So I know that I talked earlier in the month about starting to knit a new sweater. I cast on after thanksgiving: it was a cabled sweater, my first, ambitiously chosen from Alice Starmore's "Aran Knitting" book. While I worked on it over that long weekend, I hadn't worked on it much since then. What I realized rather quickly, is not just that it was complex, but rather there was literally something different happening on every fracking stich. The design in question, for those familiar with Starmore, was "Irish Moss," which is knit with lots of twisted stitches.
I was forced to admit defeat, not because I was incapable, I got an inch or two done, but because it was attention intensive that had no real interest in knitting on it. So I didn't knit on it, and eventually I had to come to grips with the fact that I needed to plan to do something else. So, being the determined sap that I am, I went through that collection, and decided to cast on for Na Cragga a slightly simpler (and more iconic) Starmore design.
I cast on last weekend, and have found a great joy in the pattern. The cables are all simple 2x2 and 3x3 cables all combined to great effect. I'm still at the beginning, so rather than show you all a shrimpy picture of a set of circular needles and some knitting hanging off of it, I'll talk a little bit of the project because my modifications are not insignificant.
The sweater designed as written is a very standard Aran design. Simple boxy constructed of flat pieces, shoulder straps (extending from the collar to the top of the sleeve to join the front and back of the body), and a crew neck color.
So I basically kept the cable patterns and ditched most of the rest of the pattern.
I'm knitting it out of a DK/Worsted weight wool, rather than the worsted/aran she calls for, and I dropped the "filler pattern at the sides (because I'm skinny). I might need to add some stitches in as I go along if I've over compensated for the fact that the book came out in the 80s and all the sweaters have 8 to 10 inches of ease. I did a swatch over plain stocking stitch and got 6 stitches to the inch (and a nice fabric) and my math suggests that given how many stitches I cast on (260ish, see why the "ish" later on) this could either be big enough erring on the large side, or a bit too small for the whole sweater but fine if it's the bottom hem. Some tapered shaping might be nice, so I'm not worried about this.
I also added a 9-stitch braid cable at either side of the sweater. This is to counteract the massive amount of subtracting that I did, and because I've been really intrigued by such cables. And it's my sweater. I however counted this wrong, thinking that I needed purl stitches for the border, and thus cast on initially for 262 stitches. There were some other issues with counting in the first round that I've gotten nailed out now, but it leaves me realizing that I don't quite know how many stitches are on the sweater and given that the patterns seem symmetrical and everything is working out.
The astute among you have probably realized that I'm knitting this in the round, rather than in pieces. I'll probably steak it because the wool is right for steeking, and I really despise turning my work. (Steeking = knitting a tube and then cutting it open to get armholes/neck openings/cardigans). So that's another modification.
Rather than knit a ribbing, I cast on (actually my mother cast on for me :-o) provisionally, and started knitting the pattern immediately. I expect that I'll knit a turned hem and facing after the fact, as I think something will be needed to hold to bottom of the sweater "together" and I think a hem might be just right
And given that I'm only a few inches into the sweater, I think that's pretty good.
I'll probably set in the sleeves a bit, by at least 9 stitches (more if I increase on either side of the armhole) and potentially a bit more that even, depending on how things are looking by that time.
And, because I'm me, and this is how I am, I'll knit some sort of slit open neck, for a little bit of extra ventilation wearablity. This means setting the middle cable aside as I near the neck, and then knitting little plackets, probably in garter stitch. Conversely, I'm considering some sort of braid cable, worked horizontally around the collar, that would meet in the back and miter with short rows. We'll see how ballsy I"m feeling when I get to that point.
I'm also planning to knit the sleeves off the shoulders rather than up from the cuff. For starters, I can make that fit much more easily, and I don't think that the upsidedownness will bug me at all, and I suspect other people won't notice either.
I'll keep you posted as this project progresses.