Friday, March 30, 2012

Drapey Top-Down Raglan

I love improvising when I'm knitting. Or cooking. I like to use any recipe or pattern as a jumping off point rather than a prescription. Which sometimes gets me into trouble. But sometimes it works out great.

So top-down raglans are perfect for me. In this case I bought 3 skeins of Squishy by Anzula, a heavy fingering weight merino cashmere blend. That's only 1200 yards, so I knew I didn't have a ton of yarn to work with. I wanted a wide neckline with a deep V, so that helped with the yarn usage.

(Sometimes I feel badly about knitting so many sweaters for myself rather than other people but (a) I have my body with me at all times to size on and (b) I know what I like. I don't have to guess at someone's taste. I know that I can make something that I will adore. Like this sweater!)

I borrowed the top-down raglan recipe from Custom Knits by Wendy Barnard, ignoring her recommendation for starting narrow on a v-neck, and went to town. I did a provisional cast on for the neck, which made it easy to pick up the stitches for edging. This is knit on size 7 needles, too big for the yarn, which gives the fabric a very drapey look. This is nice lofty, bouncy yarn that fills up the extra spaces nicely.

After I completed the arm holes and the v-neck, I realized it had come out too wide in the body, so I put a dart down the back. I knit the body until it was just barely long enough, adding some waist shaping, then bound off. I picked up stitches around Then I knit the sleeves, and found I had enough yarn to do bracelet length sleeves, which I love.

After the sleeves were done, I still had a little yarn left, so I took out the bind off and gave it a little more length. Once I tried it on a few times, I realized that the V was a little too deep in front to hang the way I wanted, so I put it on backwards. The dart I put in the back looks good on the front as well, and I made some i-cord ties to keep it from slipping off my shoulders.

Ta Dah!


Details of the YO increase at the shoulders

Front (ignore the no-make up, tired face)

Let me know if you want me to write up the pattern.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Knit, Swirl!

It's an expensive book, with only, really, one pattern in it, but I still knew I had to have it the moment I saw Knit, Swirl! by Sandra McIver.

I decided to make this sweater first. It is one of the slimmer fitting versions, and has solid welts alternated with light mohair welts, for a spectacular finished product.

I bought some yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, which I thought would work out well because they could dye the mohair and solid yarn the exact same colorway, but I ended up very disappointed with the yarn when it arrived. Instead of being dark, mysterious greens and blues and purples and browns, it was very muddy dark blue and brown. I'll figure out what to do with that later.

So, on a bad day a couple weeks ago, I went to what may be my favorite knitting store in Manhattan and got some Madeline Tosh Merino Light and Rowan Kidsilk Haze Stripe. I got a leeeetle tipsy that night, and started knitting it up.

Drunk casting on: not for amateurs. Drunk casting on of almost 700 stitches: definitely not for amateurs.

Unfortunately, about 4 inches into it, I discovered that I'd put a twist in it when I joined for knitting in the round, and rather than frog it, which would have been nearly impossible with the mohair, I cut it and rejoined it. I'll have to cover that area with a knitted rose or fringe or something. We'll see at the end.

Even so, I am totally in love with how this is coming out. The Madeline Tosh single has so much depth to the colors, and the Kidsilk Haze Stripe keeps me entertained by varying in color so much. Here is how it currently looks:

I'm intrigued by this design, and really hope it comes out as flattering as promised. If so, I want to make more--the stripes make it a good stash-busting project, and the fit means I could give it to a friend or relative without worry about it being unflattering.