13 September 2004
Hi again, world. Not sure where I'll be going with this "blog" in the future, but I definitely wanted to update this. Yes, the sweater is finished.
Here's a 3/4 side view. (Thanks, Anna!)
It fits and it's comfortable. Herz, was will man mehr? I'm very pleased with the yarn as far as wearing comfort and stitch definition. We'll see how it holds up in the laundry.
Janey, thanks for your very kind comments. Sorry I haven't replied sooner. Here are a couple of thoughts on what you said. You can see from the pictures that the sweater fits rather snugly. I made the smallest size, so the ribbing does stretch a bit, but not extremely. Don't know how a size larger would drape, and I'm also not sure if using the suggested merino blend wool would make a difference on that. I used cotton yarn because it's more comfortable. These raglan sleeves aren't necessarily the most flattering option if you have narrow shoulders (as I do), but I think it would be theoretically possible -- and not necessarily even that difficult -- to make the same type of ribbed body with set-in sleeves. Another idea that has occurred to me, which I may actually try one day, is knitting this without the sleeves for a summer top, in which case I would probably use the same (cotton) yarn.
Notes on finishing.
Overall, this sweater was an easy and enjoyable knit. That includes the finishing. There was lots of seaming, but it wasn't too difficult. The picture underneath shows a closeup of the seams in three places -- sleeves, raglan slant (sleeve to body) and body side seams. (Right-click for a larger view.)
I used the edge-to-edge technique (illustrated instructions here), rather than backstitching. I think that worked especially well for the raglan joins (middle seam), as it highlighted the emphasized definition that was here anyway. It was OK for the sleeves (right). I kind of wish now I had used backstitching to seam the front and back together (left), but don't really think the results warrant going back and redoing it.
Hm. That's about all that occurs to me at the moment. I have two pairs of socks on my needles, but no concrete plans for other garments. At the moment. Thank goodness for socks, though. Mindless and therapeutic. Take care, everyone.
24 July 2004
The back of the Filati sweater is coming along great. I'm halfway through the raglan shaping. This is probably the fastest garment I've ever knit! There is one tiny little question gnawing at the back of my mind, though....Will it fit?? Since this is knit in ribbing, it looks like this in its natural state:
It's the same issue that the awesomely talented Kerstin described. Fortunately ribbing stretches. This is what it looks like when stretched to the pattern specs:
Let's just hope my specs turn out to be the same!
Tips for big ktog's
The center rib decreases involve a k5tog and a k6tog. This is nearly impossible with this yarn and these needles. The yarn's too thick, and wants to split. Splitting hasn't been a problem with the rest of the knitting, but trying to pull the strand through so many stitches with the needles as-is just isn't working. I suspect a lot of the problem has to do with the properties of cotton in general, but this wouldn't be easy with wool, either. However, I've found a method to make the procedure bearable. If I'm reinventing the wheel here and everyone already knows about this, well, c'est la vie.
First, I transfer the stitches to a thinner cable needle.
Then I use a thin crochet hook to grab the yarn from the right side....
...and pull it all the way through. The stitches (here, five) are now together and the yarn loop is ready to go back on the left-hand needle,
from whence the k5tog can be completed. Et voilà!
There are two things to watch out for here. One is that the stitches are transferred to the cable needle in the same order as they were on the knitting needle (not in reverse order). The other thing is the orientation of the pulled-through loop on the knitting needle. This affects the direction the pulled-together stitches are oriented, so you need to double-check that things are facing the right way before moving on.
20 July 2004
This was interesting, especially in light of the Addendum I wrote last post...
QOTW for the week of 19 July 2004 -- Would you consider yourself ‘addicted to stitching’? Why or why not?
Why? Stitching has been part of my life since I was six years old. My mom got me a matching apron and oven mitt to embroider. As I recall, there were satin stitch, lazy-daisy, french knots, the works. I didn't finish it when I was six, but eventually it got finished. About that same time, my mom helped me make a simple dress pattern for my troll. All I had to do was sew up the side seams and attach a snap. My allowance went toward felt and exotic fabric scraps in the remnants bin. My troll had quite a wardrobe. He (she?) also had plenty of accessories, including a bow and arrow out of insulated wiring and a quiver. But I digress.
Embroidery --> hand sewing --> machine sewing --> crochet --> cross-stitch --> knitting --> rug-braiding --> needlepoint (bleah) --> smocking. With the exception of needlepoint, I still do all of it. Not simultaneously, mind.
So I've been stitching for ages. (40 years, OK?) Does that make it an addiction? I've been doing housework for very nearly as long, and I wouldn't call my relationship to that activity 'addiction.' I stitch because it gives me a satisfaction I crave, and if I'm not doing something creative in this direction, I feel restless and uneasy. That's sounding more like the classic definition of addiction, isn't it? You bet.
Taking this thought further, what is it about stitching that is so addictive for me? The projects I choose do engage me intellectually. There's also a physically addicting aspect to a lot of stitching projects that is important. Sensory things like color and texture, for one thing, but the rhythm of knitting and the motions involved with embroidery are critical as well. I like having something to do with my hands. Strike that. I need to have something to do with my hands.
Another facet of handwork that I value is more mental, but not in an intellectual sense. While sewing a seam or knitting a row, I can think and listen very well. OK, maybe not when I'm counting out a complicated pattern ;), but otherwise handwork engages me with the world and with myself in a restful, ultimately productive way. So, now we've got the consciousness-altering part of the addiction definition.
Alpha waves? Endorphins? Does it really matter?
18 July 2004
positive reinforcement (poz'u tiv ree'in fors'ment), n. Something positive provided after a response in order to increase the probability of that response occurring in the future. (ref.)
Meaning that the Filati pullover is proving very rewarding to knit. The yarn is soft and doesn't split, and the pattern is easy enough to be relaxing, with changes and features that keep me on my toes and forestall boredom. The k3,p2 rib forces me to change my rhythm slightly on alternate rows without being a pain. The 12-row pattern repeat is very fast and reinforcing ('rewarding' for all you non-psych majors!), because it highlights progress on the sweater so well. The probability of my continuing to knit the sweater in the immediate future is thus high. Very high.
As I mentioned, the two middle k3 ribs are knit together every 12 rows whilst continually increasing on the side seams. Looking at the chart and doing the knitting, you have a feeling that the sweater is expanding outwards, like this:
In reality, the combination of increases and decreases results in straight side seams and the V-shaped bottom edge I was trying to describe before:
Fast and fun!
Addendum to Stitchers' QOTW
Whatever the motivation -- technique, fabric, pattern, even computer graphic -- when I find something I want to make or do, it's like a compulsion. Sooner or later, I get around to doing it :)
16 July 2004
I found something neat on In A Minute Ago, a wonderful Australian site with thoughtful writing about textile handwork and art, and an awesome online library/tutorial of embroidery stitches.
It's the Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week, which for this week is 'How do you choose a project? What “calls” to you the most?'
Well, since you asked...oh, this is hard to answer. There are a number of factors that crop up, with no hard-and-fast rules. One thing that happens a lot is getting the urge to do or learn a certain technique. "Gee, I haven't smocked for awhile, I'm kind of missing it, what could I do?" or "It would be fun to do lace knitting again" are typical thoughts that run through my mind and get me motivated. That's how I got back into knitting, hadn't done it for ages and realized how much I missed it.
I chose Winter Sunset because of wanting to learn Fair Isle and steeking, but that sweater specifically because the colors and style were something I knew I'd wear. That's probably another major factor. I'm extremely reluctant to make something, either for me or as a gift, that I'm not pretty certain won't be appreciated and used. My track record so far isn't bad :)
Sometimes I have a general object in mind (baby blanket) and have to go looking for a pattern and yarn. Other times I see a kit or pattern I want. Occasionally (rarely) I'll have an original idea I want to try out. Sometimes, although not that often, yarn or embroidery thread or fabric catches my eye and demands to be taken home, although I'm not sure at the moment what it'll become. That was the case with the Viale yarn that turned into my Salsa top, and also the case with some pinwale corduroy I bought when my daughter was a baby and which became a vest for me (which I still have) and a matching jumper dress for her.
15 July 2004
Life After Sunset
Call me fickle. Winter Sunset is hanging in my closet, probably until Fall. I'm looking ahead to the next projects!
Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm still really happy with WS, and it makes me smile every time I see it and think, Hey! I did that! Yesterday I stopped by my LYS, after a pretty long interval (late April? Yikes). I had told the owner that the next time I came back, I'd be wearing the sweater, and that's what I did. It was, God help us all, suitable for the weather. Really, a Shetland sweater in July?? That says a lot about how dreadful the weather is this summer, but also about how adaptable this type of wool is. I mean, it was OK for the conditions yesterday (60's F), and it will be even better in the winter.
Frau W. was, as usual, friendly and interested. She gave me some suggestions for the buttonholes, which I have had some misgivings about. Those buttonholes are pretty small, and a single strand of Shetland Spindrift is fairly delicate. I'm worried that the metal buttons will cut through the yarn in the button bands over time. Frau W. agreed, and suggested using a single ply of the yarn to sew around the buttonholes. So in addition to continuing to work in the yarn ends, sewing buttonholes will keep WS in my knitting life for a little while longer.
While I happened to be in the yarn store anyway, I thought it wouldn't hurt to see if there might be a suitable yarn for a sweater I've been wanting to knit. Had looked at another store without finding anything I was thrilled about, but this time I lucked out. Here's what I came home with:
There's a skein of Regia cotton sock yarn at the top of the picture, which I've wanted to try, and which is destined for Anna. She approved. On the lower left there are some skeins of Anchor multicolor embroidery thread for a nightgown I'd like to smock, and a spool of silver metallic thread for a beading project.
The dusty pink yarn is Delta from Lang Yarns, a 50% cotton, 50% acrylic blend. 50g/123m, gauge=22sts/33 rows on 3,5/4mm needles.
It will be used to knit the sweater on the left side of the picture, out of Filati #23. Hard to see details, but I'll try to describe it. If you look closely, you can see that the bottom front comes down to a point in the middle. It does that in the back, too. The body is done in diagonal k3p2 ribbing, which converges in the middle of the sweater. The V at the bottom is achieved by "chopping off" a rib on each side (right and left) in the middle every 12 rows, while simultaneously increasing continually on the sides. That's what the directions say, anyway. I think it will be easier to knit than my description probably sounds. The sleeves are simple stockinette.
I have seen someone wearing a similar pullover and thought it was really flattering. Beige isn't a good color for my complexion, but the pink and the cotton blend will make it something I could wear nearly all year round here.
The instructions actually call for Adesso from Lana Grossa, a merino/cotton/acrylic blend with very similar gauge. Took a look at it in another store, but they didn't have it in a color I liked, and the cotton will probably be more pleasant directly on my skin anyway. The Delta is soft and nice to work with, not too limp or heavy, as some cottons are. After playing around with a swatch, I think the ktog5's and ktog6's are going to be a royal pain, since the yarn kind of wants to split, but that doesn't happen that many times, and I think it will be manageable.
So....I've put together my handy-dandy bead row counter, swatched, and will probably cast on today or tomorrow. There is life after sunset.
12 July 2004
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I finally finished Winter Sunset!!! (And my Salsa top and some stripey socks, more about those below.) In the meantime, I'd suggest you get yourself a cup of coffee and settle back, this is going to be a pretty long post.
Here she is, in all her glory .....
Here's a closeup with the buttons I found. They're pewter, and I think the square shape matches the main pattern beautifully. Don't know if you can see it, but there are a couple of little Edelweiss flowers on each button. Not why I bought them! ;)
I'm very proud of how this turned out. It looks fine from both sides.
The top picture shows the inside of the body, the bottom picture is a shot of the sleeve steek.
What took me so long, you ask?? Well, the sleeves, mainly. I ran out of one color of yarn and had to wait a bit for delivery, but the sleeves were just darned slow. Slow because they were awkward. Awkward because of having to fiddle with two (or sometimes five) strands of yarn on four dpns, while wrestling the sweater body around most every time I switched needles. Fortunately the sweater is light (heavenly!), but it was a pain anyway.
On balance, I would say I really loved doing Fair Isle, and had no problems with the steeks, but would not be willing to do another sweater like this again, just because of the *#($%^@! sleeves. Which leaves me a couple of options -- make vests, or modify the pattern so that the back and sleeves are one color, saving the Fair Isle work for the front only. Also unsatisfactory, however, since the front would be twice as thick due to the stranded work. Hmm. Vests it is.
OK, speaking of sleeves, here they are. I still have quite a few ends to work in. Fortunately you can't see them from the outside. :)
Here's a closeup of the underside of the sleeve. The point where the strands crossed for a color change is visible, but not worse than a seam would be. The pattern convergence worked out well.
Here's an entire sleeve, again from underneath. At this point, I've just steam-blocked the sweater with a damp towel and my iron. It worked pretty well, but more thorough blocking might make these lumps lie more smoothly.
Speaking of blocking...it turns out that the sweater is a bit large. In truth, I probably should have knit the small size, but I didn't want it to fit too snugly, and my hips are always an issue. :/ What I'm wondering is, if it's possible to do something along the lines of light, controlled felting to make this a bit smaller? Not surprisingly, I'm not in an extremely experimental mood at the moment, this is all theoretical!
This is all so..so.. anticlimactic! All of a sudden it was just finished. Makes for kind of a lame entry, doesn't it?
Anyway, I've also been working on other things since the last post. That beautiful Viale yarn became my Salsa Boat Neck Shell:
This WIP picture of the front gives a better impression of the colors. Olé indeed!
The yarn was nice to work with. I think I expected it to split a lot, or the needles to go through it continually, but that wasn't the case. It was also fine on my hands, not too rough or anything. On the downside, this yarn is pretty delicate. It doesn't tolerate much if any frogging. I also think it's going to be susceptible to snagging, i.e. from rough fingernails or similar things.
I've worn the shell and am basically satisfied with it, but there have been a couple of changes. For one thing, the neck wasn't wide enough and/or the yarn not stretchy enough for my head, so I didn't close the shoulder seam completely and put on a button. It also turned out a bit wider than I'd like, so I'm going to take Bonne Marie's excellent advice and downsize it. (Soon. Really!)
Last but not least, where would knitting life be without socks? These are my purple stripey socks. They go perfectly with a purple t-shirt and my old faded embroidered denim work shirt. (Do you still have one of those?)
I know it's a little silly, but I always get a kick out of it when the stripes match well.
What next, you ask? I've cast on for the next pair of socks, plain blue with larger needles and simple ribbing, a postponed present for someone else. I've also just about finished translating the Norwegian instructions for the Garnstudio top, so now I need to decide on a size, "screw [my] courage to the sticking-place" and cast on. If anyone's interested, I can make the translation available. Combined with Theresa's tutorial and a couple of other references I've found helpful, this could be potentially useful for anyone trying to knit Garnstudio's patterns.
But for now, I think I'll call it a day.