Monday, October 1, 2007

The Mark II





This is an adaptation of The Breton Jacket (IK Fall 2006, page 104). I'm using a sport weight yarn - Brunswick Yarns Pomfret Mark II in the Blue Ridge Heather colourway. I'm getting a gauge of 6 stitches to the inch on 3.75 mm (US 5) needles. This is from an old batch of yarn that was stashed in a cedar attic for many years by a woman who ran a yarn shop many years ago in a distant state. The yarn is probably 25 years old or more. Because it was so carefully kept, it seems to be in pretty good shape. Knock on wood.

Puts me in mind of a pair of sheepskin ankle boots I wore to work once. On the return trip, coming up the stairs at the Verdun Avenue Metro with the rush hour crowd, the smell of wet wool in the air, my feet began to feel very odd. After the first flight, I switched to the escalator and peeked at my foot. Panic set in. I could distinctly see my sock in an unexpected gap between the sole and the upper. Erp!

This was a pair of boots my mother bought probably twenty years earlier. I'd had them stashed in my basement and finally decided to wear them. Big mistake. The glue holding the the boots together had deteriorated. I barely managed to get onto the bus. Sat there feeling mortified for about about ten minutes til I got to my stop. Getting off the bus was another treat. I think I ended up running the last half block through the spring slush to my flat in my boot socks.

So why am I going on about these boots when this is supposed to be all about the Mark II? Well, this is a clear attempt at a jinx on my part. I have the disturbing vision of the eventual wearer of this sweater turning and reaching followed by the distinctly unpleasant feeling of the garment pulling apart. Or not. Maybe she'll just catch sight of something in the mirror, or a co-worker will point it out to her. Hmmm, who could I give this to... No way, I love this yarn!

It's a fine yarn with a certain solidity and it's a beautiful blue-gray heathered colour. Looks like a rain cloud.

When I came to the end of the first skein, I did notice a few weaknesses in the yarn. For those who have never engaged in the risky practice of knitting with 25 year old wool and don't know, these are spots on the yarn where the yarn has kind of faded away and if you don't watch out, you find yourself knitting with one or two plies instead of three. Just don't keep your yarn or your garments in plastic bags. I checked a few more skeins and I think there's enough yarn in good condition that I'll be able to finish. The weakness tends to manifest itself on the outer parts of the skein.

Maybe not the best choice for a twisted cable stitch, you say? My solution here was to reinforce the 12 stitches of the cable with that reinforcement thread that comes with the Jawoll sock yarn. I thought about switching it out for another pattern but all cables have points that stress the yarn and I like the looks of the medallion stitch that is used in the pattern. By the way, it's also in the second Barbara Walker Treasury where it appears in one text block that you can copy and work off rather than split between two columns the way it appears in the IK issue.

I've knit 18 inches up from the cast on and decreased 10 stitches at the waistline. I'm going to try for 24 inches before I shape the armholes, much longer than the original pattern. Long enough to keep all of the nether regions warm.

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