I've been knitting on the Gate Pullover by Margaux Hufnagel for just under a month and have now hit the halfway mark--yay for me!
If you'll remember from my first Gate Pullover post on July 4, I was just about to cast on additional provisional stitches to begin forming the front and back of my sweater. The photo above illustrates what that process looked like. Why provisional stitches (the ones in blue, hard to see, I know)? When I'm finished knitting the body of the sweater, I'll be able to remove those blue stitches and have "live" stitches revealed. The advantage here is that I can do a very nice, crisp seam with a three needle binding technique that wouldn't be possible with a finished edge (like the one running along the sides of the sleeves). Since that seam will be fairly visible it's a finishing detail that will probably pay off nicely.
At 5 inches in from the provisional cast-on edge, I split the knitting in half to create a neckline opening. Basically, I started working the front with one ball of yarn and the back with another so that the knitting did not connect between the two. There are also some shaping stitches for the front neckline but none for the back.
I'm now halfway through the neckline stitches; this also happens to be halfway through the entire knit (not counting those seams!).
The pattern has been clearly written and has not presented any challenges in understanding. I've been doing fine on that front. The yarn has been less of a pleasure to work with, which is partially the manufacturer's (I'm using Queensland Llama Soft Cotton) fault and partially mine. Cotton is an unforgiving fiber. It's tough on your muscles because you have to do all of the work! There is no spring or recovery. For lace patterns, which include lots of decrease stitches to balance the yarn-overs (eyelets), you have to shape a lot of stitches with your fingers once you've worked them on your needles. Wool doesn't need to be babied that way. So, it's slower going and causes muscle fatigue more quickly. I can't complain because I knew what I was getting into.
What I didn't sign up for is the insanely high number of knots in these skeins of yarn! One of them had four knots--four! With cotton you just have to cut that yarn at the knot and leave two tails to weave in later. This is wasteful, both in terms of yardage and time. Before this project, during all my previous knitting experience, I've encountered one knot in a skein.
Anyway, I've been doing the math on my remaining knitting. I'd like to have this sweater ready to wear before the summer starts to cool back down, before the start of September at least. I need to do four rows a day to make that mark. For the cotton and me, that's approximately a two hour daily commitment. I think that's pretty doable, but wish me luck just in case!