Check it: knitting!

It’s been seamed. Buttons are on and it’s all done.

Amongst all the non-knitting crafting I’ve been blogging about, I have been knitting behind the scenes. And I’ve made my favourite sweater to date. It’s been a great success!

Generally I usually have much angst when it comes to knitting sweaters. I try to be good. Measure. Swatch. Gauge. Blocking. I have a sweater that taught me the importance of each. The hard way of course. Even as recently as November I had my heart broken by another sweater: the mis-behaving Girl Friday.

But (finger’s crossed) I think I’ve knit my way out of it. Like with jazz improv solos or abstract paintings, I have knit my share of bad sweaters so (knitting goddesses permitting) it should be smoother sailing from now on. And my most recently completed knitting project has me believing again that a wearable sweater is possible to make.

Originally I cast on with this yarn for a Lady February Sweater. After knitting the yoke and just about starting into the gull lace section, I decided a pattern change would be a good idea. The February Lady sweater is a great pattern which I really like, but it’s super boxy and as it’s based on a baby sweater, kind of a young, little girl in pink-pinafore kind of look. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but in my family, we all have super young looking faces (again, not necessarily a bad thing) so wearing young clothes perpetuates people thinking I’m in University or sometimes even high school. It’s only in the past year that I’ve stopped being carded everywhere I go. So I thought a more grown up sweater pattern was in order. Enter Oblique by Véronik Avery.

Now the Pingouin Grège that I was using is not the same gauge as the yarn used in the pattern. Pretty standard for my knitting, which is likely while I usually run into trouble. But I swatched. A few times. And blocked THOUROUGHLY. Then I did math. Yes, I did the math to figure out what number of stitches would correspond to the measurements I wanted. Oh yes! I also did lots of measuring of sweaters I already have, comparing them to figure out what measurements would give me the fit that I wanted. After all the measuring and the math, I was able to work out my plan for attack: use the stitch counts for a larger size to account for my smaller gauged yarn WHILE following the length measurements for the smallest size (I have a short torso). This worked out super well.

I cast on a started knitting. I usually try to take notes about what modifications/gauge things I come up with into a knitting notebook, but it never works out. It’s one extra thing to deal with so somehow I always loose track. Recently what I’ve started doing is making my notes on the actual printed pattern. I mostly work from patterns printed off the computer so this works out pretty well. I know I need my pattern, so I know I’ll always have my notes at hand. It’s only taken me 20 years of knitting to figure this out. Sometimes I’m just smart like that.

I worked on this sweater here and there in the evenings when tired of spinning/fighting working with my sewing machine and am watching tv. So while I wasn’t really paying attention, I finished a sweater! And then seamed it. And then bought buttons. Then it sat for a while as I figured out what to use on the inside to reinforce where they’d be attached. The weather turned quite cool and rainy again so I decided the universe (or knitting goddesses) were telling me to just be done already and I could actually wear it.

And I love it. It fits a little bigger than I planned, but close enough for me to call it a success. I can actually see myself wearing it (and I have) to work without feeling like the usual jeans + t-shirt sloppy self I’ve been for the past while. This sweater, while being big and cosy definitely isn’t in the sloppy category. It’s also super warm. Gotta love that alpaca content.

So TA-DA! I can knit a sweater! That I like! And that fits how I want! And isn’t a big silly hoodie!

Pattern: Oblique by Véronik Avery
Materials: Pingouin Grège
Modifications: Working larger size for gauge. Following length measurements for smallest size.
Start Date: November 23, 2009 as February Lady Sweater. Made pattern switch April 12, 2010.
End Date: May 21, 2010

Needless to say that immediately upon finishing this sweater, I promptly started another. More on that later.

Hex-atagious

After seeing Maritza’s version and reading all about the accompanying quilt-a-long, I began obsessing about the quilt all day at work on Friday wanting to have the time to figure out on paper how to make it work using my growing fat quarter collection.

I got home friday night and started cutting according to my initial calculations. It turns out my initial calculations were a tad off. But after making triangles that were too large, I played around with some paper and came up with new calculations and used this to make the rest of my triangles.

I had a ton of fun yesterday coming up with fabric combinations, sewing them into strips and cutting out triangles and piecing them together by machine. I could easily spent the entire day working on this quilt. But I decided to respect the quilt-a-long and stick to the schedule. So I limited myself to 5 sets of fabric combinations and sewed all their halves together.

I really can’t wait for the next step. WANT IT NOW! In the meantime I’m working up the back of my former Februrary Lady sweater in it’s new incarnation as an Oblique.

I’m still eagerly awaiting my ladybug. I think that the strength of the loonie is causing a backlog at the border. I joined Cosymakes’ Falkland Fiber Club and the Funky Carolina Fiber Club and was also considering her scraps club, but we’ll see how much fibre I work through. I dream of being in the Hello Yarn Fibre Club, but there’s quite the waiting list.

Garter Stitch Love

About a year ago, a yarn store on the South shore was having a going out of business sale. Mr. Peabody trekked down there on his bike and bought a HUGE backpack full of yarn. There was so much that he had to tape an extra bag to the outside. The bag was so heavy that he could only walk his bike back through the Metro system. He ended up going a couple of times and bought me a bunch of yarn as well.

In this huge batch of yarn I got some Pingouin Grège (wool, silk, alpaca, rayon blend), like 12 skeins of it. I’ve had in mind (since the pattern came out) to make a February Lady Sweater with it. It took a misbehaving sweater and a Ravelry request for my Grège to get me to cast on for it last week. I swatched a bunch of times in garter stitch for gauge and steam blocked each one to pick the most satisfying fabric before finally casting on. My gauge is a little different from the pattern, but the fabric has nice drape and according to my calculations will result in a well sized sweater, including the arms. I checked a bunch of times ’cause now I’m all paranoid.

I’m working on the yoke and I’m in garter stitch heaven! I have a few rows to go before I divide up the sleeves and the body and it’s taking all my restraint to keep from doing it right now!

YAAAARRRRGGGGGGH!

I swear I am cursed with sweaters. I’ve knit and finished many sweaters but have only had one or two come out somewhat wearable. I’ve improved my habits, at least I think so. I swatch. I think I choose patterns that suit me. But I have yet to have a sweater come out so awesomely that I wear it ALL the time. The closest yet is Amelia even if it’s not exactly perfect.

I have store bought sweaters that I wear all the time! What’s the deal?!

I was really looking forward to this sweater. I envisioned it to be a nice sweater coat to be worn in the super nice extended fall weather that we’ve been having. Not too loose fitting but not super tight. My gauge was a little bigger than what it called for in the pattern so I thought things would work out nicely. And it seemed like they were going to.

Once I had the fronts and back seamed together, I tried it on to make sure I liked the fit. I continued on with the collar as specified in the pattern. Tried it on again after the collar and button bands were done and blocked. The very last step was to put in the sleeves. I seamed away. Worked in all the ends. I was preparing a trip to get the perfect buttons by trying on my sweater one last time. Just to double check that everything was hunky dory. Not so much.

The sleeves. are. too. tight. The armholes dig into my armpits so badly that I had to wrestle my way out of it for like 5 min. Disaster! How could this be? My gauge is pretty much on! I went to the pattern to check the measurements on the schematic and there it was. The sleeves are designed to be the size they turned out to be which is small. Or at least small for me. I mean I may not be a 35″ bust but I didn’t think my arms were that enormous to be out of wack with the size I usually make. I’m cranky.

Yes. I should have read the measurements as laid out in the schematic. I would have realised that this would be an issue if I had. And I will definitely be more aware before picking sizes and casting on in the future. And I can fix the sweater. I can pick out the under arm seam and knit a gansey style gusset to give it some more room.

But for now the misbehaving knit is here:

in a time-out.

Until it’s thought about how it’s behaviour and is ready to apologise, I’m going to be working on a February Lady Sweater. I checked the measurements and went through several gauge swatches. So far things are looking ok. So far.