweater in this color". Her normal colors are purples and black, but hey who am I to keep her from branching out?
Last year her brother, Tucker, got a Wallaby in his favorite dark greens so I guess this year is her turn. I am figuring out that one major sweater for a relative a year is doable. More than that is my normal insanity (While Alicia was here for the wedding weekend we decided she gets a Wallaby next year or maybe for her birthday in June, in Plummy).
Another time Amelia was visiting I had some sweater patterns out for her to choose from. We did not settle on one but she did express a desire for cables. Cables are not my favorite knitting but for a grand, anything is a go. I had just gotten Barbara Walker's third book, the one with charted designs. Of course Amelia picked out one of the more complicated designs. The Twined Tree. I can't fault her taste as it is a beautiful design.
I decided to use a single worsted in my stash and dyed it in her chosen colorway. A pound and a half was dyed. Maybe that is way too much for a 9 and half year old but better more than not enough in the same dyelot. Then Jim made center pull balls for me. One day this Bolero pattern jumped out of a catalog and said it was the exact one for Amelia, made a bit longer in both length and sleeves, but still perfect.
I kept this project as a carrot. I needed to complete the spinning on the wedding yarn, plus the never ending I cord edging on the EZ Mobius vest. BTW the vest is done and I am not a happy camper. The I cord edging will not allow me to block it to the needed length. It is now languishing in pseudo obscurity. sigh Can I ever bring myself to frog out 1600 hours of I cord, block it and then re I cord? At this point, my answer is a sad no. Too much holiday stuff to knit. Too many projects waiting in the cue that are much more fun that endless BO-ring I-cord. But what a waste of luscious fuzzarelly.
I made an extensive swatch. Yup, I really did. Well, I wanted the gauge correct (Amazing thought. Maybe I am maturing?) and then I was adding cables to the sleeves. I know they take up width. Once the swatch was done it was easy to tell that 6 stitches needed to be added to the sleeves.
The Neck Down Bolero is neck down. I like neck down sweaters but I did not comprehend this fully until Hickory from Knitting Etc mentioned that to me when I told her I was putting the twined trees on the back. The trees are charted from the ground up. They would be upside down on this sweater. "OK, now what?", I thought. So I brought the chart to Knit kNight. Most of the knitters said it was too far advanced for them but Teresa seemed intrigued and spent a good part of the evening working it upside down. We concluded it was definitely doable but carefully doable. Thank you Teresa.
Time to break out the Knit Visualizer software. I love that program. I use it for my socks all the time. It made the Capeletini way easy to put into format. Chart the pattern on the screen and it mostly writes the line by line instructions plus a legend. In this case really only a chart and the legend to follow was needed. See what a difference it makes? (That's the original on the left and the new one on the right.) I added some color too to keep me focussed on the tree parts. There are 2 stitch cables, 3 stitch cables and 4 stitch cables in this baby. All of them go both ways at some point, right and left, and all of them are knit/purl cables. Hey, she's my granddaughter!
This is one of the most satisfying knits I have done in a long time. Granted it had to stay in one place, on the table, throughout the chart, but even so I am loving it.
At this writing, the charted area is done and the bottom border is being ribbed. It is still satisfying. Next is the collar and then the cabled sleeves. Hey, no biggie.