Saturday, July 15, 2006

knitting has me treed

I have hit such a knitting wall.

My angora sweater has been ripped and re-done too many times to count, and is now waiting patiently in little balls. I tried some different lace patterns, but so little of the brown was being used that I decided it wasn't worth it. I am not in the mood to be adding yarn to my collection - I really want it knitted up and in use. I think I may make a cropped jacket out of it. I need to think more about what stitches I'll be using (maybe beads, too?) but I know what the basic style will be.

I have finally come to terms with the fact that Annie Modesitt's top-down silk corset is just not going to work out for me. In my first attempt, I managed to get to the waist before trying it on and finding it a little too small for it to be truly comfortable. That is when I realized that either the math is off for the amount of stitches to cast on, or Art Yarns' Regal Silk has way more stretch than Reynold's Mandalay. I recalculated a few numbers and cast on for two sizes bigger. This time I was more careful to try it on, and by converting it to the round it was easier to judge fit. It was going tolerably well until, again, I reached the waist. That's when I realized that this pattern is definitely not meant for someone who has 8" difference between bust and waist. The corset looks incredibly lumpy on me - not quite the look I was going for. I considered short rows, but really I am just so sick of knitting this that I think it's over. Again, this leaves me with quite a bit of silk yarn with no purpose. I am so adamantly against having a stash with no purpose, but I think fate is conspiring against me! I think I might make this into some sort of shell or short-sleeved sweater, but for now it has me boggled.

All of this is particularly frustrating, since I've promised myself that I can't start work on my next fair isle sweater until I finish these two projects. Grr.

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

designing an angora sweater

I learned an important designing lesson tonight.

My angora sweater has a huge brown border - it totals at 5.5" on the body, and on the sleeves it's 5". I had lofty ideas of this border ending at my waist, so that when the blue began my waist would be nicely accented. I also thought that having the lighter color on the bottom would do lovely things with shadow.

After having to rip out my silk corset-style tank because of severe sizing issues, I became suspicious of my angora sweater. Upon trying it on (what I thought was the whole body of the sweater, and about 33% of one sleeve) I discovered that all of my pretensions at designing had been even worse than I'd imagined. The body's wide border looked as though I hadn't had enough blue yarn (we're hoping this isn't true) and decided to just throw in some brown to help it along. The sleeves looked very mismatched from the body, although with that monstrosity it would be hard to find any sleeve to match it. Its only good points were the fit and how lovely the angora looked.

Slowly I realized that I had been too severe with my decisions. Gigantic borders and geometric prints are fine, but not when put on a rather ordinary little sweater. I tried folding up the borders to see how it looked, but it just wasn't what I had in mind. Plus, who wanted to deal with all of that leftover brown angora, when there are so many tesselating fish to knit already? I was almost about to rip it all out and sell my disappointment on Ebay when I had a stroke of inspiration. Hundreds of outrageous designs, by people like Michael Kors and Kate Spade, sell every year. The trick in this case wasn't to dull down the outrageous, but go completely overboard with it. I put on my most designer-y jeans and thought it out. By pulling the body down a good three inches on my body, the brown now looked like the border it was supposed to be. In doing this, my partial sleeve slipped a little over my hand - perfect. The body now ended just below my bust line. By starting a v-neck at this point I'll not only save on yarn, but will complete my "extreme" look.

I have high hopes for this sweater now. I think it is going to look quite respectable - but heaven save me if I change my mind one more time!

Edited to add that I just looked and I have nowhere near enough blue yarn, and the Internet has never even heard of Unger's Yum Yum. I am going to have to think.