Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sweaters, Vests and Time Management

My first sweater was the Hooded Knitted Sweaters from Lion Brand's collection of free on-line patterns. This pattern is for the whole family but I've stuck to the children's section. Blue for the boys and pink for T. How traditional of me! The yarn is Madame Tricote: Festival which I found at the souk. It was quite soft and pretty easy to work with, but being 3 (loose) ply of three shades of the base color, the needles did sometimes split through and I had to be careful. I made these this summer so they, and a lot of other projects, would be ready to take to California in August. Although this is a pretty simple project I learned a few things. I learned the 3 needle bind off for the shoulders and hood. I also learned about picking up stitches and that straight or even circular needles don't work when you need to go around a small neck! Nope, didn't know about DPNs and didn't acquire any until much later! Don't ask how I got those hoods attached. I still don't know how I did it! Here's T's pink sweater and N's blue one.

Unfortunately I screwed up the hood size on S's and made it way too short. And of course I didn't think to bring any of the yarn with me so I had to bring the sweater back and finish it here. Well it too is done and is sitting in the box of Oh So Late Chanuka presents!

Next was a pair of vests. I sort of locked myself into buying the yarn and didn't know what to do with it. Inspiration flashed and I decided vests were in order. The problem? I couldn't find a pattern that spoke to me. After a lot of advice and encouragement from Menucha and Yael from my Avodat Yad list I decided on a standard V neck vest with dimensions coming from Ann Budd's "The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns" and a cable from Vogue Knitting's Complete Knitting Guide. Trying to get the cable to end at the right place for the V neck was not something I had taken into consideration and while I might be able to get away with this neck opening for the S's in 6yr, I don't think N is going to be able to get his head through his! So I will be doing some frogging and figuring out a way to fix them before I send them off. I just hope by the time they arrive they aren't too small!!
Yarn is Teddy Carisma worked on 5mm needles. It's 2 ply, one is self striping the other grey.

While the vests were waiting around for seaming and arm and neck bands I started on childHood from Knitty. I found this great variegated yarn from Granada and a matching blue for the bands. I had many trials with this cardigan but I persevered! Still I'm glad I went for the no hood version! At first I wanted to do a reverse stockinette because I don't like the chevron look of the variegation. So to make the bands stand out I did them in stockinette. Next I had to knit the fronts twice because I stupidly tried blocking acrylic with heat. I know better than that! Also, if you look closely at the neck shaping I screwed up the band placement so one side rides high. Once everything was knit I realized they edges all rolled. This is how I learned that it's the garter stitch that keeps them from rolling around. So I removed the bands from the bottom of the sleeves, fronts and back and picked, flipped everything around so it was now a regular stockinette, picked up the stitches and re knit all the bands in garter. childHood actually closes with snaps, the buttons are decorative. I couldn't find any buttons I liked either. But then one night after all the seaming was done and all was missing was the buttons, as I started climbing into bed at 3 am I remembered that I had these big faceted plastic beads that might work. Then and there I went rummaging and in the bag of beads I found green and lavender which perfectly brought out those colors in the yarn. No, I wasn't in love with it but I put enough work into it and the coloring should be good for T so I decided to finish it. I also knew I had to do it again, the right way!

This time I followed the pattern completely including the strip effect. And I have to say, this one makes me VERY happy. They are both made for 6yr so they would last so it may be sometime before I know how well they fit.

While I learn more creative stitching with the scarves I am learning a lot about knitting from the sweaters too. I still need to improve my seaming technique and I want to understand sizing better so I can start doing some designing. Not being a small person, many of the patterns I see either don't come in my size or I can't imagine them looking good on me. Still I have finally started a sweater for myself. Also from Knitty, Banff is considered an easy pattern. It's raglan sleeve take care of difficult shoulder fitting and the ribbed waist and extra long ribbing at the sleeves suit me. Perhaps horizontal stripes aren't the best choice and of course the striping on the body wont match that of the sleeves, but I loved the colors in this yarn and I'm taking my chances. So far I've finished one sleeve so I could see how it would look.

I just started Kaleigh Young's Angora Wrap Cardigan for T, (picture removed) which comes from Vogue's Knitting on the Go: Kid's Knits. I am using Teddy Lady Mohair Rich in almost the same shade of pink. I've only done the 8 row repeat once so there isn't much to show yet.

Finally I did a swatch of Woven Cables in Relief from 365 Stitches a Year Perpetual Calender. I plan on making a sweater for S who is feeling a bit neglected since his brother and sister seem to be getting a lot of wear from their Hood Knit Sweater while he patiently waits for his. The pic on the left is from the calender. Either their swatch is much bigger than 4" or they used much smaller needles than I did! You do get a much better feel for the effect in their swatch but I am pretty happy with mine. Yarn is Vitalgo's Oxford. 30% wool and very soft. The color is actually lighter and brighter than the pic.

So, the box of presents is finally about to be sealed and sent off to California. I will just send the vests separately later on. Perhaps the wrap sweater will be ready sooner rather than later.

Next time... Entrelac Intricacies


Anonymous said...

Dear Tante J, Thank you for casting your purls before us swine. Reading your blog helps me knit up the ravelled sleeve of care. What a pleasure!

YajB (WoolleyMomMyth) said...

Yo J -
The cabled vest roxx!
What yarn are you using for Banff? It's intriguing.
Cheers ma dear!

Tante J said...

Thanks Y!

This chunky roving is from Teddy's (new) Himalaya line. 50% wool/50% acrylic, 50g/70m balls. I saw about 4 or 5 different color stipe combos at the LYS close the Tachana Mercazit. There may be more.

Orlop =) said...

Loving your work. I'd love to make a wrap cardigan like for my self.