Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Peggy Tudor: Another (minor) Milestone

It took a while, I must admit, but I have finally finished the fourth piece of my Peggy Tudor sweater. This is the left front, which matches the previous piece (i.e. the right back) for all patterns & shaping except at the neck/shoulder. In the process of knitting this piece, I actually discovered a minor flaw in the armhole shaping on the previous one, which I decided to go back & fix, since it would only take a couple of extra hours. It's such a big project overall that I knew the tiny delay would hardly matter. After ripping back, I ended up knitting the two pieces in tandem for several inches, using one circular needle of adequate length to hold them both. The results were very gratifying. Indeed this approach made it so easy to ensure that the two pieces actually matched row-for-row that I have decided to work the next two (i.e. the left back & right front) together from the start. It will take twice as long to finish them both that way, but then I'll be done with the four largest pieces (i.e. most of the body) & ready to start on the sides of the sleeves.

Here are the customary photos of the latest work, including one of the new piece by itself and another that shows it side-by-side with the now corrected previous segment. As always, click on either one for a larger view. Depending on your browser settings, it may take an extra click or two to zoom in all the way.

One interesting feature of the design that is not entirely obvious from the photo spread in the Tudor Roses book (splendid as that is) is the special pattern at the shoulder seam of the side front, consisting of three horizontal rows of knots (or knitted beads or, I suppose, even nupps) on a stockinette background, alternating with bands of reverse garter stitch. The knots are a little hard to see in this picture, but after blocking I think they will stand out nicely. Although this sweater is obviously designed to be knitted in many pieces and eventually sewn together, this pattern detail masking the shoulder seam reminds me somewhat of the traditional "shoulder straps" seen in fishermen's guernseys such as Stornoway, which are knitted in-the-round.

I think I have said it before, perhaps even more than once already, but it deserves to be repeated and emphasized: this is an *astonishingly* intricate design. Such painstaking attention to detail!! The placement of every stitch has been meticulously arranged, and NOTHING in the pattern happens by accident or even by default. I continue to be blown away by the degree of technical control displayed here over & over again.

I should also add that the NatureSpun sport-weight yarn is like a dream come true. Its softness and drape will make for an eminently wearable sweater when all is said and done — not to mention the snuggly warmth of 100% wool — and yet the stitch definition is crisp and clean, leaving nothing to be desired. I would whole-heartedly recommend this yarn choice to anyone searching for an alternative to the 5-ply guernsey wool.

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