There’s just no way to know…

I was reading Claudia’s blog a little while ago, and she’s knitting this awesome sweater to wear to Rhinebeck. (Actually, Claudia’s really sneaky. She’s being all casual about it. She hasn’t come right out and said that she’s making the sweater for that, it’s more like “Oh my goodness…this just might be finished in time”. Very cunning) Then I checked her sister Silvia’s blog, and Silvia is knitting one too. They are having a little sisterly competition, both rushing to finish new sweaters for Rhinebeck. Isn’t that nice? New sweaters for Rhinebeck.
Now you may not know this about me, but I have a tiny competitive streak. (Somewhere, my buddy Ken just read that and is laughing himself stupid. He’s at his desk, snorting coffee and laughing maniacally while his co-workers stare at him and wonder if he’s finally so far gone that he thinks that the geeky network administration he’s working on is funny. Ken has been on the receiving end of my tiny competitive streak more than once. There was the “Who can make the smallest origami crane” episode, and a really spiritually unhealthy time with matching sweaters. I digress, but before we get back to the blog, I feel compelled to point out that I soundly thumped him.) This little flaw of mine is compounded by my need to not be left out of any fun that anybody is having without me.
This means that even though there is only 14 days before I get on a plane, I must have a new sweater. Must. Have. I know this is wrong. I know that I am a pathetic mess of a knitter, I know that I will likely have to warp the time space continuum to get a sweater before I leave, but all of this doesn’t matter to me.
The sweater will be mine. (Before you suggest it, rest assured that I asked Silvia if mittens would be ok. She said no. She suggested that an exemption from the new sweater requirement could be purchased from her with chocolate, but I believe that she is lying to get chocolate. I would.)
So…a plan is afoot.
I’m thinking about an imaginary sweater. In my imagination, this sweater is a sort of fitted aran cardigan, with a zip front and saddle shoulders. I have a 90cm bust (36″ ) and I think that a sweater 100cm around would do. (That’s like…4″ of ease) I have been through the countless books and magazines in this house (sort of quickly though, I can’t waste valuable knitting time) and feel confident that the pattern I want does not exist. That’s ok. I can fake it. The only thing standing between me and a Rhinebeck sweater that will keep all the other knitters from pointing, laughing and demanding chocolate while I try desperately to defend and redeem myself with a pair of Latvian Mittens is a deep concern that I may not have enough wool. I embarked on a little research.
First, a little swatch.
This actually isn’t relevant, since swatches are known to be filthy little liars, still..I feel compelled to knit them, since every pattern book I’ve got says something like “to save time, take time to check tension”. Since this knit needs to be fast, I thought I’d better do it. It hasn’t helped so far, except to tell me what I already knew, which is that I’m getting about 19 sts to 10cm. That’s good.
Next, I found two sweaters which are sort of like what I’m thinking about, and checked their gauge and yardage. Here’s where it gets weird.
First….this one. Design #8 from Vogue Winter 00/01.
Calls for 1670 metres of yarn. I’ve got 1240. I was briefly discouraged, but I don’t want a hood, I don’t want it that long, and I’m frowning on the tassels. That should mean that I’m ok…right? Maybe.
I decide to take a second opinion, so…
This is design #2 from Patons book 500982. It’s more like what I want, the length is better, it’s more fitted…this sweater will probably be a closer indicator of what it will actually take. I check and (brace yourself) 2400 metres!
I’m being lied to. One of these patterns is lying. They take the same weight yarn, they have the same gauge, they are knit on the same size needles! How can they be that different? I’d just take the chance, but this is yarn from Newfoundland (long way to go for another skein…and they couldn’t even mail it on my psychotic Rhinebeck schedule) and I can’t bear the idea of busting myself for the next two weeks only to end up with a vest.
What I need now is a tie breaker. Ideas? Anybody got the yarn requirements for something similar hanging around?
Thrum-a-long, Day 3
When you think your mitten is almost tall enough, end ready to begin a third round (that’s the first of the three plain knitted rounds)
next round – *K1, K2tog, repeat from * around.
knit one round, then
K1, K2tog around again.
The next round should be a thrum round again, work that round and then K2tog all the way around. Break the yarn, thread through the remaining stitches and fasten off.
Carefully pick out the waste yarn, picking up the “live” stitches as they are released.
When you have all the stitches picked up, divide on three needles. Your work looks like this:
Work around your first round, picking up two stitches, one at each “side” of the thumb. Continue to work the thumb, working the thrum pattern as established until the thumb is almost long enough. End ready to work a 5th round (the knit round before the thrums)
*K1, K2tog, repeat from * around.
Thrum the next round, and work the next round (round #2)
Last round: K2tog all the way around, break yarn, thread through remaining stitches, draw tight and fasten off.
Your work looks like this
Celebrate your finished thrummed mitten by turning it inside out and laughing until the neighbours think you’re odd.
Make the second mitten the same.

58 thoughts on “There’s just no way to know…

  1. gorgeous, gorgeous, did I mention frikkin’ GORGEOUS? bring it to SnB tonight! Makes me want to thrum-along…
    I checked out the Patons Must-Have Cardi yarn requirements – it’s 20 sts per 10 cm on 4 mm needles, and the large calls for 1561 yds. So that second pattern there sounds VERY off. I would think that 1300-1500 yds would do ya. Maybe you could do less actual patterning?

  2. That thrummed mitten is kind of like cookie dough: the inside out part is more wonderful than the right side out.
    (No, I don’t eat cookies inside out. I eat them unbaked. Which is kind of the same thing. Either that, or I’ve had too much ScreechTM, Official Rehydration Agent of the 2004 Autumn Thrum Along.)

  3. hi there.. i just wanted to say hi and that i find your blog extremely intertaining.. i am not a knitter.. i am a crocheter ..still.. think you are funny as hell.. and i wait patiently for new entries…
    i love thoe thrummed mittens by the way .. do you think there may be a way to do them in crochet? or would you now know anything about something like that ?

  4. I’m with Laura (above) — this reminds me of the Must Have cardi — 2400 yards? Are you sure that wasn’t for the 96-inch bust size rather than the 36-inch?
    Nice thrumming!

  5. So that’s what all the yarn dying was all about. Very cool. You know, you could wear the mittens inside out as part of an LSD-inspired-lion kind of halloween getup. If anyone could pull it off, you could :).
    I like the Vogue cardi better & I think the 1670 meters seems realistic for that much cabling & all. The tassels have got to go, though. If you cut the hood & length, you might have enough, but it could be close. Too close for comfort, maybe. I wonder if the Paton’s has you using a lighter weight yarn doubled? That would account for the inordinate amount of yarn required.

  6. The thrummed mittens are great, particularly inside out. I’m a little too far south for those – I mean, we have winter, but not that much winter. I’d have to cut my hands off, I’d get so hot. And I really don’t think that would enhance my knitting, y’know?
    I have to go with 1300-1500 meters also, more if you are going a lot of cabling, etc.
    Dowload this, and you’ll never be hungry…I mean confused…again.
    That’s a pretty color you’re swatching – part of the Newfoundland haul?

  7. This is the time to revive a project that’s dead in the water.
    Do you remember the Boring Cardie? The Sweater That Shall Not Be Named? Surely, in your mighty stash, you have SOMETHING that you half-finished already.
    That way, you can have finished a sweater in time for Rhinebeck, but not kill yourself.
    And it’s also a good excuse LATER when you have an unfinished object that you’re ditching for a new shiney project. “Don’t worry, unfinished sweater, at some point you will save me from the mocking of other knitters, and will be loved again…but until that day, you will live in a baggy in the dark in the closet. Ta ta!”
    I can dig it.

  8. You want to knit the Big Sack Sweater from Stitch N’ Bitch. It took me 10 days, start to finished, including finishing, to knit. That’s one fast sweater.

  9. Wowowowowow! Now, not only am I gonna hafta buy roving at Rhinebeck, but it is *obviously* gonna hafta be all different colors!
    Leave it to Stephanie to create a competition where none exists… a sweater in 14 days?! An ARAN sweater in 14 days, fer cryin’ out loud? [shakes head in disbelief and pulls chair in closer to watch]
    If you go to this site: You can see a bunch of Arans.. #704 about two-thirds down the page is a pullover, but the requirements are 8 skeins @ 245yds a skein–your first sweater is closer. The second sweater is clearly lying… maybe there are some aran leg warmers on the next page that are included?
    mmm! aran leg warmers–why hasn’t anyone thought of those yet?
    Will we all know eachother at Rhinebeck by our thrummed mittens, or will you be making a Blogger Bag(tm)?

  10. ummmm – my mitten doesn’t look like that when I turn it inside out. ***sob***
    Actually mine looks more like a troll then anything. But then, who do you know that can knit a troll – maybe I can write up a pattern. It’ll look something like this: start a thrum mitten but go all whack on the roving….voila: Troll 🙂

  11. Took me a while to post a comment because my monitor shorted out when my coffee got snorted all over it. Your competitive streak is tiny like Florida had a little bit of weather.
    By the way, I hear [someone] just cast on a Dale to wear to Rhinebeck…

  12. Hi..I just checked the errors page on Patons website and yarn quantities for your sweater should read: 7-8-8-9-9-10 balls. At 204 meters per skein of Classic Wool, that makes for 1428-2040 meters for the whole thing. Hope this makes more sense. There were no errors listed for the actual pattern directions. I love this sweater, but I think it might take a little more time than you have to do all the complicated cabling. Good luck!

  13. Excuse me, but don’t you already have a Must Have Cardigan on the go? I’m with Bippy, finish a lost and lonely bagged/already started sweater. I once tried to knit an aran (with inset pockets yet) for a yarn store in two weekss – it was not pretty. You think you’re twitchin’ now…….

  14. Ha! You just saved me sweaty palms!
    Seems my neighbors think I’m odd even when I don’t laugh at inside out mittens.
    Seriously, though, if they weren’t so gorgeous right-side-out, they’d be fun enough to wear inside-out!
    And yeah, I say go with the first sweater’s yardage. I think you’re okay. Heck, if worse comes to worse and you run out, only knit the front and the sleeves, wear a jacket and tell no one.

  15. Those mittens are wonderful. I wish mine were so pretty. I keep starting lustfully at yours and trying to motivate myself back to mine. Sigh. I started a blog to document my thrumming. Feel free to check it out – I won’t even me offended if you laugh at my mitten (or my blog). I’m at I don’t think I’m on the official thrum-along list. I notice another Renee is there. Can I be Renee the Sequel?
    Renee Sparkes

  16. I laughed like an idiot too when I saw the inside of those mittens. Those are neat, in a scary Robin-Williams’-suspenders kind of way. Is it too late to join the knitalong?

  17. LOVE the mitten. Love it. Especially the inside out view (which confirms that my thrums were, indeed, far far far too long. Damn).
    As for the lying lying patterns, any chance that the second pattern is using the yarn doubled? That’s the only reason I’m coming up with that it would need so much damn yarn.
    And, in my completely uneducated and pulled-from-my-ass opinion, I think 1240 metres should be enough for a cardigan. But I may have made that up.

  18. I agree, the Must Have is the way to go. Although I’m sitting at ten inches and holding on my own Must Have, it’s only for lack of working on it; it’s a really quick knit. Plus, I want to see how you adapt it for a zipper before I get that far on mine. (hah! I’m nothing if not shamelessly self-serving). The other Patons design you showed is very cute too but with the Must Have you save the extra yarn for the foldover collar.
    By the way, you can disregard my question of yesterday’s e-mail; I figured it out on my own, and it was simple. This is what happens when you buy a Luddite a new computer–fear sets in, and stooopid questions get fired off to everybody before looking for directions. Heh.

  19. I’m frowning on those tassels too. Who needs wrist tassels? I mean… I’ve liked that pattern since it came out (sans tassels, length and bobbles) but I like the Patons one more. Are you going to sleep any during the next 14 days? Because I know you’re going to finish at least one more mitten too in addition to this sweater

  20. oOooOOoOer!!! rainbow goodness! those are some perfect thrums, stephanie! also, i am glad that someone foudn an error page for that pattern, which makes a lot more sense. you know what i do to estimate yarn? i put it all close together and try to imagine if thats the size the sweater would be if it were folded up. this works great for hats and scarves… i’m still a little touch and go with estimating sweaters this way. meh. i’m lazy with it, and have no good excuse. but yeah, nice mitts!

  21. Beautiful mitten!!! I love the rainbow roving! :)You should sell a kit ’cause I think the rainbow thrum mitten is simply gorgeous!!! 🙂

  22. Sorry if I offend anyone, but the tassels on the first sweater are ugly as hell. I mean, with all the cables, a hood…why tassels, AND bobbles?? Can you say overkill? Anyhow, I like the second sweater better, but wonder if all that yardage has something to do with all the cables and side/under arm panels-and the 1428 (or thereabouts) sounds better than the 2040. I have no answers as what to do about the wool-love the color though. I say go for it and just bring lots of chocolate and throw it any one who dares to laugh at you. By the way, I adore the thrums. It reminds me of a great thrummed jacket I had in sixth grade. I wore that sucker out-it was black with rainbow thrums…ahhh the memories. My thrums are coming along, but lets just say I am glad I don’t have a blog-that way I am not feeling obligated to share my progress (or lack thereof). Good luck on the sweater-keep us posted.

  23. Ok, now you’re clearly just trying to piss me off. Friend or no. A week ago you left a comment in my blog when I was whining that I might not be able to get my PLAIN VANILLA — just plain-old, plain-old stockinette stitch with rollneck, etc., done in time for Rhinebeck. You said, “I’m not going to have a new sweater for Rhinebeck; please don’t try to upstage me.” I see what kind of a dirty dealer you are now. You tried to get me to forget about my poor pathetic sweater, got me all distracted with those frickin’ fuschia thrums of mine, and now you’re going to try to dazzle the world with your damn aran done in two days. Queen of the World or not, I’m pissed as hell, and I’ll tell you so to your face when I meet you for the first time at Rhinebeck. Clearly our friendship is not off to a good start. I say, if you care, bring LOTS OF dark chocolate, and that might get me distracted again. Something with a liqueur center might be even better. I’m just sayin’…..

  24. Ohhhhh. . .Teresa! A thrummed jacket? I never even thuoght of that, even as I was trying to convince my SO that he needed a thrummed balaclava for winter bike riding. . .my hands get too hot for thrums, but a jacket I could handle! I might get sucked into this craze after all, especially since after it being too hot to wear my new poncho ever since I finished it, now suddenly it’s too cold. . .

  25. Oh my goodness, there’s gonna be needles flyin’ in the next couple of weeks — this ought to be fun. I’m sittin’ right back with my chocolate (and maybe some liqueur) to enjoy the show… and y’all better keep us updated. You can’t bill a show and then go into hiding.
    I’ll bet Norma would still think you care even if it was plain ol’ liquor — it would go well with plain ol’ vanilla. Maybe some Screech and she’ll forget everything…

  26. MADNESS I cant even begin to think that I could finish a sweater with all those cables etc in two weeks.
    You are one brave/whack lady. Guess that is why I like you so much 🙂

  27. Hello? Yes it’s me here in the back. I could be way off base here, but could you actually knit Must Have in 14 days? Incredible. I would have to cease all other living to accomplish that! Might I suggest BPT? It’s not quite as patterned as your other choices, but it is a quick, fitted, zippered, short cardi – 1350 yards – you could bag the hood if you run out of time. PLUS – no major seaming – you’ve gotta factor that into time-to-completion!

  28. Here’s my possibly-not-enough-yarn problem: make and back and the fronts, and if it looks like you’re not going to make it, knit some kind of edging around the armholes and voila, it’s a vest.
    By the way, I like the Vogue pattern better. More unusual.

  29. I looked through some of my magazines, found a few aran-type sweaters in the general length and fittedness. They called for anywhere from 700 to 1600 meters. Most were actually in the 1200 range, so I think if you are careful on details you might make it.
    I do want to note, though, that many of your readers seem to be confusing meters and yards. The pattern in front of me calls for 1150 yards/1052 meters. The meter being longer than a yard by a few inches, that makes a pretty big difference over the amount of yarn for a sweater.
    That said, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING KNITTING A SWEATER THAT FAST????? But if anyone could do it, YOU could. I certainly could not (I’m a pretty slow knitter).

  30. Stephanie, stephanie. Stop. Now. You could try knitting an aran in two weeks but you would not be happy at the end of two weeks. Either the sweater would suck or your hands, wrists, and arms would be useless for the next two months. Go to yoru UFO repository and finish one of those. Pretend you just started it for the occasion. Noone needs to know. Make a new shawl. You could revert to ponchos for a few days. Everyone needs a new poncho.

  31. I say take a poncho and sew up the sides and add cuffs. Tah-dah! Big ol’ shruggy sweater.
    (If not, I’m standing way, waaaay back from you, because the flying needles and rapidly unreeling yarn are going to be a definite hazard zone.)
    btw, I love the muppety goodness of the inside-out thrums. 🙂

  32. You are one nutter butter–PLEASE just give me chocolate and sit around for two weeks! Snickers are nice, or some of those Cadbury flakes are good. We just “happen” to have sweaters that will be done in time for Rhinebeck–but to knit an aran in two weeks is insanity. How about we go to H&M in Poughkeepsie and BUY sweaters…dear lord in heaven, what has my whoring for chocolate wrought!?
    P.s. Love that loopy mitten thing, scared that it gets so cold you have to wear something that insulated…

  33. As your friend… as the person you speak to on pretty much a daily basis… as the person who is on the receiving end of many of your, er… um… wee teeny competitive obsessions… I beg of you. Please, please… STEP AWAY FROM THE YARN!
    (It’s fruitless, I know. But dammit, I can’t go into that particular pit ‘o Hades without saying *something*)
    And yes: I too, can be bribed with chocolate.

  34. I confess I’m doing a new sweater for Rhinebeck too…but it’s Banff, so I’m hoping it goes quickly.
    My husband wants to know how fast these “computer people” knit. Do you think he’s telling me I knit too slowly? I guess it’s better than “Why aren’t your mittens the same?”

  35. An aran sweater in 10 days? Talk about keeping up with the Claudia-Silvias!! I was sorry not to be going to Rhinebeck, but now i don’t know if i can stay away – like a car-wreck, you have to look, even though it will be traumatic.
    Norma will have to lead a few yoga classes on day one to mellow everyone out and there may be a need for a 12-step program. Or maybe the Canandians could just bring screech, lots of it.
    So what time do you want me to drop by tomorrow to start your caffeine IV? I’m gentle, and always begin with chocolate as a local anaesthetic. Man, there will be a lot of needles flying!!!

  36. Hi- I checked 2 patterns for you-Sirdar #8445-and it calls for 1488 m of 22 st to 4 ” yarn in your size. Sirdar #8336 calls for 1452 yards in 20st to 4″ yarn. Seems like the ball park is in the 1500 yard range, for sure! (Check out the Sirdar patterns, too-just to make your choice exceptionally difficult!) (and hey-I’m from Kingston, Ontario-I’ll send ya the patterns if you want to make one of them)Take care-have fun-my lungs are still bleeding from the guffaws I get from reading your blog!

  37. And what, exactly, is the problem with wearing that gorgeous Fleece artist poncho to Rhinebeck? Who needs a new sweater when you have just finished such a thing? My guess is that if you DO knit a whole sweater by then, the weather will experience an unusual warm spell so you will have to carry it around, waving it at folks. If you must, must, must, then I agree with the wave of folks who suggest you finish a UFO for the occasion. Three big advantages there: 1) you have less knitting to destroy your wrists with in the next week+; 2) you clear some of the yarn you have purchased away for the NEW STUFF; and 3) you have proven that you WILL use up the yarn you buy — eventually.
    Don’t turn Rhinebeck into a competition. I have an almost finished new sweater, but I cannot go to Rhinebeck. Guess which I would rather have?

  38. Your Thrum Mitten came out so lovely!!! I love the usage of different colored roving! I am going to get my yarn wound up and start knitting today :-))

  39. I don’t think you are crazy… but that may be because I’m doing the EXACT SAME THING. Except I have a different destination. I’m going to China on Oct 9th, and I keep on starting projects, and then thinking – I should finish this so I can bring it to China. So, in the past month, I’ve made a sweater, a pair of mittens (it could be cold – who knows), a hat and I’m almost done with a cape…
    It is fun to try to knit something to bring wiht you though….

  40. Once upon a very long time ago, I was very much in love. The object of my affection expressed a desire for an Aran. He left town on business on a Monday morning. When he returned on Friday afternoon (same week) I presented him with his Aran.
    Think love. Lots of it.
    P.S. The relationship fell apart, but I am told that he wore his Aran for years afterwards.

  41. /Please imagine me chuckling like an evil squirrel/
    If you finish that sweater by Rhinebeck, I will buy you a TREAT at the show.
    /the evil chuckling continues/

  42. The thought of an Aran sweater in two weeks makes my eye twitch.
    How did you go from Queen of the World to Queen of the OC? I’m thinking it’s a lack of Screech, myself.

  43. The thought of an Aran sweater in two weeks makes my eye twitch.
    How did you go from Queen of the World to Queen of the OC? I’m thinking it’s a lack of Screech, myself.

  44. You are going to knit an Aran in 10 days?
    I had wondered in the past if you slept…now I know you aren’t human at all……who built you and can they overhaul me??

  45. Love the thrummed mittens. I’ll have to look for some roving if I make it to Rhinebeck and try them out. What I really want are thrummed socks. My feet are prone to frostbite, it would be wonderful to ahve a pair of thrummed socks to wear around the house. Hmm, I should probably knit a regular pair of socks first.

  46. Your mitten rocks!!! I love the rainbow thrums…it reminds me of a turtleneck shirt that I had when I was in elementary school. It had little tiny hearts that were in all the colors of the rainbow…aww…thanks for taking me down memory lane!!

  47. that is the most lovely mitten i have ever seen. i love rainbows and thrums are so cool! think i’ll need some in la? well i do get cold hands. i am just waiting for a thrum kit coming from a trade to join the thrum along. i wonder where i can buy roving in california. hm. and i think no tassles are a good idea. makes it too couch or pillow like. no one wants to look like a throw pillow. and i will cheer you on with the sweater. you can do it. treats are worth it!

  48. smallest origami crane i ever made was made out of a listerine breath strip. first i had to make it square, and then i had to fold it very, very carefully. i was able to duplicate this feat once, every other time it was too humid or too dry.

  49. Now I really do believe you have more hours in the day up there in TO than I do here on the East Coast. Holy Crow! A cable knit sweater in less than two weeks…
    The term ‘Crazy Canuck’ comes to mind when I think of what you are trying to do, although in horrified fascination I’m rooting for you.

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