Monday, February 16, 2009

Ye Olde Inis Meáin Sweater

I made this sweater 15 years ago, back when I didn't know much, but was so captivated by the design, I just had to try it. I was so broke back then, there was no way I could afford the Rowan Magpie the pattern called for, and I took my chances with a Bartlett style heavy 2-ply worsted I found at Fabric Place, for somewhere between 4 and 5 bucks per skein. I had used it before, on a couple of less complex sweaters, and thought it would serve me well on this one, too. It did. I still love this sweater.
It took me a good six months to make, as I mentioned in an earlier entry, and the really sad part is that I burned a hole in the front of it two days after it was done. We had a gas stove back then, and I wondered why the rice I as cooking smelled so funky, and then I stepped back and saw what I thought was a streak of dirt on the sweater. So, I brushed it with my fingers and was utterly horror-struck when the stitches, blackened to ash, disintegrated at my touch. Somehow, I managed a duplicate stitch graft, the likes of which I had not accomplished before, nor have I accomplished since, and now even I can't tell where the hole was. Some ultra-compassionate knitting angel must have been smiling down on me that day.

I haven't worked much on the brown version over the last few days, but am in no particular hurry. I want to take my time and enjoy the knitting, as it is working up much faster than its predecessor did.

Both the sweater and my Noro mistake rib hat came in handy in Newport and Jamestown yesterday when Keith and I went walking. It was windy out, so colder than it would have been without the wind. It was nice to be able to walk a little distance again, and to do it outside.

Weight loss report is good today. I dropped another 1.2 lbs, so that makes a total of about 31 lbs so far. Someday soon I will post my "before" picture, from Halloween 2008. Seeing those pictures of myself was the beginning of feeling like something had to change, and change soon, or I'd be on the fast track to gastric bypass surgery. I'd much rather see if I can stay healthy by a change in lifestyle that would still allow me to "cheat" on special occasions, without overindulging. I realize now, it was very true that I was hardly eating a thing because the weight gain was scaring me so badly. What didn't realize was I was perpetually reaching for the wrong thing. The quick thing. Pizza when I felt too lethargic to cook. Toast and cheese when I was too broke to buy pizza. Even if I ordered pizza with lots of veggies on it, that couldn't begin to compensate for the overload of carbs.

Portion control has been a real eye-opener, too. Restaurants do not help with this at all. I do not "need" a lumberjack-sized portion of anything, regardless of how good it might taste. I'm cooking at home more, exploring vegan and vegetarian foods in addition to the usual meat, seafood, and poultry. It's all good. And -- no pun intended -- I haven't found a "turkey" amongst the Weight Watchers recipe files yet. Dieting has come a long way, in that it no longer feels like a punishment. The food is good. Many things one might think of as forbidden are allowed, as long you know your limits.

This is for life, though. I hope my resolve remains firm!


Alison said...

They're both gorgeous sweaters! And I love the description of the mending.

One very thick cookbook that my daughters and I love, that we've never found a recipe in it that we didn't like, is The Passionate Vegetarian by a woman who renamed herself in the 60's as Crescent Dragonwagon and then never got around to changing it back.

I'm not a vegetarian (one of my daughters is), but I love the food that comes out of those pages! Had some tonight.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi, Your sweater is gorgeous... and your new beginning one too.. beautiful spun and prepared rovings... when I spin I usually hand card or drum.. I have never bought roving ready made though.. I like the whole process..I love spinning but I don't get to do it much...

and the view you are in front of in one of your shots is spectacular!! Is that Scotland or near your home?