Monday, January 29, 2007

around and around

This sleeve didn't work for a variety of reasons. My plan was to incorporate a steek at the top, so that I wouldn't have to work back and forth to shape the sleeve cap. Unfortunately, even my small 3 stitch steek added enough bulk at the arm hole (where there was another steek for the body) that it was uncomfortable and looked strange. I had planned to sew it in place, but literally over night about two inches of an arm hole steek mysteriously unraveled. I've been questioning the cat, but she pleads the fifth and reminds me that she's innocent until proven guilty.

So, I try again. This time I used a technique I learned from knitting the Crichton cardigan, also in Sweaters From Camp. After I grafted the shoulder, I picked up stitches from around the arm hole, added on the stitches at the underarm that I had put on a string, and started knitting down. I had thought that it would bother me that the body was knitted up, and the sleeves down, but I think it looks fine. I also had to pick up stitches from the actual pattern, not the line of brown that I had made because it unraveled, but I think after a blocking it should look okay. I've tried it on and there's none of the lumpiness that the previous sleeve had, so it looks like I'm on the right track. Sorry these photos are so dark - the ones in the last post are actually true to color. However, it's in the single digits (Farenheit) outside, and I'd rather deal with the poor lighting indoors than go anywhere near the door.

In the meantime, I've started Salina from Rowan's Vintage Knits and the Lopi Mittens from Folk Mittens. Salina is made from Cascade 220 in a heathered merlot color, and the Lopi Mittens are made from even more leftover Crichton.

I know some people hate thumbs that stick straight up on the mitten, but I love them. It makes the mitten look so tidy. I've also discovered that not having a tight cuff isn't a bad thing, as long as the mitten is long enough in the wrist to tuck into your jacket sleeve. This is good, because I find it more fun to start right in on the pattern than have to do a few inches of mindless ribbing first. The second one will be knitted as soon as the first sleeve of Snow Sky is done - they both use my US 3 needles and I don't want to buy another pair.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

the charm

You know what they say about the third time...

Here's Snow Sky's body, completely done. I fiddled around (a lot) with the numbers and ended up with a formula for waist shaping that, if I did it right, I'll apply to all future patterned sweaters. The middle steek that you see is for the neck - the patterning goes wonky around it because I decreased on either side of the steek for a deep V-neck. The steeks on the left and right are for the sleeves. I figured out how to accomplish a set-in sleeve, and if this goes smoothly, I'll be applying this to other patterned sweaters as well. I'm not sure if I've done something to be proud of, or if I'm just causing the original fair isle knitters a lot of grief in their graves.

Next, I'll be cutting the steeks, and then grafting the shoulders together. After that, I'll knit the sleeves and sew them in and I'll be done!

I've already decided that my next sweaters will be the Shirt-Tail Hemmed pullover in Sweaters From Camp, and probably the wedding cardigan from Poetry In Stitches. If I can apply my same formulas to these two sweaters and have the shaping come out well, I'll be writing up what I did and hopefully somebody will find it useful.

I'm not completely stuck in Scandinavian knitting, though. I have a single color project that I'll be sharing soon.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

the return of snow sky

I know, I know. This picture looks like old news. Actually, if you look closely, you'll see that this is my second attempt at Snow Sky. Last weekend I managed to finish both sleeves, and was well on my way to finishing the cardigan when I realized that I'd spent so much time worrying about matching the patterns on sleeve and body that I'd completely forgotten that the actual body of the sweater would have to be the same on front and back for the shoulder grafting to work correctly. So, out came all my knitting and I started again. Everything is pretty much the same, except that I went down one needle size to US 3s in order to fit in more pattern repeats in the same amount of space. I'm also being much more careful to keep my yarn in the correct hand, since in my last attempt I was unwittingly switching hands every time I picked up the sweater, and it was pretty obvious.

I really want to have the body and sleeves joined by the end of the week, so we'll see how that goes. After I finish this I want to start one of the sweaters from Poetry in Stitches - the projects in that book are so beautiful that it's good incentive to think about them as I churn away on this one.

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