I’ve had the pieces for my husband’s Aran finished for some weeks now. Blocked, too. Finished and blocked and waiting for me to have time to sew everything up. In fact, enough time has elapsed between finishing knitting and sewing up that people are starting to inquire as to whether the sweater is done. When my husband noticed that I’d given into startitis once more, he ventured, “So . . . does this mean my sweater is done?” I have to give him credit — he took care to keep the tone of his voice suitably meek and hopeful.
“Um,” I replied, looking a bit guilty. “Almost. I just need part of a weekend to put it together, and it’ll be done.”
Other such inquiries have followed, first from my mom, and then from others who don’t even know me all that well, but who know me well enough to remember that I’ve been working on this sweater since the aspens were glowing in the fall. Now it’s spring (technically), and the first of the tarragon has sprung up in the garden. Spring means it’s time for bulky winter sweaters to come off the needles. Even if there isn’t much time to wear them now, my needles shouldn’t be weighed down by heavy yarns again until the aspens once again begin to turn.
I had to find a good chunk of time for finishing, though. Knitting is something I can do for just a few minutes at a time. A few rows here and there while working on dinner or other things, and before I know it, I’ve got a pair of mittens or a hat. Finishing? I like to have larger blocks of time for that. Larger blocks of time where I’m in a pretty decent mood. Those opportunities are hard to come by. I find it necessary to be in a finishing frame of mind when I’m going to do the sewing up. A rushed finishing job can take a project from the realms of fine handmade work down to something that screams “homemade.” If I take the time, and don’t lose my patience, I’m rewarded with seams that are neat and even. It’s well worth it to me to hold off for a few weeks between completing the knitting and finishing the project, if that’s what it takes to find the time and mindset for a productive finishing session.
This was the first weekend since I blocked the second sleeve that I’ve had time for finishing work. Yesterday was grey and snowy. Not that I’m complaining — it was perfect weather for finishing work. I took care of my housework in the morning, which gave me the afternoon for finishing.
I set the sleeves in first. I modified the sleeves to be shallow caps, which give a more tailored look to the sweater:
Then, I seamed up the sides:
Today, I had Steve try it on. If my intended wearer is local, I’ll always have him or her try the sweater on before I put on the collar and weave in the ends, just in case there’s some adjustments that still need to be made. Last-minute adjustments are so much easier if I’m not trying to pick out woven ends or removing neckline stitches.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the sweater fit, and then figured out that I’ll need about a 2-inch ribbed collar. I picked up stiches for the neckline. When I pick up neckline stitches, I don’t worry about how many I’m getting. I’d rather pick up what seems right, and then decrease to whatever number I need in the next row. For this sweater, I purled the first row of neckline stitches, then decreased to 80 stitches to begin the ribbing.
Now, I’ll finish the neckline and weave in the ends. I’ll do a photo shoot once it’s completely finished. In a few days, when anyone asks whether the sweater is done, I can say, “Of course it’s done,” as if it would be incomprehensible for it to still be a work-in-progress, now that it’s spring.