I've mentioned that I was working on a new sweater a few months ago, but I've neglected to post or write about the project at all. Let's change that now:
In most respects it's just like a number of existing sweaters that I've made: two color patterns, using a combination of mid-sized extrapolation of Scandinavian mitten patterns, with some influence of Turkish stocking patterns arranged in panels to convey strong vertical lines. The yarn is Harrisville Shetland, and another unidentified Shetland from a cone I got years ago and have now used in three sweaters. The plan is to have a simple fisherman's-style drop shoulder construction with a simple short crew neck color.
The plan diverges somewhat from "tychoish standard" in two respects:
The biggest change is that it's going to be a cardigan. I've never made a cardigan that I'd call a rocking success. I can do it, but the finishing always leaves something to be desired and it hangs funny or flares in a way that I don't want.
The plan for finishing the cardigan opening this time around is to use the steek (the bit that you cut open) as the facing for a hem. the idea is minimal prep and let the yarn do its thing. For closure, I'll do an attached i-cord band with room for buttons.
The slightly smaller change is that rather than use a hem, I used the "purl-when-you-can-and-want-to" for bottom hem treatment. The idea is that if you purl occasionally for the first few inches you can counteract the tendency of knitted fabric from rolling. It's not perfect yet, but I've not steamed it, so we'll see.
It's fun to knit so far, and I look foraward to finally conquering my fear/avoidance of cardigans and perhaps finding the perfect lower edge finishing approach for stranded sweaters.
Onward and Upward!
I've started a new project, much to my own surprise. After many years of looking at the merino/tencel blend "colrain" I ordered a cone of it, and have cast on a project: a plain tube using size 0s..
I think I may be crazy.
The thing is, I got one of these neck tubes a month or two ago, and it's the most amazing thing ever. Looks good with most things, not weird, very comfortable, etc.
So I'm making myself one...
I'm calling it "Ballstown" after a tune in the Sacred Harp of the same name. The tune is named after the town in the capital region of New York State, now known as "Ballston Spa." Why? Because I cast on 217 stitches.
It turns out, I've really rather missed plain knitting that you can just knit on for hours without really thinking about, or can knit on in the dark.
One of the reasons that I've not been knitting as much recently, other than available time is that I've found it difficult to actually wear or use the things I knit. Sweaters, even finer weight ones are too warm to wear inside, and not windproof enough to keep me warm outside without substantial jacket.
The answer is to knit finer fabrics, of course, but this has been easier said than done, for me. Mostly I've stuck to fair isle sweaters, which are great fun to knit, and reasonably wearable, but difficult to knit on casually: lots to lug around, and starting to knit something with a pattern requires some "spin up time," as you remember where you were and what you're supposed to be doing.
In most ways this plain tube is the perfect answer to this problem....
I'll blog more about this (or not,) as I progress.
I did a little bit of holiday knitting shopping. Given how infrequently I buy yarn and knitting things and the fact that shopping for knitting things correlates strongly with my project planning, it seems worth sharing:
I got a cone of merino/tencel lace weight yarn in a steel blue color to knit a long plain tube to wear as a neck tube/scarf thing. I bought one of these a few months ago knit out of a jersey tencel knit, and I adore it, so it makes sense to knit something similar.
Hopefully knitting these scarves will prove successful and useful. I'm not much of a knitted sock wearer, I find most flat scarves dreadful to knit, I find shawls difficult to pull off, and I enjoy knitted hats but don't find them windproof enough for common use. Having good, small, lightweight, and plain knitting projects would probably be very good thing indeed.
I bought a couple of carbon fiber knitting needles, in sizes 2.5 (the size that my sweaters have been and will be for a little while,) and 0s (for the scarfs and hem facings as needed.)
I'm a chronic needle bender and like sharp points and reasonably slippery needles. I also have a set of carbon fiber needles for socks which are great. Very much looking forward to trying these out.
Finally, I've procured a few cones of HD Shetland to complement some of my left overs. On the sweater queue:
a few cardigans. One for my mother, and a second one for me?
maybe something with shoulders/sleeves in a different color? I've used this kind of shading on otherwise plain sweaters, but it seems interesting to see how it might look on a two color sweater.
I've been knitting! Here's an update:
I finished a sweater. Still need to block it, but it looks great so far. It's a (near) duplicate of a sweater that I made a few years ago in blues. The biggest difference in construction is that I did the hem in a very slightly different way. Other than that, it's very much the exemplar of "the default tychoish sweater."
Note to self, it would be good to have a version of this sweater in brown.
I started another sweater. This one is a medium gray and light blue-gray as a cardigan. Rather than do hems, the idea with this is:
This is an Elizabeth Zimmerman and Meg Swansen technique for colorwork to avoid ribbing or hems. If you purl occasionally in the first few inches, you can prevent rolling. Seems to work well enough, and it makes the bottom edge less bulky and more integrated into the sweater.
Another Meg Swansen technique where you use the steek as facing, by crocheting along the edges and then knitting an i-cord to cause the steak to "fold" under and act as a facing. Blocking does the rest. Again, the end result is lightweight, flexible, and easy to handle.
I have about five inches done, and I expect slow but steady progress on this over the next few months.