My podcast co-host and I started a Mother"s Day Cast On where everyone, not just mothers, are invited to cast on something for themselves. This year I'm casting on a sweater, a very special sweater. This is to be a (insert awesome music here of your choosing (trumpets or sports themed music is good here, but I personally prefer action movie soundtracks)) Rhinebeck Sweater!
"Danie, does this mean you are going to Rhinebeck this year?" you might ask. Well, that depends on who you ask. If you ask my husband, he'll say, "What? You are leaving in October??? For what? I don't remember that!!!" If you ask me, I would say, "Yes! I'm so excited for Rhinebeck this year. My husband gave me the approval (which requires the approved tag out of child supervision) and I have a sweater all picked out." So I guess this time I tell my husband I will write it on the calendar and have him initial it. "I the undersigned, do attest to full knowledge and consent of my wife's attendance of aforesaid event..."
Either way, I will be going to Rhinebeck come October. ("But honey, I've already knit a sweater for it. I have to go now!") I decided to rip out a sweater I liked but didn't feel in the mood to knit. What was worse was that with that sweater in a holding pattern on the needles, I felt like I couldn't cast on another sweater until that one was finished. Ridiculous!
I decided to knit the Campside Cardi by Alicia Plummer. While I was playing with the idea of this cardi, one of my friends mentioned that she would like to knit a cardigan but didn't want to do all the purling. As I work from home, I wear a lot more cardigans over my geeky tees so thought I would just get used to all the back and forth knitting when another friend suggested she steek it. I was under the assumption that you could only steek colorworked sweaters. It seems silly now. Even traditional yoke sweaters (that I pictured in my head as the only candidate for steeking) don't have colorwork all the way down. Silly me.
As fate would have it, Jasmin of The Knitmore Girls did step-out pictures of her steeking progess on her Landon sweater/cardi for her son. That sealed the deal. Oh so simple. Steeking was unexpectedly in my future.
I swatched (in the round) because I wanted to get a correct gauge (but admittedly and contradictorily (it's totally a word) didn't wash my swatch because I was lazy, however I've worked with the yarn before so not too scared). I got perfect gauge with a US9 but felt the fabric was too loose. I swatched again with a US8 and felt much better about the fabric. But now I needed to decide what size to knit. I went back and forth and finally decided on the 35.5. A size right in the middle of negative and positive ease so any unexpected variances should still keep me well within the range of a good fitting open-front cardigan.
I cast on my project and an additional 7 stitches that will be part of the steeking. Jasmin (of the aforementioned Knitmore Girls) mentioned on their most recent podcast that a column of purls could help you see your steeking area better. I decided to purl the first and last stitch of the steek section to help me visually see where I would be folding over and more easily see where I should cut. My old lady eyes tend to lose focus over so many columns, so this should help keep things nice and straight.
Could this whole project end in an epic failure? Perhaps. Could I go to Rhinebeck publicly shamed by my inability to knit a sweater for the event? It is possible. However, I feel that the odds are (ever) in my favor. I have Tim Gunn confidence that I can make it work. I have friends experienced in steeking to call for help (they did say day or night didn't they?). I have creative friends that can help me think of interesting ways to fix it if I fail all else. (Do you have duct tape? Of course I do.)
If I do get it right though, it opens a whole new world of sweater knitting for me though. Isn't that worth a chance?