Saturday, June 1, 2013

Starting Scarpetta

A while ago I showed you a swatch for a shirt,
where I was alternating between two colours of madeline tosh merino light. I like to mix a variegated with a solid to calm it down, but now that I've been working with it, I think this orange is making this fabric more lively, instead of less. The variegated is much darker than I really thought it was and maybe should have been combined with a darker brown. But I'm ok with it--I like the effect; it's just not exactly what I initially planned.

About a week into May, I cast on the project. It's starts with the hem of one of the sleeves, which is a fold over hem. After that you add increases as you work up the arm. When you reach the underarm, you stop working in the round and decrease at each edge to shape the armhole. When it's long enough, you put it aside and start the front.

The front is cast on along what will become the side seam and worked toward the centre for about a dozen rows. Along one edge, you increase for the underarm shaping (you'll see another picture in a minute that will help make sense of this).
The increase called for in the pattern is to knit in the front and the back of the stitch. I did this, trusting the pattern writer. But when I was finished the increases, that edge was too tight compared to the body of the piece:
You should be able to see how the
top edge is pulling in--not good.
And I certainly didn't want it to be tight along the underarms. (Doesn't that drive you nuts in shirts?) So I undid the whole thing (like I said, only about a dozen rows) and cast on again. This time I did a twisted loop increase which adds some extra yarn, and it definitely wasn't too tight. (Maybe even a bit loosey goosey, but I'll adjust that during seaming.)

The second improvement I made while redoing the front part was that I did the provisional cast on over a spare cable needle (thinner than the working needle) instead of waste yarn. The pattern tells you to provisionally cast on both the front and back at the side seams and then sew (Kitchener) them together at the end. Can I get a "Hell to the no!"? So once the front part was done, I started the back by knitting the stitches from the provisional cast on on the front. No seaming. Less time. More elegant. (How bout giving me a "Hell, ya!"?)

Once the little bits of the back and front are done (not very long because it's just the part under the sleeve), you put all the stitches on one needle and start knitting the front, sleeve (which is now really the shoulder) and back all at once. So you're knitting from the hem, up over the shoulder, and back down to the hem.

I've been doing this for a while now (so it seems) and have a ways to go before I do any kind of shaping for the neckline. Today I thought I would try it on to make sure I'm going in the right direction.
It's a little shorter than I expected, but otherwise fit well. The hem still covered the waistband of my pants, and will only stretch further down, so I think it's all systems full ahead.

Here's a close up of the underarm shaping that will have to be sewn later:
The back and front make one "V" and the sleeve makes another, and they all meet and live happily ever after, etc. I've not done this type of shaping before (I don't knit a lot of things side to side), but it will give a better fit than what I think is the usual method of just knitting straight from the sleeve to the body. That leads to too much bulk under the arm and not enough ease over the shoulders (in my opinion), especially for something fitted.

One thing I didn't see coming is just how far up the seam will come:
That is definitely going to be visible and not hidden under the arm, so I am going to have to do some pretty good sewing. But that's a problem for later...

Meanwhile, this is a project that will most likely find it's way into my bags for Squam for some travel knitting. I expect pretty much everyone will be knitting there all the time, but someone on Ravelry warned not to get too ambitious with the projects you bring (or how many) because there's really not a whole lot of down time to get it done. Hmmm....

I have some airport and plane time to fill anyway, so I'll definitely be bringing stuff to do. Troy's socks will end up in there too, I'm sure. (I wouldn't mind if some elves came and worked on them during the nights, but so far no luck. Maybe I'll stop "hiding" it in my purse so they can find it. Right now they're spending way too much time throwing dust around.)

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