Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Hoodless Hoodie

I just finished up my Austin hoodie by Connie Chang Chinchio and I am so incredibly happy with how it came out.  I still can't quite believe that I managed to make it come out the right size even though I didn't follow the gauge or my size according to the pattern.  All I can say for this one is that the washing and blocking really made it, the fit was totally wonky until after I ran it through the wash and laid it out to dry.  Can I say again just how happy I am with how this cardigan came out?

I did make a few pretty minor modifications to make my Austin.  First off the gauge, I knit mine at 5 stitches per inch rather than the pattern gauge of 6 stitches per inch, just because I liked the look of the fabric better that way.  To make up for knitting at a different gauge I followed the pattern stitch counts for a size larger than what would be my size, but I did follow the length for my size. Along the front I wanted to have buttons in case I needed to close up the cardi, so every 20 rows I did a really simple yarn over buttonhole.  I also knit 10 rows in garter stitch for the hem as I wrote about in a previous blog post, and I did the 10 rows of garter stitch for the sleeve cuffs and for the edge of the collar.  Ah, the collar!  I knit the hood per pattern for 4.25" then did the garter stitch to finish it off.  I didn't want a hood as I felt it would: 1) hide all the work I had done on the upper back of the cardigan, 2) would be a total waste of the yarn, and 3) plus I was afraid I wouldn't have enough yarn as I was making a larger size than intended.

As it turns out not only do I have plenty of yarn, I even have enough left over (about 340 yds) to make myself a nice little pair of socks!  Do you sense a growing obsession there?  I fear I do!  A quick word on the yarn I used, Araucania Itata solid in light lilac (Ravelry link), after washing the yarn has softened up considerably, I am actually surprised how much it improved with washing!  It doesn't have much give while knitting, but it is nothing like knitting with cotton or crappy acrylic (not all acrylic is crappy, just most of it).  It was certainly a learning experience to knit with alternating 2 skeins at once since this is a non-dyelot yarn.  The color of the yarn was worth the effort, but it is not my favorite thing to do!  Maybe it is the fairly loose gauge of this garment that made the change from one yarn to another so obvious, but I will probably need to take a crochet hook to it in an attempt to even out the stitches a bit.

I definitely made my goal on this one though, I wanted to be able to wear it this spring, maybe for Easter and it certainly got done in time for Easter (and it would have been done even if it weren't so late this year!)!  Now to get started on the next stash down before my new Knit Picks order arrives, a short sleeved Sahara knit with Misti Alpaca Pima Cotton & Silk in kiwi (Ravelry link).

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