Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sweater Woes

Well. Clearly I shouldn't have vowed not to post until I could come back and say that Veronique was blocked and seamed, because it didn't get done that weekend as I had anticipated. True to my word - no blog post last week. Sorry about that.

I did block it that weekend, but when I pinned it together to seam it, it became apparent to me that I had indulged in some reckless optimism as to the length of the second half. It fell at least an inch short. Don't ask me how I looked at it and said "sure, it matches" because all I can figure is that I was sick and tired of knitting stockinette in laceweight mohair and therefore, in the interests of sanity, declared myself done early.

So I unpinned it and this weekend I knitted the extra rows I needed and seamed it. The seaming wasn't as painful as I thought it was going to be, and I think I did a reasonably good job. I tried it on and decided I didn't need it to be much bigger than it was, so I knitted as few extra rows and did the bind off. Now all that remains to be done is the sleeves.

One problem, though. I...don't like it very much. I'm hoping that some of the problems I have with it will work out once I have knitted the sleeves and blocked the whole thing one more time, but I'm just not a fan. The sleeves are my big worry. They just don't look or feel like they're in the right place. Part of this is because of the garment itself - the shrug is basically a circle with sleeves. My hope is that once I take out the provisional cast on and knit the sleeves, they will orient themselves properly and the weird fold of fabric I'm expriencing at the front of the shrug will go away. It may be (and I hope it is) that the cotton I used for the provisional cast on can't move or stretch very well, and that's why things look odd. But I'm not sure, and let me tell you, nothing sucks the motivation out of a project like the fear that you are not going to like the end result.

I do think if I were going to knit it again, I would go up a needle size. The fabric seems denser than it should be to me, which probably also contributes to the chunkyness I feel when I put it on. Again, I'm hoping that blocking will help. I didn't really stretch it last time but I may have to, in order to open it up a little more. Of course, amount of stretching possible will now be limited because of the seams, but whatever - I'll worry about it when the sleeves are done.

Speaking of sleeves, I have been working on the sleeves of the featherweight cardigan, but not very much. Sleeves are boring. And frankly, I'm not sure how much I'm going to love the end result on this one, either. There's nothing wrong with the design, I just think that maybe the bind-offs I did on the collar and the hem that I thought were plenty loose, may not actually be all that loose. I worry. I'm a worrier. I really should just suck it up and finish the sleeves so that I can like it or not and move on with my knitting life. It is a little disheartening, though, to think that I'm unhappy with all three sweaters I have knitted. I'm excited to start Simone and I'm really hoping it will break my crappy sweater trend.

When I blocked and measured my swatch, it turned out that I hadn't gotten guage on either needle size. The recommended needle size is 7. I swatched 7 and 8, and my guage was too tight on both. Since neither panned out, I knit a third swatch, this time with a 9. Wash, block, measure. This time my guage was huge. I couldn't understand it, especially since I had measured before washing and I was right on. And I wasn't off by a little, I was off by two whole stitches. Then I thought for a second, and gave my swatch a vertical tug. Problem solved. Gauge was perfect. See, when I knit the first swatch, I made it very generous. This second swatch I cast on the same number of stitches, and I knit until I ran out of yarn in my swatching ball, which gave me a swatch that was wider than it was tall. When I blocked it, I just laid it flat and patted it into shape - by smoothing it width-wise. I think if I had smoothed it vertically instead, I would have still had guage. This sweater will hang vertically on my body, therefore I deem the vertically stressed number to be more accurate than the horizontally stressed number. Therefore, I'm not knitting another stinkin' swatch.

Of course, because I am me, I haven't gone all this time without starting another lace project. I'm working on Phoenix Rising in Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace. The color is called Maple Grove, but it absolutely looks like flames to me. I picked the perfect firey beads to go with it and I'm in that wonderful phase at the beginning of the project where the rows are really short and so it feels like you are absolutely flying through the charts. Hopefully I'll have a post with pictures next week, it just turned out when I went to upload that I hadn't taken pictures of any of the things I thought I would, so I'll have to fix that before the next post.

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