Saturday, March 31, 2007

Perfect Paula

Paula's sweater is finished! And if I do say so myself, it looks quite snazzy! It's not totally my style, and it doesn't fit me particularly well, but that's because it's my mom's style and is sized to fit her.

Okay, it's not 100% complete... the button bands in this picture are pinned closed. But that's because I am taking my time lavishing all the gourmet details on it -- grosgrain ribbons on the inside of the button bands and fancy shell buttons obtained on a special trip to M&J Trimmings. I hope she likes it!

Debbie Bliss Merino DK yarn, mauve (discontinued)
Size 6 Knitpicks Options needles
Pattern: original, vintage recreation
Begun: March 8, 2007
Finished: March 31, 2007

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The home stretch

Paula's Neo-vintage sweater is so close to completion! All of the pieces are knit and the shoulders have been three-needle bound off, and now it only remains for me to sew on the sleeves (with my breath held in the hopes that my fudgy armscye math worked out okay), seam up the body and the sleeves, and knit on the collar! I have grand plans to have the whole thing finished and blocking by the time I leave for choir rehearsal tonight -- and just in time too, to get it in under the wire as my March sweater for the sweater-a-month knitalong.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Audible sigh

Those are my feet, in my pajamas, standing in a patch of sun in my kitchen. All of which elements, put together, reveal two important facts: 1) that it is sunny and warm outside, and 2) that it is spring break!! I don't have to go to work for two weeks!

So I am celebrating my first day of break by hanging around in my pajamas as long as humanly possible, luxuriating with my knitting:

Monday, March 19, 2007

There's pansies: that's for thoughts

I'm about halfway through with my mother's vintage sweater recreation, having completed one front and one and a half arms. The knitting has been going quickly, because the cables are easy to memorize and there are only a few of them, placed judiciously for best effect:

The arm also only has a small decorative cable:

Dramatic lighting, eh? This will be the first time I've designed my own armscye, and I am worried about the way it will fit. We'll have to wait and see...

Friday, March 9, 2007

Sneak preview

I am already at work on the next sweater on my list -- recently it seems to be all about the cables with me. The current project is an attempt to recreate a vintage sweater my grandmother bought once on her one and only luxury shopping venture with a personal consultant -- it is a beautiful but very petite hand-knit tan cabled sweater with snake cables framing the button band and bust, and a fancy leaf extending from the bottom hem to just below the bust. The button band is knit in one piece with the fronts, and there is a cabled rib neckline and puffed sleeves. The cable pattern extends into the hemline ribbing, a detail I like a lot. I'm omitting the puffed sleeves and trying out some different cables, but I am keeping the fancy below-bust detail, which adds some nice shaping without any decreasing or increasing. Here is is one front, up to the end of the fancy cabling:

Meanwhile, I reblocked Bristow, and it fits me now to a T. It also regained some of its bounce. Lovely, lovely Bristow, how I adore thee...

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Things I Have Learned

  • That gauge swatching with ruthless honesty is really important.
  • That wet blocking is miraculous enough to stretch a sweater from size 33" to size 37".
  • That stretching wool like this in blocking gives it a weird drape and no bounce.
  • That none of these things matter when you have knit your first adult-size sweater, and you are just blissfully happy to wear your handiwork to school.

I discovered after seaming up my Bristow that what looked like it was going to be too small really was too small. As in, the size a twelve-year-old might wear. I also discovered the source of the problem: although my gauge swatch seemed to be knit at a tension of 4.5 stitches per inch, the finished sweater turned out to be knit at 5.5 stitches per inch. In retrospect, this was probably the case with the gauge swatch too, I just didn't want to admit it. So that meant that what was supposed to be 18" across the back turned out to be a little less than 16" across the back.

I resigned myself to ripping it out, but decided first to block it and see how big I could make it with stretching. The answer: it is now actually a little too big. I am going home tonight to re-block it and stretch it a little less -- which would be a good thing, because stretched as it is across the upper back right now, it's actually looking a little threadbare, and I'd like those stitches to plump back up and fill in the gaps. This is, admittedly, both a mean way to treat your fiber and a poor solution to the problem, but I don't really care. It's still significantly nicer than anything I have knit before, and I kind of like the fact that it isn't just perfect.

Oh, and another thing I learned: don't let your student photograph you outside in -20 F windchill, unless you want to look like a walrus with a weird hairdo:


Pattern: Bristow, from Knitty, size S (and then super-small with the blocking debacle)
Debbie Bliss Merino DK, color 202, overdyed with orange Kool-Aid
Size 4 and 7 Knitpicks options needles
Project started February 8, 2007
Project completed March 3, 2007