Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Two steps back

Both sleeves for my latest sweater adventure are blocked. The front piece is in the sink right now, and will be laid out to block shortly. And the back? The back looks like this:

Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold the phone. There's a knitted piece in that shot, along with some wound up yarn and another piece on the needles. Two back pieces? Wut?


The back is done. Except. This is knitted with handpainted yarn - Dream In Color Classy - and with it come the hazards of handpainted yarn. Namely, that skeins from the same dye lot can have perceptible differences in their colouring. Now, I was aware of this going in, and I know that one strategy in dealing with skein-to-skein variability is to alternate skeins during the knitting, so that the colours all blend together. But, alternating skeins means having two working yarns attached to the piece at any given point in time, which is, frankly, a bit of a downer. So I wound my skeins up, and didn't notice any wild differences in colouring, and decided to use the piecing strategy instead - garments worked in pieces are worked such that skein differences correspond with piece differences. This way, subtle differences between skeins are offset by a visible seam, and don't strike the eye as being odd or out of place.

Except. One skein was not so subtly different, as it turns out. I didn't notice in the winding, and I'm pretty sure all four skeins came from the same dye lot (but can't verify that, since I don't know where the ballbands are, whoops), but the skein I used to do the back piece lacks the darker bits that are beautifully scattered through the other three skeins, two more so than the third. So my sleeves and front are more variegated looking, while the back is remarkably uniform in its colour.

So there I was last night, holding all the pieces up against each other, wandering from one room to the next for different lighting, eyeing the difference between the back and everything else, and wondering if it was so bad. And the answer was no, not really - it wasn't weird, it's not as if I hauled off and knit the back in an entirely different colour. I told myself that I could live with it.

And then I went and weighed what I had left over from the sleeves and front, which is a pretty big flag indicating that given the option, I'd rather not live with it.

I have 97 g of the more variegated stuff leftover. Each skein weighed about 100 g, I believe, and I had a smidge leftover from the back's skein as well. So I'm trying a reknit of the back, using the more variegated leftovers. I think I should have enough. It's gotta be worth a try, at least. Things worth doing are worth doing right.

So there you have it. Two backs for a single sweater.

And no, the plan is not to have an extra knitted back kicking about for all of perpetuity. I'll take it out and turn it into a hat or something.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some déjà vu knitting to do.

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