posts tagged: sweaters

when good patterns go wrong

In the fall, I started to crave a cushy, cabled sweater. The kind you pull out on a snowy day to sit on the couch and knit. I scoured Ravelry and ultimately settled on Stonecutter. I wasn’t really clear what the shaping at the ribbing was going to do on me, since it clearly does nothing on the modeled shots (and I knew I did not have her body, but still). I looked at finished pieces, and I wasn’t finding any obvious issues.

But I’ve got issues with it.

Pepperknit | Brooklyn Tweed Stonecutter

The way the “peplum” hits me makes me look impossibly wide, or rounded in ways that my body is not. Now, I’ve gained some weight in the last year, it’s true—ever-slowing metabolism, working from home, all that fun stuff—but this shape is making me look different than I am! Also even though I knit a larger size, my own issues with rowing out (where my purls are ever-so-slightly looser than my knits) meant an overall tightening up from my swatch, so the whole thing got a little narrower, and thus fits more snugly across the bust than I’d hoped it would.

Pepperknit | Brooklyn Tweed Stonecutter

So much else is going for it: the cushiness of Manos, the lovely soft white color (a dye lot issue on the back is something I will just live with and not care; I’m sure when I’m wearing it no one can see where I changed skeins), the warmth! I even enjoyed knitting this quite a bit—even more than a normal knit, because I was knitting it along with my friend¬†Christy Not Hip, and that was fun. I’ve worn it out twice: It looks SO CUTE under a jacket, but if I take that off, I look frumpy.

Pepperknit | Brooklyn Tweed Stonecutter

I finished this on my birthday, nearly a month ago, and I haven’t made a peep about it since because I’ve been debating unseaming the entire thing and adding length to the body. (Which, let me note, I already did: I knit a solid extra inch more than what the pattern calls for.) I really, really don’t want to bother unseaming and reknitting anything on it (I’d have to frog to below the arms). But I also really don’t want to wear the sweater as is very much. I’ll give it a few more weeks to decide, I guess.

Pepperknit | Brooklyn Tweed Stonecutter

My mom says I should just give it to her; she doesn’t mind it exactly the way it is (though it widens her too). We’ll see.

everything I’m knitting is gray

After a childhood spent wanting to blend into the background as much as was humanly possible—plain, solid non-eye-catching clothing only, please—I’ve come to love color. I wear a lot of different colors, in defiance of the “New Yorkers only wear black” dictum (and heck, I’m not an orignal NYer anyway; I’ve “only” lived here 8 years!). Nearly all of my coats are a bold color. (Though all my clothing is generally still solid. Some things never change.)

But sometimes, goddammit, you just want a gray cardigan. Or a sweater that isn’t such a “statement.” So you start to opt for grays when you’re amassing yarn, whether in a sweater’s quantity or a single skein to contrast with a fun color (in all those two-color shawls, for example). You request a gray cardigan for Christmas (and get two). And then suddenly the next thing you know, all you seem to have is gray yarn on the needles.

surface crochet heart

There’s this, which got a teeny tiny pop of color as an embellishment the other day (and will be photographed in full soon).

gray wip

There’s this, a sweater I started back in March but haven’t worked on since I changed back to knitting English to help my hand pain. This one was started Continental, and I feel as though I should only do it that way lest I have a visible tension change. I’m about 3 inches from done (THREE INCHES) but can’t seem to get back to it (also it hurts too much to work on). It’s going to be cute but kind of dressy, and I so rarely put on actual clothing these days that there’s no real impetus to get it done.

gray wip

And there’s this one, which I’m knitting English specifically in response to the one above, and which I had knit a ton of before taking a hard look and realizing that I was knitting far tighter than I had on the swatch, and it was coming out super small. So I frogged and started over (while at the beach) and have been slowly slogging away at the stockinette ever since. I like having this one on hand, though, because it doesn’t require any thought at all.

colors

But then I’ve got this sitting waiting to be seamed up—I should really take a break from all the gray and play with this loveliness!

a little nautical sweater

This summer, family beach week is going to be a little quieter, because we’ll be missing a whole chunk of our family. They’ll be staying home, anticipating the birth of my cousin’s baby, the first of our next generation! So while I’ll be laying on the beach, catching crabs, and eating my fill of fried oysters, they’ll be putting the finishing touches on a nautical-themed bedroom for the little one.

nautical placket neck pullover

And to go with that, I knit him a sweater.

Though our family is much more crab-oriented, I thought little whales and anchors would be more easily graphed; I charted out the band of them and put it on a slightly modified Child’s Placket Neck Pullover by Joelle Hoverson. I’ve knit this sweater before, and I know it comes together fast; this was helpful because it took 3 tries before this finally worked right. First I didn’t like the charted pattern—too spread out—and second it was gigantic (a friend with babies saw it and balked, then I looked at the measurements and that one was more like a 2 year old’s!). I did tweak the stitch counts of the sweater to fit my chart as well as the CYC-given measurements for a six month old. Now, I don’t know the first thing about babies, but it looks super small, so here’s hoping it’s a very cool fall in Georgia, because I’d been hoping he could wear it in the winter!

nautical placket neck pullover

The yarn? Good ol’ Cascade 220. Sorry to my cousin: you’re going to have to hand-wash this garment.

nautical placket neck pullover

lace batwing top

I finished! I finished! And I can still type, grasp the pole in the subway, hold a book—and look good while I do it.

lace batwing top

When last I wrote my hands ached and hurt so badly I didn’t even know what to do. I iced both wrists on and off for the rest of the evening and took as much Aleve as was possibly recommended. That night I slept with my only brace on, prioritizing my left hand, which is generally worse than my right. When I woke up in the morning it was better. Friends came over for brunch so I was cooking and using my hands differently. When we all sat down in the living room after we ate, I picked up the knitting and discovered that knitting wasn’t torture any longer!

lace batwing top with mom

I took it very slowly, and it was done later that afternoon. I could not believe it. It went into a tub of water and the new Soak scent, yuzu (so bright and springy!), and the sweater was blocking that night. A three-needle bind-off two days later, and I was ready for the Bridesmaids’ Luncheon the day before my cousin’s wedding! (Because I was doing a reading at the wedding, I was considered part of the bridal party.) Paired with a khaki skirt, pearls, and a sock bun, and I was feeling very appropriate for the event. The sweater was actually comfortably warm on what turned out to be a chilly, dreary day by the beach, and so soft. So soft!

lace batwing top detail

Setting aside the pain, I really enjoyed knitting this.¬†My only modification was to do another whole round of the increase chart to add both length and width. Thanks for cheering me on while I worked my way through the pattern! As a reminder/for posterity: Pattern is the Lace Batwing Top from Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2012, designed by Brooke Nico. I knit it in Artyarns’ Ensemble Light, the called-for yarn in the color it calls for, even!

IMG_2295

slow, slow progress

It’s been a full month since I posted my swatch of the lace pattern in Brooke Nico’s Lace Batwing Top from the latest Vogue Knitting. And I’m pleased to report that I’m nearly finished! I thought I would be done by now but my hands are in incredibly bad shape, so I can’t knit for long periods anymore.

lace batwing top progress

Turns out I love, love, love knitting this pattern though. The yarn (Artyarns Ensemble Light) is a dream to work with (50% cashmere, 50% silk: how could you go wrong?) and, best of all, it seems, to me, to work together perfectly with the needles I’m using (addi clicks) so the experience is nothing short of lovely. However, tiny needles and fussy lace (oh how I hate ou double decreases!) mean aching thumbs, wrists—basically my whole hands.

The pattern, which at first seemed so daunting, is nearly memorizable. The only thing I couldn’t be confident I’d remembered every row was how many stitches were at the edges, outside the repeat. A quick glance at the chart was all I’d need, though. Because I hoped to finish this quickly, I employed a few time-saving measures, such as wrapping the ssk stitches backward on the plain rows, so that they are sitting on the needles correctly when it comes time to decrease them.

lace batwing top

As I type this I am taking a break from the sweater, but I’m about 10 rows shy of a completed front. I really really want to wear the sweater in a week at my cousin’s bridal luncheon, so I’ve got a deadline but I’m also trying to preserve the feeling in my hands! Wish me luck I can do both in the coming days.