Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Great Snowflake Sweater of 2012

After a good blocking, the sweater looked and felt much more finished. The wool felt softer and everything set itself as it should. The pattern sat flatter and evened out.

I think I mentioned before that I blocked the sleeves about as wide as I could stretch them.

So I had my fitting with the client (and his mom, the purchaser) and that went well. We met at the knit shop, sort of neutral territory and, as it turns out, about half way between where we each live.

He tried on the sweater fit. He seemed very pleased with the design. He wanted snowflakes and he got them! He did comment that the sleeves were a little snug, but not too tight, and they were just the right length since he often has cold hands and likes a long cuff he can fold up or down. The length of the body was a little longer than he specified but it wasn't so long it gave him problems. (He hates when a sweater interferes with getting into pockets.) So all was good. His mother, when asked for a comment, simply said, "If you're happy, I'm happy." High praise indeed.

But don't worry...all the ladies in the knit shop let loose with compliments. (I had checked the class schedule and thought I picked a time when there wasn't one going. But no, when I got there, there were 6 or 7 people there.) Amy, the owner, had been primed to "help" if needed, but the fitting went well and faster than I thought it might. I took the sweater home with me to do the final finishing of working in the ends, etc, and mailed it out yesterday. Done.

I was too chicken to ask the client to let me take pictures (and even more shy with the audience there), but I managed to press a friend into the task. The sweater was a little more snug on him than the client, but I think it fits well enough for you to get the idea.

This was the best picture of the lot, but I blurred it because I was giggling too hard:
I snapped it before he even thought we had started. There were a few of us in the room and we were all giving him a hard time and having some fun at his expense. All in good fun, of course.

Now for some statistics...

I tried hard to track all my time on this project for my own interest's sake, but I'm sure I lost track of some of it. That is to say, the real number could easily be higher, but it couldn't be lower. I divided the time into four categories and the hours spent in each are:

Planning (meetings/emails with client, designing sweater, fitting): 16.5 hours
Swatching/blocking/finishing: 4 hours
Knitting: 62.25 hours
Ripping out: 1.25 hours

For a grand total of 84 hours to make a sweater. Hourly wage? (You really want it?) Just under $3/hr. Mental anguish: priceless.

Project Stats
: 18 Aug '12
Finished: 2 Dec '12
Pattern: personal design (with client)
Materials: Knit Picks Swish DK (11 Dusk, 4 White) $67.35
I've had quite a few people mention this project and say things like, "I guess you'll never do that again." (Especially my mother who I think has been feeling my pain.) But I don't agree. I guess that's one sign that I'm complaining too much.

But I also think that not everything worth doing is going to be easy and fun. And usually when you do something for the first time, it is not easy or fun. (Ask the high school student I work with who is being forced to learn to drive a stick!) But only by doing it will you get better at it. I'm not really sure I want to do this again, but how would I know unless I tried it? That is my take on it. Considering the horror stories out there and possible ways things could have gone wrong, this went pretty well despite the unstructured (and never ending) planning process. The client got a sweater that fit and I got paid. Many transactions like this don't end that well!

And I may have a client for life...while we were doing the fitting, he asked me about making some fingerless mitts for his cold hands...
Ok, one more shot.
(See? Now you're giggling too.)

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