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Archive for January 8th, 2008

I’ve Been Knitting… a Sweater!

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

sweateronshouldersfeathered.jpgMy friend Altu is really excited to knit on *her* sweater. I, on the other hand, am supposed to lead her through each new section with new instructions.

I am knitting the same thing she is, so that I will be sure to understand each new instruction. Which means that I have to stay about where she is on the sweater she is knitting.

The Project 

We are doing the Split-Neck T-Shirt (!) #257 Sweater by Knitting Pure & Simple (it’s an Aran-weight/ somewhat-heavy yarn, raglan sleeved, 3/4 sleeve sweater, so I’m not sure how they thought it could be called a T-Shirt). Despite the name, it is a very nice design that apparently (given what I’ve seen on Ravelry) looks good on a lot of different body types/sizes.

This design is particularly promising for curvy girls, since we can knit top down and adjust for bust shaping or at the very least decrease a bit after the bust to make up for the fact the sweater size was chosen for the disproportionate bust measurement. The model herself has some curves, which is a good hint this will be a good choice.

I am using some yarn that is not quite as fat as it should be, but at least one of my swatches met the stitch gauge so I’m going with it. I really needed to knit from stash, I have enough yarn for about 6 sweaters right now and since I’ve only ever knit one adult sweater with long sleeves by hand, I really could not justify more yarn for a sweater project. At this rate I’ll have enough yarn for 5 sweaters very soon, and a new sweater to boot!

The Yarn

The yarn is Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. It’s mostly pima cotton with some wool, which is a really excellent combination. I do not usually like cotton yarns and I love this yarn. The way it was spun is quite beautiful, and really shows off the fiber combination well. It is very pleasant to knit with, very nice.

The only complaint I’ve ever heard about this yarn is that sometimes the colors will run, because cotton and wool take different types of dyes (not at all good if you are doing red and white stripes). However, I’m doing a single color: cherry red. It’s beautiful! I will be careful to wash it separately. It will be spectacular, I can see it already.

The Method 

Many sweaters are knit from the hem up to the top. This one is top down, which allows for more clarity and opportunity to fit as we work. First we started at the neck, and then we had to increase for raglan sleeves which are part of the body (not sewn on later).

The neck is shaped somewhat, more like a v-neck than a true split/cut neck, so that took some more attention for a while. Then when the split was finished, we joined the piece into the round and now are knitting in a circle rather than back and forth (aaaahhh).

It is interesting… when we knit flat, we actually knit a row and then turn the piece around and purl back. For those non-knitters out there who are still reading, a purl is merely a reverse/backward knit. A knit has a flat side toward the knitter and a purl has a flat side away from the knitter. However, when you start going in a circle you are always looking at the flat side (outside of a tube) so you no longer need to purl.

It turns out that I purl more tightly than I knit (many people purl more loosely than they knit but I guess I had to be different). When I started, I had rows with taller stitches on the knitted rows and if I had continued it would have become obvious. Since I was using Denise Interchangeable Needles, I switched so that the working needle for the purl side was one size larger than the knit side, and I do not see a problem in my fabric. Save!

The Progress

It is so far an easy-to-follow pattern. At one point it called a Knit-in-front-and-back increase a “kfb” and once an “inc” in the same sentence, but both instructions were clear (inc was defined as kfb at the beginning of the pattern). So no big deal, and every instruction thus far has worked out well.

sweatertojoin33.jpgWe are proceeding as though we both have done something like this before. We sort of have, in that Altu has made up a lot of sweaters (not using patterns) and I have followed many patterns (but not for sweaters). It is a fun thing for us to do together.

The only down side is that Altu gets eager to proceed further, sometimes when I’m not available to show her the next part. Small potatoes, as Gramma Illa would say.

So here are photos… one of the piece flat, and one of me wearing the bit that I’d finished just as I started working in a tube. I took the photo of myself in a mirror, so forgive the fuzziness if you will.

I think by the looks of this preview fitting, it will work out just great for me! Woohoo… now we just have to proceed to the end. This will not be a problem, as Altu is a very determined woman and I can’t see her slowing down now. Good for us both!