Monday, February 25, 2008

Knitting Diminishing Cables continues

The knitting of the Annie Modesitt design, Diminishing Cables (Interweave Knits, Fall 2003) is moving quickly. Here's how last week's knitting went: Monday and Tuesday, knit the front; Wednesday and Thursday, knit the back; Friday, sleeve one; Saturday, sleeve two; Sunday, started the yoke. This is unprecedented speed for me. I'm astounded. I attribute it to either project monogamy or the ease of knitting Karabella Aurora 8 on Bryspun needles, size 7.

I've explained my modifications on the front in my last entry. I'm continuing the detailed documentation of my modifications here:
I didn't change the back, except for decreasing two stitches in the middle stockinette portion right after the ribbing. I placed these decreases at the beginning and end of the stockinette, right after and before the purls before the side cables. On hindsight, I should have only decreased one stitch, since that would have left the correct number of stitches (45) for three repeats of the cables that start in the yoke. I decided on 9 stitch cables with 3 purl stitches on each side for a 15 stitch repeat. This decision helped me decide what to do with the sleeves.
I used a k3,p3 ribbing for the sleeve. My big question was: how long? How long could I make the sleeve and still have enough of the green yarn left for the yoke? I thought the best thing to do would be a provisional cast on. Then I could take it out and knit down from it to make the sleeves longer if I had yarn left over.

Of course, I was still thinking I might use some of the Kathmandu yarn for the yoke, since I had no idea how much of the Aurora 8 I'd have left after I finished the sleeves and body. I thought, what if I knit a contrast cuff as my provisional cast on?

You see, I might keep it. It would tie the sleeve visually to the yoke if I knit the yoke in the Kathmandu. I was really hoping that I might just use the Kathmandu to put an applied i-cord around the yoke, wherever I ran out of green yarn. Something to keep the neck from stretching out too much--a little strip of golden brown tweed yarn, around the neckline, perhaps with a tie in the front or over one shoulder?

And then the cuff, ribbed 3x3 and split. You see, the rustic tweed yarn adds a casual touch to the sleek cabled sweater.
At least that's how I'd write it up if I were composing copy.

You can see in this photo how the ribbing flows up into the cable, a feat I accomplished by simply cabling the knits to the center over the purls, putting 9 knit stitches together with 6 purls on either side before the next 9 knits. This will flow into the 9 stitch cable I will start at the yoke. Below you can see the cable which runs up the side of the front, but then everything gets all distorted because the sweater is still on the needle, as well as on my arm...
On my arm a little lower than it should be here. The sleeves at this point are about mid-bicep length. Since I started there, I wanted it to be at least 10" around. I cast on 45 stitches in the Kathmandu, then increased it to 51 before changing to the green Aurora 8. I went through some terribly picky manupilations to get the split aligned opposite the seam, but a little towards the back. It had to be differently aligned for the left and the right, resulting in much ripping of the second sleeve. At least I didn't have to knit a third one!
Details: The sleeve begins with51 stitches, in 3 x 3 rib, ending and beginning with k3, to make the seaming easier. I increased every fourth row on either end, adding knit stitches to get to 65 stitches when I had 4 inches of sleeve. Then I began the bind off for the armhole, but first I moved the knits and purls around to get a p3, k9, p3 arrangement in preparation for the cables. After the bind-off I had the magic number of 45 stitches needed for the three cable repeats. I thought I would have one extra stitch on each side (totalling 47), but instead I had two. The extra stitches are needed for k2tog's at the joins of the sleeves and the body. I just did extra k2tog's to eliminate the extra stitches.
If I consider the cuff merely a provisional cast on, I'll be able to knit downwards and make the sleeve longer. I'll knit a few inches then start decreasing. I don't think I'd want the sleeve less than 40 stitches, though, even it I had enough yarn to make it full-length. So what's your thoughts? Should I


I'd like to, since I feel that will be the general recommendation. I know I went out on a limb combining these two yarns, but they were there, and I couldn't resist playing around with them. I have now, on Monday, finished knitting the yoke. I followed the pattern instructions, with only one major modification. I stopped after I had decreased the cables from 9 stitches to 4 stitches. I would prefer the neckline end lower, and I don't care for 3 and 4 stitch cables anyway. They are too dinky for me.

The good news is that I have nearly two balls of yarn left. I was hoping to use these to extend the sleeves. However, the yoke is sooooo small. No wonder I've used only a little over 700 yards of yarn thus far. I know the front grew a couple of inches in every direction when I blocked it, so I'm wondering how much the yoke will relax once it hits water.

You can see in this photo the difference between the back and the front. The front (on the bottom) was blocked; the back was not. See how the front is a couple of inches wider on each side? Translate that out, and the sweater can grow by 25% after blocking.

I decided not to make any more decisions until I know what blocking will do.

There she is, all stretched out. I will be most surprised if it comes anywhere near to fitting after it is dry. I really think the cables draw the yoke in too much. That's a lot of cables.
Here's what I plan: if a yarn miracle occurs and it fits, I will take the Kathmandu off and extend the sleeves as long as I can with the yarn I have left; if as I suspect, the yoke is too small, I will rip it out and reknit it.
Rather than adding stitches, though, I think I will just decrease the number of cables. I'd like to try leaving out half of them, replacing them with plain stockinette. I'd still decrease in the stockinette, and I'd keep the cables at the central points--the center of the front, back, each sleeve, and the four that continue down the body.
Then the question left will be--will I have enough yarn to extend the sleeves, or does the Kathmandu stay as the cuff?
I'll add one final thought, or argument here--the neckline looks rather unfinished as it is. It maybe just needs a little strip of golden brown to finish it off.

*grin* I know, the color combo is yuck. I've got lots to ponder while Diminishing Cables dries. I'll probably cast on something else. I hope a new project doesn't distract me from this one, though. I'd be awfully happy if I set a record for me and finished this sweater in a couple of weeks.


Bron said...

Thanks so much for showing your thought processes. It makes for very interesting reading. :) Lovely cabling, by the way - I'll be anxiously waiting to see how it all turns out.

Julie McC. said...

Not the peach. Although, it sounds like you've already made that decision, so I'm not much help.