FO – Katelyn Basic Sweater

It would probably be fair to call this a Learning Sweater. It started as a sweater I knit while doing the reading for a Contemporary Literature course, but it became a course in classic sweater construction for me.

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Pattern: Katelyn Basic (Ravelry link), free pattern by the Berroco Design Team
Size: Medium (39″ bust)
Yarn: Caron One Pound 10-ply worsted weight, color Forest Green, 100% acrylic; I used less than 1 skein, which was less than 453 grams/15.98 oz or 826 yards/755 meters. I will try to get a more accurate measure of yarn used in the future.
Needles: US size 8 (5.0 mm) and 10 (6.0 mm) 14″ aluminum straight needles and size 7 (4.5 mm) 16″ circular needle
Modifications: Added approximately 1.5″ length to body

Started: October 12, 2009*
Finished: January 17, 2010**

* I originally started this sweater in February 2007, as one of my first knitting projects, but I started over again in a smaller size after letting it hibernate for a few years.

**You’ll also note that the season in which I took the photos is completely different from the sweater’s completion date (I shot them in April) and of course, I am not blogging this sweater until September. I look a little different now than I did in April, but more to the point, yes, I am a massive procrastinator.

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At the time that I started this sweater, I anticipated it being my first sweater, but because I put it aside for so long, that honor went to a much less successful project (which I haven’t ever worn and still hesitate to call finished). So, while not my “official” first sweater, this is the first one that is finished to a degree where I could wear it. I started it at a time when I was obsessed with this color, in my pre-knit-blogging days.

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A sweater is easy to knit in pieces and seems to move quickly, section by section. Once I restarted in a smaller size, this sweater seemed to fly off the needles, but I dallied about for a while as I tried to determine the best way to seam it. I opted for a rather aggressive wetting-and-ironing approach which didn’t go quite so far as killing the acrylic (here I mean the actual term killing, not destroying) but gave many of its benefits, especially flattening the edges and creating a thinner, drapier fabric to seam.

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I used an excellent tutorial from Studio Knits for sewing the horizontal shoulder seams, and I’m pretty surprised and pleased with how they came out. Setting in the sleeves was nowhere near the nightmare my first few set-in sleeves were, for which I am very relieved.

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It was easy to pick up stitches for the neck band, which I knit on a size 7 circular needle. Once the upper portion was together, all that remained was sewing the side and sleeves seams, though this as a fairly massive exercise in patience and care. I had to keep reminding myself that if I’d taken all that time to knit the pieces, it would behoove me to sew them together neatly.

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The yarn became noticeably softer and fluffier after washing and drying it. I know that acrylic gets a bad rep for garments, but I really love the ease of being able to toss it in with my regular wash and have it come out softer after tumbling on low heat. Caron One Pound is certainly not the most luxurious yarn in the world, but it is super affordable and made a lovely sweater. I noticed that the parts I ironed more aggressively are floatier and lighter, with a thinner fabric that drapes a little more. I may go over some of the thicker areas to get that same effect all over.

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I’m really pleased that I finally finished this sweater, since I learned so much while knitting it. I now feel prepared to take on other, more complicated sweater designs, and I’m no longer afraid to use my nicer yarns, haunted by visions of wonky disastrous seams. I am toying with the idea of taking up a sweater a month challenge, but seeing how many years it took me to knit this one, I may not be up to that pace just yet.

Still, is there anything more satisfying than being able to say you knit your own sweater?

Wakame Lace Tunic progress

When last we checked in on the Wakame Lace Tunic, it was a scarf-like band of lace that was taking me forever to knit.

Since then, I’ve finished the bottom band and joined it with a three-needle bind-off, picked up stitches, and begun working the body in the round.

I’m happy with the way the lace looks (would be nice if I could photograph it in focus), and I enjoy knitting it in the round much more than I did knitting back and forth on straights. I’m sure a lot of it is to do with being able to read the lace better now, as well as having memorized the chart.

The three-needle bind-off doesn’t look as terrible as I thought it would. Actually when it’s stretched out (as it will be when it’s blocked), it looks pretty neat and clean. I’m learning a lot of new construction techniques with this project, so it’s quite interesting and enjoyable.

Since taking these photos I knit another body repeat and am getting close to where I would cast on for the sleeves. I’m looking forward to seeing how that works.

I want to have this tunic finished by the end of March (for a KAL, yes), and while I know it’s hypothetically possible, I don’t know if it’s likely. I guess the only thing to do is knit and see.

New year, new lace

In lieu of a mosaic of last year’s FOs (which I umm, still haven’t finished photographing) or a summary of frantic Christmas gift knitting (nope), I have a fresh start for the new year.

Hellooooo, lace. I’ve missed you.

This is the start of the Wakame Lace Tunic, from the summer 2008 Interweave Knits. It has a very interesting construction, and I really love the lace pattern. I hope I continue to enjoy this project after a couple hundred more hours of it.

Also Blue

In contrast with my ever-so-pink socks, I am also going through quite a bit of a blue phase as well. I’m obsessed with navy and deeper, richer blues in ways I’ve never been before.

I started a Sunshine sweater, a beautifully-detailed top-down raglan designed by the lovely Auntie Amanda.

I remember when Amanda submitted this design to a Craftster “One Stitch to Rule Them All” challenge (where I submitted my Garter Lace Tote) and I thought I’d never be able to make something that complex and stylish.

I’m pretty chuffed that I’m making it through with nary a worry. This is a wonderful pattern and easy to customize for a perfect fit. I just split off the sleeves and am making my way down the body. I can’t wait to finish this sweater!

It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t also cast on for a new pair of socks. These are Eleanor socks, a pattern I’ve made once before (with not such great success).

This yarn is quite a treat. The varying shades of blue are combining so nicely, and I love working with it.

I’m working the eyelets the same this time, so I think I should be really happy with these socks.

Meanwhile, I’m relishing the blues.

FO – Molly Ringwald

Last Sunday, I finished my Molly Ringwald.

I think it’s pretty cute.

Pattern: Molly Ringwald by Michele Rose Orne, from Knitscene fall 2006 (on Ravelry)
Size: 43″
Yarn: Bernat Satin, 100% acrylic, 10-ply worsted weight, color 04232 Sage, 3.3 skeins or approximately 546 yards
Needles: Knit Picks Options, size 6 (4.00mm), Brittany birch crochet hook, size E (3.5 mm)
Modifications: added 1 inch length to body, used kf&b increases instead of m1, reversed strap stitch pattern for mirror symmetry, added crochet rounds at armscyes

Started: March 3, 2008
Finished: April 20, 2008

This was a lovely pattern, and I learned a lot in the process. It is full of elegant little design touches, like the way the ruffles are formed or the transition from the bust to the sleeves.

Because it is relatively simple, I knew finishing would be important. I was very careful with my seaming, and while I was tempted to avoid learning how to crochet for the neckline, it is now one of my favorite details. I like the clean, sharp edge so much that I crocheted around the armscyes as well. This is definitely a good skill to add to my knitter’s toolkit, as I’m sure I’ll use it again.

I really admired the way the sleeves were constructed, and that is another trick I plan to remember: the front neckline stitches are reduced down to 4 stitches on each side, and these are knit into a ribbed strap which extends over the shoulders and attaches to the back. Once the body is sewn together, you pick up stitches from this edge and knit outwards to form a pretty little shoulder. I imagine it would not be at all difficult to extend this to a cap or short sleeve. Way cute.

There were a few times when the 3×1 ribbing became maddening, but mostly I zoned out and got into the Zen of it. It was a good companion project for reading, or in this case, listening to the audiobook of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll for the Knitting 19th Century Novels group.

I’d been wanting to knit this top for a while, but when I envisioned it as Alice’s pinafore, I couldn’t resist bumping it up to have something cute for spring.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am completely entranced with this particular shade of soft bluish sage green, and I’m sure this won’t be the last project I knit in this color. The yarn was lovely to work with, and it’s soft and comfortable to wear. This was my first time using Satin, and it was just perfect for this project.

I do think I could have gone down a size. I’ve come across quite a few people online who’ve said there is a lot of ease built into the pattern, but I thought I’d rather have something slightly loose than too tight.

I would definitely recommend this pattern. It’s a lot of fun and a great learning experience. I think the effort I put into the finishing details really paid off, and overall I think this is a sweet top. I will probably not wear it with puff-sleeved embroidered shirts all the time, but I think it will still carry some of that charm with simpler styles too.

Now for my next sweater, something without ribbing!

Previous Entries on this Project:
The C-Word
Knitsomnia