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Yup. The Carlos Miele sweater is getting bigger. Nope it’s still not finished. Nope, it’s still not terribly interesting to look at.

The BurdaMag that needs to get packed soon is shown for scale, and because I was flipping through it wistfully, reminiscing about my glorious sewing days (i.e. last week.) It’s dark times like these, as the needles click stitch by stitch, when I start to wonder whether you’re sorry yet that you told me to keep blogging about “whatever,” and whether the “It looks great so far!” comments are coming from other sewers who pity me in my sad knitting state. This is what it has come to. Pity and knitting. Perhaps I will put on some sweatpants. They’re more comfortable than yesterday’s cargo pants.

In the meantime, you’re best going off and finding something more interesting to read.  Maybe there’s some great stuff about sewing from Denise on The Blue Gardenia blog today. Oh wait, no, it’s just more about lame old me and my sad little sewing space which doesn’t even exist anymore. Definitely check out her fantastic blog for her previous posts about more awesome sewing spaces from more interesting bloggers though. Sigh. I think I’ll go mope more and bake some cakes for other people now.

It stands to reason that if knitting is slower than sewing, then blogging about knitting is going to be slower than blogging about sewing.  Granted, I’m making zippy progress with my Giant Yarn for Dummies and Tree Trunk Needles, but it’s still teeny steps compared with the zooooooooom! of the feed dogs on my increasingly dusty Husqvarna. I’m getting back into the rhythm of knitting now and starting to enjoy it, but it doesn’t change the fact that showing knitting progress seems a lot less interesting than showing sewing progress.  Case in point- a fair bit of progress was made yesterday during packing downtime on the Carlos Miele knockoff sweater.


And after:

As you can see, significant progress has been made, and yet it’s really no more interesting than it was yesterday.

To answer a couple of questions that came up before my mind starts to wander again, yes, the gauge is huge. I put my seam ripper on the work so you can get an idea of the scale.  Here’s a close up with a quarter to show you just how big those stitches are:

To answer a few more questions, I’m knitting on straight needles because the circular size 17 needle cost about $22. I love a good quality bamboo circular needle as much as the next Selfish Knitter, but the likelihood of me making future projects this tremendously chunky is very low, so I opted to make a smaller investment in the needles. The purple needles in the picture are the size 17.  The gold needle is a size 10 or 11 that I’m just using as a stitch holder. The interesting thing with working at this size is that you can grab just about anything in your vicinity to use as necessary.  I actually used a teaspoon as a cable needle yesterday because it just happened to be lying on the table before me. It was nice – the bowl of the spoon kept the stitches from slipping off while I worked my cable.

So. Yup. I guess that’s about it. Is this what knitting blogging is like? Is there anything more I should be telling you?

And so it comes to this, readers.  Your Selfish Seamstress stoops to knitting. For those of you unfamiliar with “knitting,” it’s kind of like sewing’s slower, ergonomically problematic, more tedious cousin. I’ve started on the Carlos Miele knockoff sweater and here’s last night’s progress (after I could pack and clean no more.) Looks tiny but the gauge is actually about 2 stitches per inch.

The backstory is that I went to the fancy yarn store and found that the super bulky yarn in wool or alpaca in the quantity required to make this sweater would have run in the vicinity of $150-200. I do occasionally splurge on yarn and much like with fabric and sewing, I don’t like to invest lots of careful hand labor and use poor quality materials. Generally I feel there’s not much point in doing beautiful blind hems by hand on off-grain prints or lovely lacework with fibers that feel nasty against the skin. But I certainly don’t want this sweater $200 worth. And beyond that, this is sort of a risky and crazy sweater, as you’ll recall:

It could clearly go either way (well, judging by the polarized responses to my last post about this sweater, some of you think it can only go one way and not well at that- believe me, I also harbor suspicions that this could turn out very very poorly!), and it’s by no means a safe bet. And I’m not so keen on spending a lot of money just to satisfy my curiosity. And super bulky yarn isn’t the easiest yarn for me to repurpose if I decide to frog this one, since there aren’t a lot of other chunky projects that interest me. Even if it does turn out well, I don’t expect that it will be a heavy rotation garment anyway. So off it was to Michael’s to buy some crappy Lion Brand Wool-Ease on sale for $6.99 a skein. I’ve knit with it before and it’s really not the worst stuff. They did have a chartreuse/apple green color much like the one pictured above and I was tempted, but lately I seem to have sewn and knit a lot of clothes in that leafy green family so I opted for a change with the heathered pumpkiny-rust shade, which will be nice for autumn with some of my wool pants:

Knitting with giant size 17 plastic needles and giant yarn makes me feel kind of stupid and clumsy, like trying to work out multivariable calculus problems with a big fat crayon. I’m really much more of a laceweight girl. But the pattern is quite interesting, knit in a single piece from cuff to cuff, sort of like a cross shape with a hole in the middle for the neck opening, and it gets folded in half to make it into a sweater.

Here you can see it folded to form what will eventually be the sleeve and one side.

Okay, blogging about knitting is boring me almost as much as knitting itself (just kidding, sensitive knitters. I’m one of you too.) But seriously. I’m also wearing cargo pants right now. This should give you an idea of just how low I’ve sunk.

Well, based on my recent query as to what to blog about while new sewing projects go on hiatus, the response seemed to be an overwhelming, “Blather on about whatever!” And so I shall, time permitting. You may be sorry later!

I’m thinking about what knitting project to take on (there are many long plane rides in my immediate future, and I will be separated from my beloved Husqvarna for weeks- agony!) I’ve decided that I’m going to try my hand at what is sure  to be the controversial Carlos Miele sweater, pictured above, assuming I can find appropriate yarn for it that doesn’t break the bank. Love it or hate it?  Let the debate begin!

Here’s what it looks like in context:

I’m already picturing it with my Vogue 1051 alice + olivia pants!

I’m not a great knitter. My skills are intermediate at best and they certainly haven’t improved since I realized how much faster sewing is in terms of time to a lovely completed garment. And I think I’ve learned that it’s best to stick with sleeveless sweater patterns, or at least patterns for which the sleeves are not knit separately, because once I knit the first sleeve, I’m often too bored to knit the second sleeve. This would explain why I have so many unfinished one-sleeve sweaters.  (A corollary to this would explain the existence of single hand-knit socks lying around my house.) In truth I’m a much more skilled crocheter, having been at it for 27 years now, but I rarely find patterns for crocheted garments that I really like and my house is not in need of doilies at this time.

For those of you who do like the Carlos Miele sweater and are capable of deciphering German knitting patterns, you can find the pattern available for free download from Für Sie magazine.

About this blog

The Selfish Seamstress loves to design and sew garments, but only if she gets to keep them. I'm Elaine, known in the online sewing world as elainemay, and welcome to my selfish sewing blog.

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