Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mr. Greenjeans Revisited

Redone=ripped+reknitted band>R E L I E F.

It fits much better now. (This post is REpeated, with all new pics and words, as I have eaten the old ones.) ETA:  I have deleted the photos from this post.  I widened the button bands in an effort to make it wearable, but I still don't like the sweater.  Below is a long explanation of my problem.  In summary, the front is too small.   

If you remember, I was confused about size selection for Mr. Greenjeans from the beginning. I knew the schematic indicated the size small, at 36.5 inches, should be a pretty good fit. However, the designer responded to a question posed about sizing. She said if you wanted to wear the sweater buttoned, you should knit a size larger than you normally would.

I thought that was odd, so I ignored it and knitted the small. The dimensions seemed correct. Then I couldn't get the front to block out to the same dimensions as the back. After measuring, blocking, measuring, studying the pattern, checking my math, etc., I have concluded that the the sweater I've knitted in size small, blocked to size in the back, but not the front, is just too skimpy. The combination of that many cables in this yarn pulls the waist in too much to fit me properly. Reblocking didn't help.

Knitting a larger size will give you a better fitting waist, but the top will be loose. I've seen this effect in the knit-a-long entries, and I don't want it. My altered button bands make the sweater nearly 2 inches wider in the waist and the sleeve caps. Knitting the larger size would have made it 4 inches larger, with proportionate changes in the other dimensions. Maybe it would have been perfect for me, but it probably would have been too large. As it is, a simple fix was successful enough.

Originally, there was much to like. I like the twisty little cables. I'm truly pleased with the look, the way the cables pull the bottom away, the yarn overs on the yoke, and the fit of the sleeves. I added about 8 inches to the the length of the sleeves, and an inch to the length of the sweater. I was rewarded with cuffs that fit neatly around my wrists and a bottom hem that covers my shirt.
I just had no idea how small a sweater this is when I first saw the pattern. It's actually more of a bolero, or cropped cardigan. That's why it doesn't take much yarn. I should have realized that what attracted me ("Look, a cardigan from less than 1,000 yards!") was actually useful information about the type of sweater, not some magic performed by the designer. I know designers aren't magicians, just thoughtful hard-working knitters who are brave enough to publish their patterns.
If I were to completely knit my Mr. Greenjeans over, I'd cast on more stitches, either using the number of stitches for the size medium front with the size small back, or calculating the number needed to produce a size 38, in between the small and the medium.
Rather than ripping out the entire sweater and knitting it again in the proper size, I decided to reknit the button band. Wider button band, different button. Not a good match, but ok for now. Button shopping is on my list of things to do after the holiday.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Success Looms, Knitting wise

One successfully completed scarf, knitted on a loom.
I credit most of the success in this project to the Malabrigo yarn. The color mix is so appealing, that one of my friends almost ripped it off the loom in her eagerness to see it.

Honestly, I admit that a simple scarf knitted from a knock-out skein of yummy hand-dyed yarn (so yummy, the friend exclaimed after grabbing the mostly-finished scarf, "oooO-Ooh, this is soft!) is always a success, whether knitted on needles or a loom. The one thing that impressed me is that I managed (second) a 40" scarf, with fringe (making it 48" in length, 5" in width) after making this, first:

From ONE skein of Malabrigo. TWO scarfs, smidges, whatever. From 216 yards of yarn, plus a about 50 yards of cheap novelty white stuff. The brown one is the zig-zag stockinette, double knit, so hard to reproduce on needles, the white one is K1,P1 ribbing. Had I tried to do this on needles, it would have taken me much longer, (cuz I'm slow with ribbing); it would have curled (cuz I would have just knit the brown one in stockinette to save yarn) and I wouldn't have had enough yarn.

At least, that's my take on it. There's no doubt I could have double-knit the brown scarf on needles. And, certainly, I could have knitted the 1x1 ribbed 'smidge' on needles. I think they would have taken longer--not good for scarves, which I find tedious to knit. I also think they would have taken more yarn in the stitches, resulting in bulkier, shorter scarves. My first smidge was a knitted tube--it is much bulkier than this double-knit version.

So. I like the loom. I'll probably use it again for simple scarves or ribbing. I tried a placemat on it last night, but I'm ripping that out today. Wrong yarn, wrong gauge, not the loom's fault. I still like the loom. It's well-made, easy to use, and the instruction book is great.

Ya, so maybe you're not running over to Marla's site to buy a knitting loom? I got nuttin for yout, then. Except a rather large mushroom. (It's bigger than my outstretched hand.)

Life is strange, but wonderful.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Mr. Greenjeans Sweater

I know you thought I've been a slacker knitter, just playing around with my knitting loom, or knitting tiny little sweaters or some such. In self-defense, I have an "eff oh" to show--my finished Mr. Greenjeans.

That is, it might be finished. I'm not totally sure. I would characterize this project with one word: Impulse. From beginning to end, my knitting of this sweater was completely driven by spur-of-the-moment, no thought involved, get-it-and-go impulsiveness.

I saw the pattern and decided to knit it. I realized the yarn I thought would work was the wrong gauge, and on finding no yarn I liked in the right gauge, I bought some I didn't like in the wrong gauge. (Somehow, it made sense at the time.) I impulsively asked for a knit-a-long and someone started one. At that point, there was no going back. I knit a long. I even joined the Ravelry group for Mr. Greenjeans.

I did read and comment a bit about the sleeves being too short for my liking, the body needing to be longer, and finding no real disagreement on those points, I impulsively lengthened the body by and inch or so and the sleeves by about 8 inches. Other than this discussion of lengths, my participation in the groups has been minimal.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Knitting Looms Ahead

I've been intrigued by looms since I found out about the loom-knitted scarfs that are selling for big bucks. When I had the chance, I bought a loom and instruction book with full-color, easy to follow illustrations. You can find Marla's products at

She knits most of her samples in dishcloth cotton. I thought that would be hard to work, but Marla explained that the opposing pegs on the board make it easy to keep your stitches loose. She let me try it, with some alpaca yarn she had on her board. It was easy, and I was sold. I was amused to see that she recommends, and sells, a nutpick for moving the yarn over the pegs.

After a little practice, I started on a 1 x 1 ribbed scarf. One by one ribbing, my nemesis. The moving the yarn back and forth between each stitch slows me down, my tension is affected by switching between knit and purl stitches, and I keep forgetting to slip a stitch for my selvedge. None of that is a problem with the loom--I can produce 1 x 1 ribbing with the same speed and ease as stockinette on needles. The edge is neat, the stitches even.
Not that I knit faster on the loom, I just mean that I knit ribbing faster. And more evenly. However, I do think that double-knitting is quicker on the loom, since there is no slipping of stitches. Since the gauge is fairly large (3 rows per inch), the double knitting goes quick!

I finished the first neckscarf, and immediately started a double-knit twisted stitch version using just Malabrigo. For the neckscarf, I mixed the Malabrigo with a white wool and nylon blend, trying to replicate the yarn combo in the Purl scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. It is ok, but a bit thick, so I thought I'd try a lighter weight version with just the Malabrigo.
I think I like my loom. Next up, dishcloths and placemats, maybe?