design, sweater

Back Neck Shaping- A Stab In the Dark

dragonbackThe back piece of my dragon sweater is off the needles and blocked.  I couldn’t seem to follow my own directions and had to rip out the entire thing back to the underarm bind off.  Apparently I cannot watch TV and knit at the same time.

I’ve noticed lately that many of my favorite shirts and sweaters not only have waist shaping, they also have shaping at the back of the neck.  Instead of researching what a normal back neck shaping curve looks like, I threw caution to the wind and mimicked my front neck curve with much less depth.  I’m hoping that I don’t regret my laziness after this thing is assembled.   It’s about an inch in depth.  I started the curve when I started the shoulder slope shaping.

Here’s a close up of the neck:

dragonbackneckIt looks a bit messy but it should work out okay once stitches are picked up for the collar… as long as it’s not too deep.

And, since I had so many stitches to reduce to get from the bust measurement to the shoulder-to-shoulder measurement, I ended up decreasing every row in the underarm.  I don’t think it looks too bad:

dragonbackunderarmThe first sleeve has been cast on.  I’m resisting the urge to over-complicate the sweater design by adding a motif of some sort up the sleeve.  Plain stockinette is a bit tedious but at least it goes quickly in-the-round.  I’m knitting the sleeves without a seam until the underarm to keep it fast and easy.

This project has been going a bit slow because I’ve been getting side-tracked with other things like painting yarns.  We keep having these strange warm & sunny winter days and I can’t resist the urge to haul my things out to the yarn and play with wet wool and color!  Here are some pics of my latest batch.  These hanks are a soft and cushy worsted weight superwash merino.  You can find them in my Etsy shop.  Dyeing yarn has become just about as addictive as knitting.  I’m definitely knitting something with painted yarns in my next project!  🙂

felicitycloseup3felicitycloseup4felicitycloseup

uncategorized

New Yarn = Rethinking How to Plan a Sweater

Drops AirAfter reading many gushing reviews on this yarn, I placed an order and waited *somewhat* patiently for “the softest and fluffiest yarn ever” to make it’s way across the ocean and onto my front porch.  It’s called Air and it’s by Drops out of the UK.  Composed mainly of alpaca with some poly and merino thrown in, it’s not plied but blown into a tube to form the yarn!  They say it’s 30% lighter than plied yarns.

It really does feel like you are holding air or a cloud in your hands when you pick it up.  It’s remarkably light and fluffy!

I may have gone overboard by ordering 2 sweaters worth of this yarn, especially since I’m trying to knit only out of my stash.  But now that it’s become part of my stash, I’m still working towards that goal.  Right?!?

Even though it is impossible to capture the feel of a yarn with a photograph, I’m still going to try.  Here it is in pink.  It looks and feels like cotton candy.

AirNow, it’s time to get to work and figure out what do to with this stuff. It would be great for anything next to the skin. And, since I bought so much of the yarn, I’m thinking a sweater would be perfect.

First things first, I knitted up a swatch.  And then I mulled over ideas for a plan of attack.  Since my last sweater was a huge challenge with the near-impossible sleeve cap, I’ve decided to change my approach.  Instead of starting blind with only body measurements, I’ve instead pulled out my favorite store-bought sweater with a tape measure in hand.

swatchandaplanThe measurements of the much-loved wearable sweater are plotted out and I’m going to follow this shape carefully with my new project.  Of course the store-bought sweater is made from a finer yarn so I’m thinking of adding a 1/2″ of ease everywhere to accommodate for the thicker yarn.  And, I had no idea that there was waist shaping in the old sweater until I measured.  That little bit of shaping really must make a difference to the overall silhouette.

I’m excited to cast on but I still need to figure out things like stitch pattern, stripes or no stripes, cardigan or pullover, pockets and details.  But, besides planning my sweater, I’ve been working on adorable items for my Etsy shop.  Here’s a peek:

markers

design, sleevecap, sweater

Plotting a Succesful Sleeve Cap- What a Learning Curve!

sleevecapfinalAfter four separate attempts, I’ve finally produced a wearable sleeve cap!  It’s a little embarrassing that I totally overlooked taking the around-the-arm shoulder-to-shoulder measurement and kept producing silly narrow sleeve caps, but at least I figured it out!  In case you missed it, you can catch up from my previous post, the sleeve cap nightmare.

The bottom line of sleeve cap design is that the sleeve cap must 1) fit into the armhole and 2) fit over your arm.  I was totally neglecting the second requirement!

Here’s a schematic of what was going on:sleevecurveMy sweater had a ton of ease that I had to reduce away to get the sweater narrow enough at the shoulders for the set-in sleeve.  This required a large bind off and then lots of reducing afterwards.  Most sweater design books suggest that your sleeve cap reduction mimic this curve.  But, as you can see, for my sleeve, this means that I’m reduced to only 6″ of fabric before I even get to the top of the sleeve cap.  I knit 2 narrow sleeve caps in a row and seamed them into place with disastrous results, as you can imagine.

Once I finally measured my arm from shoulder-to-shoulder and then measured the sleeve cap from an existing sweater, it dawned on me that I was reducing too many stitches in the initial curve.  Eliminating the steep reducing slope on my sleeve cap kept enough stitches to adequately cover my arm.  Yay for that!  It turns out that most adults need around 3″ on the final bind off and over 8″ in width across the upper arm.  Who knew?!?

I was so focused on making sure that the circumference of the sleeve cap curve would match the circumference of the armhole that I totally overlooked the width.  To ensure the pieces will match up when seamed, the rows on each piece have to match.  But since we’ve got that horizontal bind off of the sleeve cap to match with the vertical rows of the armhole, the bind off rows need to be translated into vertical rows.  Understanding this helps you determine how tall you can make the sleeve cap.

In the end, I’m glad I conquered my fear of the sleeve cap and on the fourth try, got it to fit.  🙂  Next time, I may plot out the sleeve cap before I knit the sleeve.  A little extra ease in the sleeve would have also given me more stitches to work with and the curves could have matched up a little more.

blocking, design, sweater

How Do You Really Block a Sweater?

blockingAs my newest sweater piece came off the needles, contradictory advice on wet blocking swirled in my head.  I’ve been on a bit of book binge and have purchase some new knitting books:  “Finishing School” by Deborah Newton and “Knowledgeable Knitter” by Margaret Radcliffe.

Ms. Newton is a pattern designer and declares that “less is more” when it comes to blocking- with the caveat that you should treat your swatch as you would your finished garment.  She talks about taking your hand-knits to the dry cleaners and that a little bit of steaming is generally enough. Ms. Radcliffe, on the other hand, extols the virtues of wet blocking and highly recommends wet blocking your pieces before assembly.  She says that many yarns can be wet blocked.  In fact, the manufacturers will generally say “dry clean” if they feel a dye may run and that water will not damage the fiber.  The two books take very different approaches to blocking.

blocking3I suppose if the main purpose of your garment is to be photographed for a magazine and not worn regularly, then wet blocking (aka hand-washing) isn’t crucial.  So, steaming is enough as your sweater will never see water in it’s entire life.  But, if like me, you plan on wearing your handknits, and eventually hand-washing, then wet-blocking both your swatch and your sweater is very important!  At least that is the conclusion I have drawn.

I don’t mean to pick on Ms. Newton or her book.  In fact, there is a goldmine of information in there.  The blocking piece just confused me for a while because I’ve just recently gotten into the habit of wet-blocking my swatches because of former knitting disasters and the “less is more” advice had me second-guessing myself and scratching my head.  🙂

blocking2My latest sweater is a stash buster.  I’m going for a crazy, garish, super-comfy sweater.  I’m planning on knitting the other side of the front with different colored stripes to add to the obnoxious-ness of the sweater.  So far, only the front left piece completed.  I’m holding a fingering weight yarn double and the two-colors-at-a-time approach gives each stripe at heathered appearance which I like.  The yarn is Palette from Knit Picks that was in my stash.  I’m going to try to knit projects from my stash for a while to see if I can get to a point where I can open my yarn cabinet without yarn jumping off the shelves at me.  After 4-5 sweaters, I should get my stash down to a reasonable size.

KnitBookUsing a technique picked up from yet another knitting book, The Big Book of Knitting, I’ve inserted diagonal pockets into the front of the sweater.  I think they are a little on the small side but it’s not worth it to me to rip them back.  Perhaps during finishing, I could rip out the sewing and pick up stitches and extend the pockets all the way to the center.  We’ll see.

And, I notice on the blocking mat that the center yellow stripe is 2 rows too short!  It’s not a huge, big deal as long as I match the short stripe on the right side and back pieces.  My sweater will just be .25″ shorter than I planned.  I’m just glad it didn’t happen in the arm hole.  No one likes squeezy armholes!  I suppose I could perform surgery on this sweater to add back the stripes like I did with my lounger socks.  Hmmm… maybe surgery is in order.

socksurgery4This sweater seems to be flying off the needles since I’m not writing a pattern at the same time.  And, I’ve ordered a purple metal zipper for the front closure from an Etsy shop.  I really love Etsy.  There are some amazing hand-made things on there in addition to the entire section of craft supplies.  I’ve got my eye on an interchangeable knitting needle case.  Is it not the best design for interchangeables?  My current interchangeable needle storage method is the “stuff them all into a drawer” method.  This would be a HUGE improvement.

**Free Patterns**, sweater

Conspiracy Sweater- Free Pattern

pdfbutton

illuminatiDoneAn all-seeing eyeball floats above golden bricks and is all dressed up with a bow-tie!  Whether or not you are familiar with the character of Bill Cipher from Gravity Falls, this sweater is an eye-catcher.  🙂  Lots of ease and full sleeve make this oversized sweater a very comfortable fit.  This pullover is knit in the round from the bottom up until the intarsia panel.  After the shoulders are seamed together, stitches are picked up around the armhole and a sleeve is knit in place down to the cuffs.

Shown in size XL with 4 inches of positive ease.

Skill Level– Intermediate
Sizes– sm (med, lg, xl, 2x, 3x)
Finished Measurements (Chest) in inches– 35.5 (40, 44, 48, 53, 56)
Yarn– Knit Picks Brava Worsted (or other worsted weight yarn). Approximately 880 (1020, 1200, 1310, 1500, 1610) yds of MC (Custard) yarn, 150-200 yds of SC (Caution) yarn, 220 yds of Black yarn, 155 yds of White yarn.
Gauge– 4.5 stitches per inch and 6.25 rpi in stockinette with size 7 needle
Skills Required– Knitting in the round, intarsia, crochet chain, seaming.

conspiracysweaterdiagramDirections
CO 160 (180, 200, 216, 240, 256) sts. Join for working in the round, being careful not to twist. Place marker at BOR.
Ribbing: K 16 round in 2×2 ribbing. Note: this ribbing is set up by *k2, p2 * repeat to the end of the round. On all subsequent
rounds, knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.
Bricks
The bricks are made by purling where the vertical brick lines belong. During the finishing of the sweater, you will come back
to the bricks and crochet in the vertical brick lines over the purled stitches with your SC yarn.
Brick Line Round: With SC, k all sts.
Even Round: With MC, k all sts.
First Brick Round: With MC [k15 (17, 19, 17, 15, 15), p1]* *repeat to EOR.
Repeat First Brick Round a total of 7 times.
Brick Line Round: With SC, [k15 (17, 19, 17, 15, 15), p1]* *repeat to EOR.
Even Round: With MC, k all sts.
Second Brick Round: With MC k8 (9, 10, 9, 8, 8), p1, [k15 (17, 19, 17, 15, 15), p1]* *repeat until 7 (8, 9, 8, 7, 7) sts remain, k to EOR.
Repeat Second Brick Round a total of 7 times.
Brick Line Round: With SC, k8 (9, 10, 9, 8, 8), p1, [k15 (17, 19, 17, 15, 15), p1]* *repeat until 7 (8, 9, 8, 7, 7) sts remain, k to EOR.
Even Round: With MC, k all sts.
Third Brick Round: With MC [k15 (17, 19, 17, 15, 15), p1]* *repeat to EOR.
Repeat Third Brick Round a total of 7 times.
Brick Line Round: With SC, [k15 (17, 19, 17, 15, 15), p1]* *repeat to EOR.
Even Round: With MC, k all sts.
With MC, k80 (90, 100, 108, 120, 128), place marker for halfway point, k to EOR.
With MC, k9 (14, 15, 14, 15, 15) rounds.
cipherIntarsia
With MC, k24 (29, 34, 38, 44, 48), place chart marker, work Chart A over next 31 sts, place chart marker, k23 (28, 33, 37, 42, 47), k2tog, sm, k to EOR, CO 1 st. Turn work.
You will now be working back and forth for the rest of the sweater body. The cast on sts will be consumed and hidden in the side seam of the sweater during finishing.
Set Up Row (WS): P until you reach a chart marker, sm, work Chart A over next 31 sts, sm, work to EOR, CO 1 st. Turn work.
Even Row (RS): K until first chart marker, sm, work Chart A over next 31 sts, sm, k until EOR. Turn work
Even Row (WS): P until you reach a chart marker, sm, work Chart A over next 31 sts, sm, work to EOR. Turn work.
Repeat these 2 rows a total of 22 times. Work one more Even Row.

Underarm Shaping
Bind Off Row (WS): BO 6 (8, 10, 11, 14, 15) sts, p until 5 (7, 9, 10, 13, 14) sts berfore side marker, BO next 10 (14, 18, 20, 26, 28) sts and remove side marker when it is reached, p until chart marker, sm, work Chart A over next 31 sts, sm, p until EOR.
You will now be working only the front half of the sweater.
Bind Off Row (RS): BO 6 (8, 10, 11, 14, 15) sts, k2tog, k until chart marker, sm, work Chart A over next 31 sts, sm, k until 3 sts remain, ssk, k1. Turn work. 68 (74, 80, 86, 92, 98) sts.
During underam shaping you will reach the last row of Chart A. After the you work the last row of Chart A, all sts will be worked in stockinette stitch with MC.
Even Row (WS): Work all sts in established pattern.
Decrease Row (RS): K1, k2tog, work sts in established pattern until 3 sts remain, ssk, k1.
Work these 2 rows a total of 4 (5, 5, 5, 5, 5) times.
Work one more Even Row (WS). 58 (64, 70, 76, 82, 88) sts
Size Small Only: Work in stockinette for 2 rows.

Neck Shaping
Small (Medium) Sizes: K20 (22), move next 18 (20) sts to stitch holder or waste yarn. Add a new ball of yarn and k across remaining 20 (22) sts.
Working each side separately in st st, at each neck edge BO 4 (6) sts, then BO 2 (2) sts. Then dec 1 st at neck edge every RS row 2 (3) times. 13 (13) sts per side remain.
Large (XL, 2X, 3X) Sizes: K1, k2tog, k22 (24, 27, 30), move next 20 (22, 22, 22) sts to stitch holder or waste yarn. Add a new ball of yarn and k22 (24, 27, 30), ssk, k1.
Working each side at the same time with their separate balls of yarn in st st, at each neck edge BO 5 (5, 5, 5) sts, then BO 2 (2, 2, 3) sts. Then dec 1 st at neck edge ever RS row 3 times. At the same time, decrease 1 st at armholde edge every RS row 1 (3, 6, 7) more times. 13 (13, 13, 14) sts per side remain.
All sizes: Work both sides of front in st st until piece measures 6.5 (7, 7.5, 8, 8, 8.25) inches from underarm bind off (about 40 (44, 48, 50, 52, 56) rows from underarm bindoff) ending with a WS row.
illuminatiDone2Front Shoulder Shaping
Row 1 (RS): Still working each side separately but at the same time, k to the last 4 sts, slip next stitch pwise, yarn to front, return slipped stitch to left needle, yarn to back. Turn.
Row 2 (WS): p to the last 4 sts, slip next stitch pwise, yarn to back, return slipped stitch to left needle, yarn to front. Turn.
Row 3 (RS): k to the last 6 sts, slip next stitch pwise, yarn to front, return slipped stitch to left needle, yarn to back. Turn.
Row 4 (WS): p to the last 6 sts, slip next stitch pwise, yarn to back, return slipped stitch to left needle, yarn to front. Turn.
Row 5 (RS): k to the last 10 sts, slip next stitch pwise, yarn to front, return slipped stitch to left needle, yarn to back. Turn.
Row 6 (WS): p to the last 10 sts, slip next stitch pwise, yarn to back, return slipped stitch to left needle, yarn to front. Turn.
Row 7 (RS): K across, picking up wraps and knitting them together with their respective stitches.
Row 8 (WS): P across, picking up wraps and purling them together with their respective stitches.
Row 9 (RS): BO all sts.

Sweater Back
Add new yarn and begin on right side of work on back sweater sts.
Decrease Row (RS): K1, k2tog, k until 3 sts remain, ssk, k1.
Even Row (WS): P across.
Repeat these 2 rows a total of 5 (7, 9, 10, 13, 14) times. 60 (62, 64, 68, 68, 72) sts.
Work in st st until piece measures 6.5 (7, 7.5, 8, 8, 8.25) inches from underarm bind off (about 40 (44, 48, 50, 52, 56) rows from underarm bindoff) ending with a WS row.

Back Shoulder Shaping
Row 1 (RS): K to the last 4 sts, slip next stitch pwise, yarn to front, return slipped stitch to left needle, yarn to back. Turn.
Row 2 (WS): P to the last 4 sts, slip next stitch pwise, yarn to back, return slipped stitch to left needle, yarn to front. Turn.
Row 3 (RS): K to the last 6 sts, slip next stitch pwise, yarn to front, return slipped stitch to left needle, yarn to back. Turn.
Row 4 (WS): P to the last 6 sts, slip next stitch pwise, yarn to back, return slipped stitch to left needle, yarn to front. Turn.
Row 5 (RS): K to the last 10 sts, slip next stitch pwise, yarn to front, return slipped stitch to left needle, yarn to back. Turn.
Row 6 (WS): P to the last 10 sts, slip next stitch pwise, yarn to back, return slipped stitch to left needle, yarn to front. Turn.
Row 7 (RS): K across, picking up wraps and knitting them together with their respective stitches.
Row 8 (WS): P across, picking up wraps and purling them together with their respective stitches.
Row 9 (RS): BO all sts.

Seaming
Sew front shoulders to back keeping arm holes aligned. Sew side seam closed.

illuminatiDone5Sleeves
Starting at center bottom of the armhole, pick up 58 (60, 72, 82, 92, 98) sts evenly around arm hole.
Place shaping markers 9 (10, 12, 13, 15, 16) sts from both sides of bottom center of the armhole. Place short row markers 9 (10, 12, 13, 15, 16) sts from both sides of top center of armhole.
Row 1 (RS): Starting at BOR at the bottom of the armhole, join to work in the round and k until second short row marker. W&t next stitch.
Row 2 (WS): P to first short row marker. W&t next stitch.
Row 3 (RS): K to wrapped st, pick up and knit wrap with respective st, w&t next st.
Row 4 (WS): P to wrapped st, pick and purl wrap with resspective st, w&t next st.
Repeat these 2 rows until you reach the shaping markers.
K across on the right side until you reach the wrapped stitch, pick up wrap and knit together with respective stitch, knit to EOR.
You will now work in st st for 66 (72, 74, 74, 74, 74) rounds while reducing 1 st at the beginning and end of a round every 15 (15, 15, 15, 12, 10) rounds 4 (4, 4, 4, 5, 6) times to reduce a total of 8 sts. On your first full round, when you reach the wrapped st, pick up wrap and knit together with st. You can remove all markers except the BOR marker.

Bricks
Sizes Small (Xl, 2x):
Brick Line Round: With SC, k1, k2tog, k until 3 sts remain in round, ssk, k1.

Sizes Medium (Large, 3x):
Brick Line round: With SC, k1, k2tog, k until EOR.

All sizes:
Even Round: With MC, k to EOR.
First Brick Round: With MC [k15 (16, 20, 17, 19, 16), p1]* *repeat to EOR.
Repeat First Brick Round a total of 7 times.
Brick Line Round: With SC, [k15 (16, 20, 17, 19, 16), p1]* *repeat to EOR.
Even Round: With MC, k to EOR.
Second Brick Round: With MC k8 (8, 10 9, 10, 8), p1, [k15 (16, 20, 17, 19, 16), p1]* *repeat until 7 (8, 10, 8, 9, 8) sts remain, k to EOR.
Repeat Second Brick Round a total of 7 times.
Brick Line Round: With SC, k8 (8, 10 9, 10, 8), p1, [k15 (16, 20, 17, 19, 16), p1]* *repeat until 7 (8, 10, 8, 9, 8) sts remain, k to EOR.
Even Round: With MC, k to EOR.
Third Brick Round: With MC [k15 (16, 20, 17, 19, 16), p1]* *repeat to EOR.
Repeat Third Brick Round a total of 7 times.
Brick Line Round: With SC, [[k15 (16, 20, 17, 19, 16), p1]* *repeat to EOR. 48 (51, 63, 72, 80, 85) sts.
Reduce Round Sizes Small & Medium: With MC, [k1, k2tog, k2tog]* *repeat to EOR. 30 (31) sts.
Reduce Round Sizes Large, XL, 2X & 3X: With MC, k2tog for one round. (33, 36, 40, 43) sts.

illsleeveWrist Ribbing
Ribbing Set Up Round: [k2, p2]* *repeat to EOR while reducing 2 (3, 1, 0, 0, 3) sts evenly around. 28 (28, 32, 36, 40, 40) sts
With MC, [k2, p2]* *repeat to EOR. Repeat this round 13 times. Bind off loosely.

Neck
With smaller needles (size 5 or 6) pick up 108 (120, 128, 136, 140, 148) sts evenly around neck. 2×2 rib for 6 rows and BO.

Finishing
With SC and a size 4 crochet hook, crochet chain up the purled stitch “ditches” at the bottom of the sweater and the bottom of the sleeves in the direction they were knit to complete the bricks.
With black yarn and crochet hook, crochet chain around the eyeball to line the eye.
With tapestry needle and black yarn, embroider the eyelashes.
Weave in all ends.

Abbreviations
BOR – Beginning of Round
CO – Cast on
EOR- End Of Row/Round
p – purl
k – knit
MC – Main Color
SC – Secondary Color
sm – slip marker
St(s) – Stitch(es)
st st – stockinette stitch

color stranded, sweaters, technique

Raglan Decreases- in Pictures

raglandecrease
Skeleton Key Fair Isle with Prominent Ridge (sl 2 tog kwise, k1, p2sso)

The arms are now joined to the body of the sweater and I’ve remember that 2 circular needles going from mid-arm to mid-arm make it much less tight when knitting through those initial sleeve stitches after the join.  I wish I would’ve remembered that when I was knitting the baby skull sweater!

I’ve decided to give a new raglan decrease a try.  It’s called a Prominent Ridge in my “Handy Book of Sweater Patterns”.  Basically its: sl 2 tog kwise, k1, p2sso.  It makes a very visible single column ridge at the seam.

raglandecrease3
Bad Ass Baby with Gored Seam (k2tog, ssk)

I think I like it better than my standard raglan decrease which is k2tog then ssk on the other side.  My book is calling that a “Gored Seam”  It’s nice to have a name for these different techniques if I can manage to remember them.  🙂  I used the gored seam on my baby skull sweater.

olwen5
Olwen with Subtle Seam (ssk, k2tog)

I’ve also used the “Subtle Seam”  (name given by my book).  This is the reverse of a gored seam so it’s ssk followed by k2tog.  I used it in one of my free sweater patterns (Olwen) and a couple of people said that they changed it to a gored seam which they preferred.

Tulia with Wide Gored Seam (k2tog, k1, ssk)
Tulia with Wide Gored Seam (k2tog, k1, ssk)

It turns out that I have also used the “Wide Gored Seam” in my Tulia Sweater which just adds an extra stitch to the regular Gored Seam.  I think this might be my favorite raglan decrease but I don’t know how it would look in a fair isle sweater because the pattern is interrupted at the seam.  And, I’ve knitted too much of the yolk to turn back now!

It looks like the only raglan decrease technique that I haven’t used is the “Directional Ridge” which is a clunky k3tog.  I found an example at newstitchaday.com.  It looks like a very thick ridge is formed.  Maybe that would look good in a certain type of sweater?  One that doesn’t come to mind at the moment.

NewStitchADay.com (k3tog)

raglandecrease2

color stranded, design, sweaters

A More Moderate Color Scheme

OrangeFairChartMy family (husband and children) talked me off the 13-color fair isle cliff and into a more reasonable (and visually appealing) 7-color fair isle.  It didn’t take a lot of convincing because I wasn’t completely sure I could wear such an eye-catching sweater around town. 

Hubby chose a complimentary color scheme of orange and blue with greys and a pop of green.  I really love it.  When it was knit up into a test swatch, the blue-on-blue had a nice subtle effect.  And, the grey-white made the whole thing feel vintage and washed a million times before. 

OrangeFairThe blue-on-blue is much more apparent in person than in this pic of the swatch.  And, I’ve changed the design a bit from this test. 

A weird thing about the swatch- my gauge came out to 6.5 stitches per inch and 6.5 rows per inch after blocking (from size 2 needles).  My sweaters always grow into monsters after blocking so I’ve gotten into the habit of doing a blocked swatch so my size is correct in the end.  There’s nothing worse than spending a hundred hours knitting a sweater that grows into a tent when you block it!

ColorSchemeI have cast on and started knitting the body from the bottom ribbed edge.  This is the first time I’ve used Palette from Knit Picks and I’m loving it!  It’s reasonably soft after blocking, the colors are amazing, and it’s not a bad price. 

baby, color stranded, sweaters

The Bad Ass is Blocked

blockedWhile this sweater turned out larger than intended, it still came together in the end.  It’s wearable.  But, it’s more like a 4T instead of a size 12 mo.  At least the tyke should get some wear out of it eventually.  Maybe next year.  Or, the year after that. 

Black buttons are sitting on my counter waiting to be attached.  I found some cute black skull buttons but I was afraid it would be overkill on the theme.  Plain black circles seemed to detract less from the color work.

The huge lesson learned from this undertaking is that bottom-up baby sweaters are a huge no-no.  It’s too darned hard to join them together because of the flattening of the tiny arms.  Next time, I’m starting from the top and taking it down.

skullchartHere’s a rough copy of the color work chart if you are interested in producing some rebel hand-knits for yourself.  I think I may use these skulls again in some mittens or maybe a double-knitted scarf.  Since I would never re-knit this sweater, I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble of putting together a sweater pattern to share.   They can’t all be winners, so I’ve heard.

blockingFor my next project, I’ve been researching different fair isle motifs.  Loads of fingering-weight wool in various colors are currently in transit heading towards my house.  It’s tough to decide whether to commit to an adult-sized color-stranded sweater or to stick with more manageable projects like mittens and baby sweaters.  I’m just waiting for inspiration to strike.  🙂

color stranded, sweaters

Moving On

Fungi4With only 20 rows of color work left on the fungus sweater, I’ve decided to put it away for a while.  Yesterday, the birds were singing and the sun was shining and it dawned on me that I won’t even get to wear my sweater until the fall. Maybe that is why I am having so much trouble finishing this one.  Well, that and the fact that it’s a sock-weight color-stranded sweater that knits up at a snail’s pace.

Fungi4With the weather so beautiful, I’ve been itching to knit up something light and fun.  And, yesterday I fell in love.  Check out #99 Flutter-Sleeved Blousy Lace Cardigan by sweaterbabe.  I found this beauty on ravelry and I’m so excited about this one.  (The sweater image is linked from ravelry and is not my finished sweater.)

flutterlaceI’ve selected a soy/cotton blend from my stash to cast on with. It’s got a striping effect but with the subtle color difference, I’m hoping it won’t ruin the look of the sweater but just add interest. Time will tell. I’ve also got a few other colors in my stash that could work so maybe the future will hold more than one of these guys. 🙂

color stranded, design, steek, sweaters

Sweater Update

Fungi3Now that I’ve finally reached the armholes it feels like I will actually be able to finish this sweater.  The plan is for a raglan sleeve and there is a 10-stitch steek at each armhole.  I want solid black sleeves so those will be knit up separately and sewn into the arm holes at finishing.

My biggest concern is that the solid black sleeves will knit up at a different gauge than the color-stranded fabric and therefore will not join up nicely to the body.   But, for now, I’m going to finish the body and worry about the sleeves when I get to them.

I’ve only cut open one steeked project in my life.  I used the sewing machine to secure the steeks first.  This time around I want to use the crochet chain method.  Only a couple of days until I can try it out!