Sunday, November 28, 2010

Impulsive Winter Sweater Live Model Shot

Dear readers, sorry to have been away.

Here's the Impulsive Winter Sweater, complete and modelled by step-dad, its new owner. As I came near to finishing the sweater, I sort of knew it was for him. I think it looks great on him, and it is as warm as toast so hopefully it'll come in handy.

How's that for impulsive. Now I have to knit another for myself. I'll have another look in my (tidy, organised) stash. Maybe I can find something with a teeny bit more drape. I like drape.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Impulsive Winter Progress

I set the troublesome sleeve aside and knit another on 7mm needles, a size smaller. The new sleeve turned out great, so I knit another just like it. Then I cast on for the body: I've just finished the ribbing.

I have never knit a sweater in the round before, apart from Green Silk Frustration, which is a top-down number. This one is bottom-up and I am loving it! Firstly, no seams to sew! A complete sweater is coming off my needles! Secondly, it is hilariously like knitting a large sock. Wish me luck for a speedy finish.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Colinette Socks

Here's a pair of socks with an unexpected history. I promised a pair to a friend, and picked this Colinette yarn out of my stash. I wanted them to be extra-special socks, so with the help of Cool Socks, Warm Feet, I went for the following options: toe-up (I usually knit top-down, and choosing toe-up proved to be a mistake, but at the time I was concerned about not running out of yarn); Bosnian square toe; Turkish heel; garter stitch turnover cuff.

As you can see, they turned out rather well. The Bosnian square toe is where you knit a square of garter stitch, and then pick up stitches all around to start knitting the foot. It was fun. The Turkish heel is just basically a wedge toe knitted at the heel end. That was fun too, and so was the cuff. The thick Colinette yarn made for quick progress and I finished these ahead of my gift deadline with about a day to spare.

Which was a good job, because it turns out I'd misjudged the length of the foot. My friend takes a size 4 shoe. These socks are a size 7. Because I'd knit them toe-up, there was nothing I could do to correct the foot length within the time available. Gah! What to do? I took my beautiful silk Jaywalkers out of the drawer, where they have been nestling all this time among scented paper, unpicked the toes and altered them to fit a small foot. My friend was delighted. A good save, I think. Now I know why we keep virgin pairs of handknit socks around the house.

Impulsive Winter Sweater: Sleeve dilemmas

Ok, so here is the sleeve of the winter sweater I am making. It is on top of the black jumper I'm trying to replace, because I'd like them to have similar dimensions.

My gauge must be slightly off because for a start the orange sleeve is an inch longer than the pattern suggests, and 1.5" longer than my black sweater. Also you will notice that orange sleeve is much narrower than the black one. It is at this point that I need to realise that these two sweaters are not the same, no matter how much I might imagine they are related.

  • The black one is made of very old and threadbare chenille: it is limp and floppy. The orange one is made of new, sturdy and thick wool with lots of depth and spring. A sleeve as wide as the black one in that orange wool would be too big and heavy to wear, I think.
  • The black one has set-in sleeves but the orange one is going to be a raglan. I think you have to plan extra armhole depth with set-in sleeves, which could account for the underarm depth difference.

So I shall not worry that they don't look the same. However, that orange sleeve is still an inch longer than the pattern says, which is a problem.

  • I could reknit the whole sleeve, resetting all the inreases, which would allow me to have the full 48 sts when I reach the new, shorter length.
  • I could reknit the whole sleeve on smaller needles to correct my row gauge.
  • I could just rip the sleeve back to the right length and suffer having a narrower circumference and fewer stitches at the point of the sleeve reaching the underarm. I haven't thought this through yet and need to check the pattern to understand the likely implications.
  • I could leave it the length it is and turn the cuffs back.
  • I could put it on a length of waste yarn and try knitting the body to see if that helps me know what to do about the sleeves.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Impulsive Winter Sweater

All right, I think I've made a decision. I've got some Rowan Plaid yarn in the stash. It is very soft (42% merino, 30% acrylic, 28% alpaca) and I have just noticed it needs huge 8mm needles! 3 stitches per inch! That settles it. Yarn that fat promises quick results.

I've also just measured my ratty old black sweater and discovered that it is a massive 44" chest circumference! No wonder it is cosy. It would never have occurred to me to plan a sweater with that much ease, so I'm glad I measured! I think I will make a swatch which hopefully will also be the first sleeve. Unless I decide to knit in the round from the bottom up.

Let's return to our knitting

Well well, I am sorry to have been gone so long. I have been experiencing some life changes, and investing some serious hours in various responsibilities. I also took up a new hobby which I'll perhaps tell you about another time. So that has taken me away from my knitting.

However. I recklessly promised a friend of mine a pair of socks, which are newly complete (kind of, it's a long story) and which I will show you a photo of next time, so knitting forced its way back into my busy schedule. I finished the socks ahead of the deadline and ever since I cast off the last stitch I've had itchy, twitchy fingers. Today I found myself reading a knitting book on the bus and fantasising about a sweater that I want to make.

So here we are. I had quite forgotten that it is supposed to be the year of finishing the UFO, and that I was making a doll sweater. What I want right now is a jumper to replace the one I'm wearing, which is utterly threadbare. It is such a simple and comfy shape. Winter cold is setting in here, and I want a jumper this shape, in a soft, cosy yarn, in a nice colour. I'm thinking cornflower blue. It's a generously-propotioned garment, so I think we're looking for a chunky yarn otherwise it'll take forever to knit. I might go and have a look in my stash now, actually.

Hooray! A new sweater is coming!