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WIP Wednesday: Watson

Inspired by the multitude of other knitters out there, I’ve decided to participate in the work-in-progress (WIP) Wednesday tradition.

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For my first WIP, I bring you the tale of how I decided to cast on Watson by Amy Miller!

I’ve been venturing high and low here in Peru for the best alpaca yarns.  I had been hearing about Michell (a yarn distributor and exclusive fiber provider for the luxurious Sol Alpaca store), but hadn’t been able to locate one until we visited Cusco during our tour around Peru last month.

One afternoon, we walked off the main plaza in Cusco to get away from the tourist traps and happened upon a nice little park where we stopped for a rest.  After people watching for a bit and enjoying our favorite Frio Rico from the ice cream vendor, we started to walk a different way back to our hotel … and my yarn radar went off.  I had spotted the Michell shop!  Completely by accident!   Hurrah!

The store had shelves upon shelves of alpaca yarn in both fingering and DK weights in every color imaginable–from natural to solids to melange.  I wanted to take all of them home, but due to suitcase space limitations, I had to decide on just one.  I hemmed and hawed, thinking the better thing to do was to select a natural color to pay homage to the purity of the fiber.  But my lovely hubby, who patiently waited while I had the shopkeeper pull cone after cone of yarn for me to look at more closely, carefully prodded me to select what I love.  And what I love is any and all colors falling into the turquoise spectrum.  So I happily selected a lovely melange of pacific blue and dark teal.  From far away it looks like the ocean at dusk, but closer up you can see the flecks of lighter teal mixed in with the darker blue.  So complex and luxurious!  And, better yet, a whole 100 grams of yarn came in at only s./ 118 or $40!

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With yarn in hand, I started the task of finding the perfect pattern once we arrived back home. I felt that the yarn would be best suited for a light-weight, drapey cardigan and scoured Ravelry for patterns.  I didn’t have to look far because it turns out I had favorited (is that a word?) a pattern that would work perfectly for the yarn–Watson!  I love the girly lace panels on the front and back of the cardigan.  I also love the pleat detail on the back, a technique I’ve never tried before and I think makes the cardigan look nice and polished, ready to wear to the office with dress pants or with jeans to brunch on the weekend.

There were some concerns expressed by others who have knitted the design on Ravelry, but after reading through their comments and advice, I decided that I was ready to tackle it!  I whipped up some swatches, figured out my gauge was pretty close by going down one needle size (pretty typical for me), and eagerly cast on!  And, in my haste to get started, I made mistake after mistake on the lace repeats.

Confession: I hate lace charts.  They just don’t really work for me, so I usually just write out the lace chart for myself and then get going.  And, in my frenzy to cast on, I didn’t read that on the wrong side the knit stitches should be done as purl stitches and that purl stitches should be done as knit stitches.  Whoops.  After getting 28 rows into it and making mistake after mistake on the lace and getting really frustrated, I realized my error.  I took a deep breath, ripped out, edited my handwritten lace notes, and started over again.

With just this one little correction, the lace repeat went soooo much more smoothly and now I’m really cooking!  I’m about 2/3 done with the body until the pleat, which I’ve read from other Ravelry knitters is not the most clearly written part of the pattern.  I’m going to read through all their comments one more time and take it really slow when I get to that part!  Lesson learned.  Slow and steady really does win the race.

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