Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Silk Stripe Sweater (Beginning and Re-beginning)

After blocking the swatch I did for this sweater, I realized I swatched with the wrong needles. I swatched with the smaller ones the pattern called for instead of the larger. But since I was doing a size that would be slightly small on me, I figured it would be ok. (The next size up was a little too big.)

So in mid-September, I cast on and got started:
The sweater is knit from the neck down. Instead of dividing the front and back at the side seam, they are divided at one of the "seams" formed by the color change. This means you can knit an entire sleeve at the same time. It's very, very clever.
So I knit the yoke and then joined under the sleeve and knit some more. But I became more and more convinced that the size was too small. So I took a deep breath and frogged it all. I reasoned with myself that although it looked like a lot of knitting, I had only been working on it for a couple days, so I could soon recover.

While I was restarting, I decided to remove the elastic strand that was included with the teal yarn. It was a good thing to include because silk does have a tendency to droop and sag (when you want it, you call it "drape"), but it made the teal just a little too tight. And without it, the two yarns would behave more similarly.

On the first ball, I just removed the strand as I knit. It meant I could cast on again right away, but I also have to stop every row or so and untangle and tear off the elastic. When I was getting ready for a road trip last weekend, I decided to prepare a whole ball at once.

It took an hour of winding, but I got the silk onto the ball winder, and the elastic off the ball winder.
Knitting without it is so much more pleasant!

Before I left, I got the first piece started and knit down to the armhole. On the road trip, I cast on the second half (front or back, they're identical)
and had quite a bit of time for knitting. Troy doesn't like to drive as much any more, so not quite as much time as I used to get. But hands need their rest so I guess it's good for me.

Although the sweater is written to have the front and back knit in two separate pieces that are seamed at the end, I decided I could get rid of at least one of those seams. When both pieces were knit to the armhole, I joined them into one long piece. Now I'm doing both parts at once, working with four balls of yarn in intarsia:
Especially since the seam would run right up the front of the shirt, I wanted to get rid of it if I could. I should have done this from the beginning so I wouldn't have a half seam from about the underarm to the neck, but I didn't think that far ahead. (I thought I would be able to knit it in the round, but it was a little more complicated than I was thinking. And then my cable needle turned out to be too long to do it comfortably, so I just resigned myself to one seam. Now, at least, I'll know which side is the back!)

I'm about half way through the waist shaping and making good progress. Although I can't really try it on like you normally can with top-down sweaters, it's looking much better since I went a size up.

I don't think I've said yet that I'm making this out of two raveled sweaters. The teal blue is 100% silk (Ann Taylor, so you know it's good) and the wheat colour is a silk/rayon blend. I'm a sucker for silk and both colours are really gorgeous. But I did think the teal was too strong and wondered what I was going to do with it. (There's only so much yarn you can justify just because it's pretty!) The wheat colour is very pretty, but I thought it would probably wash me out. When I saw the pattern in a magazine I bought for another pattern, I thought these two colours would be perfect. Since they're both silk and a similar weight, it is working well. It is interesting, however, that the teal is a perfectly smooth silk yarn, and the wheat is much more "slubby." But the contrast is good.

This is the only thing I have going right now, if you can believe it. I think about other things to start, but then I have to go to bed, or to work, or have to can or pickle some fruit. Plus Socktober is right around the corner and that will bring on a new project as well. I guess I can wait. (And work on this bit of loveliness in the meantime. It's rough.)

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