Monday, September 17, 2007

Fire & Ice: The Final Chapter (Updated below)

Fire & Ice is finally done!
Yippee! Pass the red wine!
It's been a wonderful summer of scheming 'n dreaming, dyeing 'n spinning and, of course, knitting and more knitting. Between all the knitting was a fair bit of frogging.

She's finally done and I lurve her.
For those interested in the back story and the journey to this point, check out these entries.
For those that just want to look at knitting porn, I present to you the Fire & Ice final photo shoot!

Da sleeves. Initially it was going to be a basic steek and seam sleeve. Then I thought since I was knitting to fit my torso, I might as well knit the fit my shoulder as well. So I opted for short rows to create a bend to fit around my shoulder and then a few extra short rows to add some material for the side of the collar. It took a couple of evolutions to get the sleeves right but in the end it worked out grand!

Da forearm. Since the cabling was inspired by designs on Viking armour, I wanted to bring some of the warrior elements of their often violent sagas into the sweater. I created a sort of knitted wrist plates to echo armour.
The sweater as a whole was designed to look structured and sculpted. I wanted it to look solid, like it could hold it's shape even when I'm not wearing it, like armor.
Here's the torso and the two sleeves before seaming.

Here's it all put together!
Da front!

Close-up of da back.
The collar was done in a simple seed stitch to give a bit of texture. I opted for a square collar to echo the angular nature of the cabling.
As an extra bonus, the collar also frames my 'Tao' tattoo perfectly. So fitting to have that word framed by a sweater that carries the story of the joining of fire & ice to create the world.

My triquetra tattoo is also peeking out in the corner. The triple goddesses, (especially MorrĂ­gan) are definitely with me when I'm wearing this sweater!

Well, that's my 100 mile fiber project for the summer. Not a moment too soon. The evenings are getting chilly and I'm ready to get going on my next 100 mile fiber project!


ETA:The Inside Story of Fire & Ice

This photo is for you, Erin :P
Hop onto a ferry and get over here for your short row lesson!

Thanks everybody for all your warm and wonderful comments. It makes my heart melt to hear all these encouraging comments. To all those that can't fathom making such a sweater, I would like to point out that I haven't used any techniques that most intermediate knitters don't know.
In fact, here's a list of the main techniques used and links to some:
Long tail cast on
2x2 ribbing
Knitting in the round
Cabling (without a cable needle)
Short Rows
Basketweave stitch
Seed stitch
3 needle bind off

Even if you don't know the above techniques, you've already learned the 2 main techniques: knitting & purling. Some might say those are the most difficult of all knitting techniques because they are the first. They are the initial steps into a new world, one that is unfamiliar and often, awkward to navigate through. They are taken without any prior experience that this path will lead to anywhere but to a knarled up headache. They are taken with no promise of reward. Often they are accompanied with anxiety, confusion, insecurity and frustration.
But soon those steps become so familiar, many of us can tread the steps of knitting & purling without looking and constantly checking a map.

In my knitted heart I do hope to nudge, shove, kick other knitters into uncharted (pardon the pun) knitting waters and to inspire them to try things that aren't written down in patterns. If nobody tried new techniques or experimented we'd all be knitting big blocky garter stitch togas :P

I do hope my knitting encourages other knitters to join me off the beaten path. I would very much enjoy their company :) There's a vast and exciting knitting landscape for us to explore. With the learning of each new lesson, we all come back to the original blessing of when we first learned how to turn a couple of sticks and some string into something, anything and everything.

Be daring. Heck, be downright reckless with your knitting. Nobody died from knitting. Some might have been had their corneas seared by neon orange acrylic yarn, but that heals eventually.

In The Yarn Harlot's "At Knit's End" there is a quote from Henry Ford, "One of the greatest discoveries a (wo)man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do."

And as the Yarn Harlot says herself: Be Fearless with Knitting!