Last Saturday, I finished my Weekender sweater. In my last post, I was all ready to pick up for the sleeves, but I really didn't like the neckline. I tend to not like things right up against my throat. It wasn't that it felt scratchy, as this yarn is super soft, but that I felt like it was strangling me, and I'd be constantly pulling against the neckline for air. Not exactly a recipe for happiness. Plus, the way I'd picked up the stitches at the center front and back looked a little bit sloppy because of how I'd worked them on the knitting machine, so this was an opportunity to fix that as well.
I took the 3-needle bind off apart, and undid the tubular cast off. For the back of the sweater, I just needed to re-do the center stitches, so I was careful to pick up all the stitches back onto my needles.
For the front, I knew I was going to rip back and take out the short rows, so I let that part be sloppy. Once I'd ripped back, I re-did the short row shaping to make it a scoop neck instead of a classic boat neck. Since that changed my row count, I did fewer rows of ribbing at the front neck so the seams would line up properly. This has the added bonus of making the front and back easy to tell apart when I'm putting the sweater on - which is always the trouble with not having those pesky tags!
After fixing the front, I dropped the front and back center stitches down to the ribbing at the hem. In the first iteration, I'd picked up every other row to create the slipped stitch look called for in the pattern. That had looked way too sloppy, so this time I picked up every row, which has a neater appearance overall.
Then I was basically back to the place I was in my last post, and proceeded with the sleeves. I made them a little bit shorter than the pattern calls for, since I have short arms. Then it was time to seam and sew in ends!
There are a lot of things I love about this sweater. Honestly, I've worn it at some point every day for the last four days. Maybe that's just the novelty of a new sweater, since I did that with the Miss Rachel and the Stashbuster too. One thing that's great about this sweater is the wide neckline - I can put it on and take it off without messing up my hair! Usually a too-wide neckline bothers me, as you can see the shirt people are wearing underneath, and it feels a little bit like a sloppy fit/bad design/teenage nightmare of bra straps showing. But since this sweater is meant to be a relaxed fit, it doesn't bother me at all. Maybe it's time to reconsider my opinion of a wide neckline!
I also really like this yarn. One of the biggest questions when undertaking a new sweater project is "how will the yarn hold up?" I don't want to spend a lot of time knitting something only to have the yarn pill like crazy, or feel scratchy when it felt soft in the skein. Because I spun the yarn way tighter than I ever have, it doesn't pill very much. And I think that also makes this sweater warm instead of hot, because there isn't a bunch of extra air in the yarn to help insulate the sweater. That makes this sweater heavy, but in a cozy way and not an oppressive way.
There's a little bit of yarn left over - I'm thinking it would make a nice hat and/or mittens to go with this sweater on cold days. I do think I will overdye that yarn before I use it, so that it coordinates with the sweater instead of being super matchy-matchy.
What are you working on these days?
Last week I started knitting on a Weekender. I've resisted knitting this pattern for a while for no good reason, and decided that it would be a good way to knit up this handspun. I also decided that it would be a good project to practice working on my knitting machine. I got my machine more than a year ago now, and haven't used it as much as I want to, mostly because of the learning curve.
I'd already knit a small swatch by hand, and had an idea of the fabric I'd be making. This yarn is sturdy - tightly twisted and tightly plied, but the merino and silk keep it soft. I reverse engineered that gauge on the knitting machine, and then picked a size based on that. My gauge is a little bit bigger than the pattern gauge, so I went down a size.
Since I'm knitting this on the knitting machine, I'm knitting it flat instead of in the round. Honestly, a sweater this big and this heavy needs seams, so that's not a big deal. (To the designer's credit, the pattern was designed for a light and lofty yarn that can do without it - my yarn, however, calls for more structure.)
I haven't been working on this at a breakneck pace. One day I'd do the ribbing by hand, then the next I'd do the machine knitting on one side of the body. Then a couple of days to do the other side. Then a day or two to do the neck ribbing and shoulder bind off.
This morning I picked up the stitches for the sleeves, which was a project in itself. Because I alternated skeins every two rows, the little loops that carry up the selveges confuse which stitch is the next one to pick up. And since a lot of people on Ravelry said the sleeves are little bit on the tight side, I added a couple of extra stitches (plus a stitch for the seam).
Now it's time to hang it back on the knitting machine and knit the sleeves!
When I first had the idea for this blog three and a half years ago, I knew I wanted it to be about fiber. I had a few blogs before it,
This year, the spinning group in my guild decided to do a fiber exchange/challenge. The rules were simple: each person would bring in four ounces of clean, unspun fiber, we'd swap it, and make something with it by the end of the year.
I got a mystery wool, along with some light tan alpaca. I tossed it all in the dyepot along with some mohair that had been lingering in the stash. Once the wool was dyed, I blended everything on my drum carder, and spun it into fine singles. Then I 3-plied it, resulting in this yarn:
The mohair and wool give it a lot of shine, and the alpaca gives it a little bit of softness. Initially, I'd loved the color, but by the time I'd finished, I felt like I'd gotten my fill of that shade of pink.
So, back to the dye pot I went. I used a tye-dye method that I read about in the first issue of Tiny Studio Magazine. The result is a variegated yarn with pink, purples, and oranges.
Now to the next part of the challenge - actually making something with the yarn!
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