Monday, April 7, 2008

Dancing With Cheryl Oberle

Last night I dreamed that I was taking ballroom dancing lessons from Cheryl Oberle, who is (as you probably know), not a dancing instructor, but a designer of knitwear and author of the wonderful "Folk Vests" and "Folk Shawls." In this dream, Cheryl was helping me select a gown for a dance competition (we chose an aqua number that looked much like the dress I wore to the Junior Prom) and was telling me that I needed to take additional 'technique' lessons from 'San Francisco Joe.'

No need to hire a dream specialist to interpret this one (except for the bit about 'San Francisco Joe.' Huh?). I am in the oh-so-frustrating throes of completing the Sakiori Vest, one of Cheryl's designs. And I wish there were a greater repertoire of knitting technique at my disposal. This vest has far too many edges – edges that I should have taken into account before I began.

I have picked up 198 stitches along the right side – an agonizing process since I had not planned ahead and therefore had a messy edge to work with – and am seed-stitching my way along to the point where I have to bind off all 198 stitches (in seed stitch!). When the right side is completed, I get to do it all over again on the left side. After which there is the intense joy of sewing up the back seam (I haven't sewn an actual seam on a sweater in over 20 years. Top-down, in the round – that's my mantra.) And then there is the neck/front border, which will involve picking up a number of stitches I don't care to think about, seed stitching them, and binding them off. After endless agonies of seeds the vest will still be incomplete. There are two small side panels to be knit and attached. Not too painful, although they both begin and end with our favorite stitch (s--d).

If all this sounds as though I am whining, well, I guess I am. The assembly and sewing bits are my least favorite part of knitting. The danger zone where a project becomes a UFO is right here. Knitted pieces have been known to linger, collecting dust, until all memory of their original purpose is lost. The only cure I know for SAS (Sewing and Assembly Syndrome) is avoidance. A little armhole finishing is not too painful; necklines are small and not so daunting. Anything else is overwhelming.

Clearly I should never have begun this vest. But having done so, I am determined to finish it. I'm not having fun, but I WILL finish. Never again, though. Never again. I need to consult with 'San Francisco Joe' (as soon as I figure out who he is) and learn some new techniques – the kind that eliminate SAS.


beverlyanne said...

The vest looks like it will be well worth it. The fabric is beautiful.

Most knitters do hate seaming, and I don't know why. I don't min it at all. I llike knitting in pieces and sewing together because that produces a more commercial like garment. I'm all about the slickness.

I need that DP needle case. I inherited some from my anunt and I bought some, so I have too many as well. I just bought Knit Picks Harmony DP sock set - 6" needles in six sizes from 0 to 3 (2 different 1s and two different 2s.)

Thoreau may be overrated, but Emerson is unreadable.

beverlyanne said...

Hi again. I got 5.75 st. to the inch on # 5 needles, and 5.33 on # 6. The Silky Wool does seem lighter than DK, but the gauges seem to fit DK. After wet blocking the fibers did seem to plump out, but the gauge didn't change. The yarn has such a cottony feel to it, but it gets softer and more velvety after wetting. So far I like it, but it seems a little short of elasticity.

Delighted Hands said...

I stall at the sew it together stage lots of times so I try to psyche myself up with a reward-chocolate works well! It is beautiful so keep at it-even a seam a day will see it done soon!