Thursday, February 22, 2007

Variations on a Rib and a Tail

I love swatching. Maybe it's because I'm a little commitment phobic, but I really enjoy playing with different patterns and getting a feel for the yarn at different gauges before deciding what I want to stick with. I've started on another seamless sweater, Zimmerman style, using a rust colored yarn that my mother in law gave me from her stash. It has some angora in it and is very soft with little wispy bits that somehow get stuck to my nose while I work with it. pfhe pfhe.

I'm playing with different types of ribbing to go at the edges. The body of the sweater has a big shadow cable in the center, and I want something that will echo the cable without being too harsh of a transition. I'm playing with some sort of fade...

I think right now my favorite is the one that starts with the 2x2 rib and fades to the little mini-shadows. But I dont' have to decide for a while!

Here's the body in progress. Tail not included.

Oh fine then -- be in the photo...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Blue Plate Special

I've been getting into color knitting, though still not quite ready to make the time commitment for a sweater on the scale of the Venezia Pullover I admire so much. Maybe in retirement. Or at least a long summer vacation...

Meanwhile, I had great fun with Brooklyn Tweed's Red Light Special Hat. Thanks for the free pattern! I worked this in blue, with some yarn that my mother in law passed along to me from her stash. Love free projects!!!!!!!

Here are some photos. My husband expressed an interest, and has been enjoying his new hat. He was kind enough to give the pig a rest from hat-modeling duty.

This is a close up of the fabric. Sadly, the camera phone is really not up to the task, but we muddle through. Suffice to say that the gradated color arrangement that I admired on BT's original in red, translated well to the blue and it looks really pretty. I went to see the Tiffany exhibit at the Met while I was working on this, and felt kind of inspired ;-)

PATTERN: Design by Brooklyn Tweed Red Light Special Hat
YARN: Various acrylic/wool/other stuff blends from the closets of assorted elderly ladies in Ontario as procured by my wonderful Mother in Law. Black background with forest green, teal, and aqua cc's.
NEEDLES: addi turbo US#3, and US#2 dpns for top
TIME: in between other projects I'd say 3/4 of a season of Netflixed Grey's Anatomy
MODIFICATIONS: I made a provisional cast on and simply turned the hem and sewed down loose stitches instead of knitting them together as directed. I used a much lighter shade cotton yarn for the hem and wasn't sure if it would show through that way.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Finished Sweater - Seam Free

I actually finished this a while ago and have been wearing it so much it's starting to pill already. Just soft little fuzz-pill, though, nothing horrible.

I love the simplicity of the sweater and the fact that it was knitted all of a piece (sleeves excepted of course). This is the interesting thing about knitting, and where I feel it has the most potential for elegance -- that you can shape the garment while creating the very fabric. Fabric and garment come into being together as one entity. Sewing is much more brutal. You start with a flat piece, cut it, stitch it, steam it, etc. and it finishes as a construction. Knitting is more like a shaping process.

Unlike many knitters, I actually don't mind seaming. I think my next couple of projects will be seamed. Nevertheless, this knitting, shaping, forming thing is nifty. I think short rows are the next step for me in that area and have been thinking about round items such as hoods, hats, bust darts...

Okay, here are some photos of the sweater.

The sleeves look really long here, but in fact they are the perfect length exactly. My mistake was in wet-blocking the sweater they got sort of heavy and stretched out in length as they dried on the mat. I should have realized that and scrunched them up into shape a little, but que sera and all that. I figured I didn't mind so much and would just wait until the sweater got its first washing to correct it, but actually they seem to have corrected themselves in the few days afterwards, scootching back up to rest at exactly the right place just an inch past my wristbone where I like them.

EZ is brilliant. The back decreases were totally easy and intuitive once I got to them. When I read ahead in the pattern I thought it would be much more difficult than it really was. Here is a closeup of the shoulder shaping. Also really simple.

I am already thinking about another seamless sweater in the round. I've got an interesting rust colored wool/angora/acrylic blend on hand that my mother in law gifted to me from her stash. I'm thinking of ribbing on the sleeves and bottom that pulls in just slightly, a big cable in the front, and some sort of floppy cowl neck, for a sort of 80's inspired slouchy look. We'll see if I can find the time for that one. This last semester of school is really hard!

PATTERN: seamless saddle shoulder sweater from Elizabeth Zimmerman's KNITTING W/O TEARS and KNITTERS WORKSHOP
YARN: Plymouth Suri Merino color 687 (the perfect bottle green). 55% suri alpaca, 45% extra fine merino wool. I looove this yarn.
NEEDLES: US #8 addi turbo 24" circular for the body, and US#8 bamboo dpns for the sleeves
TIME: Started the second week in December -ish and finished approx January 15. (Lots of good knitting time over the Christmas holiday!)
MODIFICATIONS: None, really. The pattern is pretty straightforward. I did include a hem per EZ's method of picking up stitches from the bottom of the cast-on edge. This was dead easy and turned beautifully. In the future I am going to try a different method of increasing. I don't love the small holes that occur with her m1 method, even though to be honest they almost completely disappeared after blocking. I made short rows in the back twice (for 4 total add'l rows, right?) and would probably only do this once on a future sweater as the back dips down a little teensy bit too much for my preference. I made the body in a slight bell, though, decreasing by 4 total stitches at each side as I worked up to the armpits. I like the slightly swingy shape here and it came out exactly like I wanted (obsessive measuring pays off), but because the hem doesn't rest on the body I think it actually doesn't have the riding-up issue that the short rows are intended to correct - thus, a slight dip in the back. Again, because I was looking for a slight swing shape, I did not do the fake seams. I'm really glad that I made that decision, b/c the fabric has settled into a natural curve all the way around the body that I could never have artificially induced. It fits perfectly and keeps getting better the longer I wear it.