This sweater is cursed

I’ve been knitting merrily along on the top-down seamless raglan baby sweater, and I just finished my 76th row, split for the arm holes, joined the body, and knit another four rows down.

I started wondering, though… why doesn’t my sweater look like the example? I scoured the pattern for where my math went wrong, and I counted the purl ridges to see it had about half as many rows before the arm split as mine did. Still I really couldn’t figure out where I went wrong.

I reread the pattern over several more times, checking my stitch counts, the number of stitches increased per section, and everything.

Finally, I figured it out. This is what I was doing:

  • Knit row with increases – 8 stitches increased
  • Purl
  • Knit straight across
  • Purl

This is what I should have been doing:

  • Knit row with increases – 8 stitches increased
  • Purl
  • Knit, increasing again – 8 more stitches increased
  • Purl

Which means I knit twice as much as I was supposed to, got a weird misshapen shoulder (err, baby capelet?), and will now have to rip it all back.

Sigh. Third time’s a charm, right?

I can’t believe I did something so dumb.

The good news is the father saw the sweater in progress today and said it was beautiful. He was really amazed by the evenness of the stitches and the softness of the fabric. I also learned that his wife just started knitting – another new knitter in the community!

(Let’s hope for her sanity that she doesn’t make mistakes like these.)

So Much Better

Despite all the other things in my life that I really ought to be doing, I couldn’t get over the disappointment of that stinking baby sweater. I was walking around possessed with frustration. I debated giving up knitting entirely and selling my stash on e-bay, as well as setting a small controlled fire in my bathtub.

I regained my sanity, however, and made a few more rounds on the internet, where I came up with the perfect solution:

So much more my speed.

This is a top down seamless raglan sweater designed by Carole Barenys, from Knitting on the Net. Omitting the purl ridges, it is exactly what I wanted.

Arbitrarily, I decided that Caron Simply Soft isn’t really worsted weight. I still didn’t do a gauge swatch (truly, I never will learn), but I used size 5 straights for the ribbing and a size 6 circular for the stockinette. I think it suits the yarn far better than any other combination I’ve tried. These are larger sizes than the pattern calls for, but the pattern makes a 6-month size sweater, so I’m okay with mine being larger.

The sweater seems to grow proportionately, so I don’t have to worry that it will get wonky the way it might if I did it to measurements. And if it turns out to be greatly over-sized, well, it will just fit the baby longer.

I’m enjoying knitting this so much more, and the knowledge that I won’t have to grapple with awful seaming is making me downright tranquil. I have to think that in some way the positive energy I am now putting into it will make it to baby Gabriel. I also get to pick out sweet little buttons, which I’ve never done before. It’s perhaps strange how exciting that detail has become.

At this point, I’ve done 32 rounds. I’m meant to continue increasing until there are 42 stitches on the sleeves. I did a little math to see what I may anticipate, and it goes something like this:

42 stitches desired – 8 initial stitches = 34 stitches to increase
34 increased stitches / 2 increases per round = 17 increase rounds
17 increase rounds * 4 rows per increase section = 68 increasing rows
68 increasing rows + 8 rows of ribbing = 76 rows to complete increases

If I am correct in this, then I am about 40% done with the increasing section. Not bad.

Now I just have to deal with finding time to knit while squeezing in the rest of my schoolwork and massive end-of-semester franticness.

Good thing Iggy is nearby, cuddling a sweater for inspiration.

Shrug On

After your suggestions and the lovely new patterns (thank you!), I have significantly lengthened my list of future shrug projects. In the meantime, however, I’ve gone with the Cropped Raglan Sweater from Lion Brand.

Pattern: Cropped Raglan Sweater, Lion Brand free pattern #70111, size Large
Yarn: Lion Brand Pound of Love 100% acrylic, 4-ply worsted, color 099, Antique White, dye lot 34787
Needles: Susan Bates size 7 straights, KnitPicks Options size 8 circulars
Modifications: none planned
Started: April 23, 2007

I may try to make another before I leave (probably the Fiery Bolero), but in the meantime I think this pattern is the one I’m most likely to successfully complete, and it fits all of my requirements. It’s also simple enough that I can knit and read, which is essential in these final crazy busy weeks of the semester.

I’m a few inches in already, at 9 of the 28 initial raglan repeats, and I really like it. I think that it will be really versatile, as it will probably be large enough to wear pinned shut as well as open.

I’m using very soft off-white acrylic (I’ll explain why I usually use synthetics in a future post), and I absolutely love the way it feels against my skin.

It’s almost surprising how much I enjoy the eyelets on the raglan seams.

I am hopeful that this will turn out really nice, and I am excited thinking about wearing it in Italy!

Indecisive Shrugs

Yesterday I wore a rather uncomfortable and ill-fitting store-bought sweater over a sun dress and it became apparent that I could really use a nice shrug. I’m going to be spending this summer in Venice, and my professor has informed me that women are required to cover their shoulders when going into churches, which is where a lot of the art we’ll be seeing resides, so something really versatile would be great.

That said, I’m having a heck of a time finding just the right shrug. I think part of why I’m struggling is that I already know the yarn I want to use, and I’m trying to avoid buying new needles… but few shrug patterns tend to call for worsted weight or the needles I have.

One contender is this Cropped Raglan Sweater from Lion Brand, though it seems perhaps a bit less fitted than I’d like.

I was also looking at some of the shrugs in the Summer 2005 issue of Interweave Knits, particularly the Fiery Bolero, which is exactly what I want, though I’d have to adapt it for the yarn change.

I’m undecided on the Viennese Shrug, which is for worsted weight, but maybe not my favorite lace pattern ever. I really wish they had a photo of the back.

They also had a set of Staff Shrugs (opens PDF), but they don’t feel quite right for what I want.

I went through every single shrug or bolero pattern in the Knitting Pattern Central database (perhaps I haven’t mentioned – I can get obsessive sometimes), and nothing really called out to me.

This Silk Capelet Shrug is cute, but calls for tiny yarn and needles.

Lastly, I’m rather fond of this Wanda cropped sweater (especially because my grandmother’s name is Wanda), though here the needles are too large, and I wonder if so much detail would feel heavy.

Argh, I feel like I’m being so picky! I wish I knew enough to design my own shrug, but as it is I’m not even comfortable figuring out how to modify an existing one. Ironically, I had started knitting an Esprit Raglan Shrug last summer, but I got so sick of the fiddly tiny elastic yarn that I put it aside and never got back to it.

So I’ll have to think on this a little more…

Lippitt Good

I’m making good progress on my Lippitt halter. Last night I finished the back, and I decided to bind off the top in the rib pattern, following the instructions found here, which was basically to knit the first two stitches, then knit the apparent stitches and bind off as usual. I’m not even sure why I had to look it up, but I wanted to be sure.

I think that binding off in the ribbing pattern gave it a really nice, clean look, and I’m really pleased with the finish.

I actually made the back 13″ long instead of the 12″ that the pattern called for. When I finished the sections of increases I was already at 12.5″ (perhaps my measurements of an inch between them were a bit overly generous), so I figured I’d give myself an extra half inch to absorb the final increases. My boyfriend measured my back for me, and at 13″, the back will come to just the place I want that will allow me to wear my favorite strapless bra without incident.

When I finished knitting this piece, my boyfriend helped again by spacing it out over my back and waist, and it looks like it will fit very nicely. I was so enthused that I cast on for the front and am on my way to the second decrease already.

On an unrelated trip around the internet looking at buttons, it occurred to me that I haven’t yet picked out the ring for the front of this yet. I checked out a few trims and accessories sites. At this point, the front runner is probably this Flat Metal Ring from M&J Trim:

The 50mm (2-inch) one is 1/4″ larger than the pattern calls for, which is perfect because I had wanted a little more of the ring to show. At $3.98, it’s pretty hard to beat, though I may continue looking to see if I can find something dark and wooden like I’d originally envisioned. Any suggestions or opinions would be greatly appreciated.