Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cropped Cardigan, handknit

Cropped Cardigan with Fusilli Ties, or maybe with Rotini Ties
(my latest sweater)

The overall length is 20" and the sleeves are the recommended 10" long, as measured from the armhole. I had knit shorter sleeves, stopping at 9" because I thought the sleeve, knit according to pattern, without shaping, would be too large if it ended below my elbow. Now I see it doesn't matter much. The yarn drapes over whatever it covers up, and I think it looks ok as it is. If it grows more, it will be a simple matter to rip out and reknit the hems to shorten it.

I'm actually fairly pleased with the pattern the tri-colored yarn produced. It is largely soft narrow stripes, with some muted pooling in the body. Will I recant my recent resolution and buy variegated yarn for another sweater?

I certainly hope not.

In case anyone is considering this pattern and wants to know the modifications I made, here are the details:

I cast on for the 34.5" size. Once I had increased to 50 stitches in each sleeve, I stopped increasing for the sleeves, but continued increasing for the back and the left and right front until I had 21 total repeats, as needed for the 37.5" size. I wanted a little more coverage in the front than I had at this point, but I didn't want the armhole to be any deeper, so I separated the sleeves and cast on 8 stitches in the armholes. I immediately started increasing for the fronts, omitting the 15 rows of even knitting, then decreased the amount I cast on for the front edges from 9 stitches to 4 stitches. All of this was concocted from frequent try-ons, as I checked and double-checked the fit.

I wanted my sweater to fit like the one the model is wearing, and I knew she is smaller than I am, chest-wise. Since I don't think I'm much taller or longer-waisted than the model, I knew that just making the pattern larger wouldn't work. I was sure I didn't need larger sleeves, and now that it is done, I see that I could have used the smallest sleeve, which was 52 stitches around. I picked up the 8 stitches I cast on in the armhole and added them to the 50 I had for the sleeves when I separated them. Since I knit the sleeves in the round on a small circular, I had 58 stitches total in each sleeve. They measure 14" around, which means my gauge was larger from knitting in the round.

For waist shaping, I decreased 4 stitches on each side with two sets of paired decreases, then knit even for an inch, then increased back to the original total a couple of inches before started the hem. I knit the hems two inches deep. I just like the look of deeper hems.

Everything else was per pattern instructions, except for the leaves, which I explained at the beginning of this post. It is a simple, well-written pattern, and one I wouldn't mind knitting again. I found many helpful tips on the Ravelry project pages for this pattern that helped me decide how to make my modifications. One involved how to apply the i-cord edging. I chose to follow the suggestion of several Ravelers and pick up stitches around the neck before knitting the i-cord; it made the process a bit quicker.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Bear Claws and Shavano Angel

We've reached that time of year where it is sunny, then it snows, then it is sunny and the snow is gone. Back & forth, up and down. Sometimes it is a nice day, if the wind doesn't blow, but it freezes every night. Still, I think there will be a spring, (why else am I knitting spring sweaters?) and sometime, sooner or later, a summer.

I hope I'm not planning too many cotton sweaters. After all, the saying here about summer is: "Summer came last Thursday, and I had to work, so I missed it." Coming from a climate with at least 6 months of summer, I find this funny.

I have a cotton camisole to knit this summer, and that Vogue summer top, but I don't like to knit cotton exclusively. I'm hoping to make some headway on the crocheted afghan. Yes, I'm still plodding along on it, turning out a few squares now and then. I'm not going to stop until I run out of one of the colors of yarn. I hope that will produce no more than 77 squares. Time will tell. I'm also considering a knitted afghan. I've swatched for it:

This is the Bear Claw Blanket by Veronik Avery, published in the Spring 2005 Interweave Knits. If I followed the pattern, I'd use Koigu, light colors, and make 9 squares for a baby blanket. Instead, I'll use Wool-ease and Encore from my afghan stash, make 6 squares and make a small (40" x 60") afghan. It is a fun knit, and not too hot (I hope) to work on this summer. Only five more squares to go! :)

Something else that is going away with the cold weather is the Shavano Angel. This is a snow figure that is visible on Mount Shavano when conditions are right. If it has snowed on the mountain, (which is what it does, mostly) and then the snow melts (or blows, brrr) off the higher spots, but stays in the shadowy crevasses, you see her.

In case you have to know what it is to see it, I'll explain. When I first came here and saw the name, Angel of Shavano, I thought that it was an organization which assisted people in the local housing project, which is named after Mt. Shavano. It took me months to learn that the reference was to the angel on the mountain.

This close up will help--upraised arms, a head and a torso. There is the suggestion of wings under the arms, and a halo above the head. (Actually, it looks more like a funny hairdo to me. Who does that call to mind? Tina Turner?)
She is much photographed, and has been painted. She's a popular lady. I actually took these photos a couple of months ago, when the conditions were right.