Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dolman sleeves are back?!

Apparently they are and I just finished knitting one up to wear this summer.  I didn't set out to make one, in fact the yarn, Comfy fingering by Knit Picks, has been in my stash for over a year now.  Initially it was earmarked to make a Tempest cardigan, but I was really unsure about how the stripes change sizes in odd areas, like towards the bottom of the bust, but not under it like an empire waist.  So I rethought and decided perhaps Paulie would look better, some easy garter stitch at the shoulder and the same size stripe after that for the rest of the sweater.  The yarn however continued to sit as I worked on other projects that excited me far more than this cardigan did.  Until the fateful day while perusing the patterns on Ravelry I discovered the Roxborough Dolman by Courtney Kelley and was smitten, I had to have it.

Okay, the dolman sleeve thing was a bit odd I thought, and I wasn't really sure how the fit of it would work on me with my remaining post baby belly (still working on reducing that sucker down), but when I looked into the sizing I realized it was given in ranges so it would fit me now and if I ever manage to make my goal of losing 10-15 pounds it will still fit, awesomesauce!  Even better, I just happened to have a discount code from Interweave that I was able to use to purchase the digital verision of the magazine.  It was in my hot little hands, er, my laptop and then my ipod within minutes.  I did my gauge swatches that night.

The pattern is simple, just change the color after a set number of rows, and work increases on each side seam after another set number of rows, repeat endlessly.  It made for great tv knitting.  The yarn makes for a really nice light and so soft fabric when knit up, I am in love with it!  Now that it is all done I am hopeful I will be wearing it quite a bit over the summer and am again perusing patterns on Ravelry looking for fingering weight tops, they take awhile to finish but are oh so nice.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Of Failure & Triumph!

I started with trying to make a cardigan out of one of my issues of Verena knitting, #49 Milk.  It did not go well.  In fact it went so badly I never even bothered to take a picture of it before I destroyed it.  Lesson learned here, try to keep to a yarn not only with the same weight but also the same general fiber content, and don't keep trying when the gauge is really off, sometimes even going up a size or 2 won't work.  Of course I didn't figure this one out until after I had the back and one front done with the second front halfway done.  I guess I really liked those cables!

I did learn to re-skein and wash my yarn after frogging because of this debacle though, it really does take the kinks out once it is all dried out again.  I also have gotten really good with my nostepinne after winding it all up into balls for the second time, sigh.  The biggest pain was that the yarn, Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, is rather 'sticky' so it kept grabbing onto itself both while frogging and when I was winding it up after it's bath.

My second attempt at a cardigan with the yarn has gone much better and sadly enough is what my intuition was telling me I should have done in the first place, Snowbird.  It's a great pattern that gives fantastic results.  The start is kind of tricky, but once you get going it is pretty easy to follow.  I did notice that the back of the neckline is too big for me (possibly due to the yarn stretching out some after washing) which I fixed by doing a crab stitch with a crochet hook along the seam to pull it in.  This has helped a little, but it still feels like it might slip off my shoulders at any second.  Next time I'll follow the next size down for the back of the neck instructions.  I say 'next time' because knitting Snowbird has gone so well that I think I'll do it again with the knit side of the stockinette being the right side and using the cable and garter edge I liked so much from Milk for the collar instead of reverse stockinette.  I could of course just use an appropriate yarn for Milk, but I've been burned once and don't want to have it happen again!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer knitting

After an aborted start working on a Poolside with my stash of Rowan Calmer I started again on Irish Coffee and am quite pleased.  I stopped the Poolside because I realized my yarn wasn't a really good match, Calmer acts a lot like a wool yarn, not very much like a cotton so I decided it would work better for me in a  pattern that actually calls for wool.  I also have come to realize that living in southern California doesn't really require wool for sweaters, at least for pullovers.  As cold as I can get (hey, I got cold in Lahaina, Hawaii, true story!), I still can feel like I am suffocating in wool when I wear my one wool pullover, so perhaps a blend is the way to go for me.

I have also heavily altered the neckline and fit of this sweater, it is supposed to fit like a tunic, rather loose, but I am making it significantly more fitted.  The snugger fit is also me hedging my bets a little knowing that cotton tends to stretch and definitely more so in a full garment than in a 4" x 4" swatch.  For the neckline I cast on far fewer stitches than are called for because in just about every project on Ravelry with a model, she is wearing a t-shirt underneath since the wide neckline is so wide their bra straps would show otherwise.  Since I want to be able to wear this as a sweater without something else underneath I knew that neckline would need to change.  So I grabbed my copy of Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard and took inspiration from her raglan pattern Pink to adjust the sweater more to my liking (plus copious amounts of math using my gauge swatches, checking and re-checking myself to be sure).  Thus I have a great v-neck for this fabulous sweater.

Once I got to the split for the sleeves I have pretty much faithfully followed the pattern.  I really love how the cable on this one comes together, so very pretty.  Thus far I am loving working on this and as always Thea writes a great pattern, I highly recommend this one, I may even make it again but following the original neckline!
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