Tuesday, January 08, 2008


I finished a sweater for NY niece, although not quite in time for Christmas.


Pattern: Sport, by Kim Hargreaves from the book Pipsqueaks. It's an old Rowan publication with some really cute patterns. My very favorite kids' pattern book. Uh, out of the whopping 4 that I own.

I made the 4-5 year old size, as my niece is large for her age and I hoped the ribbing would stretch, to let her wear it for more than a single season.

Yarn: Rowan Handknit DK Cotton in 307 - Spanish Red (discontinued color, on sale). I think this is the first time I've knit anything with the exact specified yarn. 8 balls wasn't quite enough.

4 mm/US 6 Addi Turbos circular, 47", so I could do both magic loop and work flat,
2 pair 3.25 mm/US 3 circulars (neither was quite long enough for magic loop so I needed an extra to work in the round with 2 circs). One Addi Turbo, one Susan Bates aluminum.

Time to knit:
Started 9/07, finished 12/07. I am so lame.

Pattern comments:
Yes, this is a whole sweater's worth of ribbing. On the other hand, it requires no button bands or special cuffs, since ribbing lays flat and the button "band" is constructed while you knit the rest of the piece, out of moss stitch. Also, the ribbing will hopefully stretch to accommodate a growing child.

I found no errors (except the WTF moment with the armholes. See below) and had no problems. I was confused about the # of stitches to pick up for the collar for a bit, until I realized the the number of "neck" stitches included both front stitches and back stitches, all the way to the long horizontal cast-off at center back. The "back" stitches are just those in the horizontal cast-off.

I knit continental style, holding yarn in my left hand. My purl stitches tend to be slightly looser than the knit stitches. I can compensate by tensioning more tightly, but that is a big pain for ribbing. Instead I worked combination style by short-wrapping all my purls, then knitting them through the back loop on the next row up. This produced a much more even ribbing for me. Hooray!

I still need tension practice, particularly on cotton.

I cast on with the long-tail cast-on. First row worked was a "back side" row.
I cast off the collar quite tightly using a typical cast-off in pattern. Tightly, because I didn't want it to flare.
I cast off the cuffs using an EZ sewn cast off. Nice and stretchy and neat.

Needle comments: I started out using bamboo, because it usually gives me more control and better tension on cotton. However, I tried the Addis and much preferred them, and the tension seemed all right. The cotton yarn stuck to the bamboo and was hard to move. This might be because this is an unmercerized cotton, so it's not as slick as cottons I've used before.

Yarn comments: Enh, Handknit DK is okay, pretty good for a cotton. I probably would have subbed if I hadn't found a color I really loved, and it was on sale, because I'm cheap sometimes. I found it neither painful nor ecstatically wonderful to knit with. However, I have a hard time maintaining tension in cotton, so I did most of the knitting while sitting still. Not a commuter project. I didn't carry it around much.

The cast-on edge was fuzzing up by the time I finished the sweater. I cut off some of the fuzz with scissors. I have no idea if this will wear well - the preliminary fuzz is an ominous sign.

I stayed with cotton for multi-season use and machine washability. Also, it looks nice in the ribbing. And did I mention I really like the color?

My first backstitch shoulder seam. I had to do one side 5 times before I got it exactly how I wanted it.

Mods: Many, but mostly in the way I worked the pattern.

1: It's worked from the bottom up, in pieces. I changed this to work the body from bottom up "in the round" (this sounds misleading because it's a cardigan. I still knit it flat, I just knit backs and fronts at the same time in one long piece.) I split the sleeves at the pattern's armhole depth by casting off the recommended # of stitches for both back + side for either side. Then I worked each front and the back separately.

Why? Since it's ribbing and cotton, I thought it'd be more cohesive and less bulky without the seam. Also, less finishing work, woop woop!

2: Instead of working the sleeves separately and flat, I picked up the stiches from the armhole and worked the sleeve down, in the round.

3: Here's my biggest change from the pattern: at the top of the sleeves, I picked up FAR more stitches than called for. Something like 20 more stitches? I couldn't figure out why the pattern specifies so few stitches. Maybe the ribbing is supposed to be stretched at the top of the sleeve?

The sleeve is a boxy set-in: mostly a vertical line like a drop-sleeve, with a few horizontal stitches at the bottom. I picked up ~2 stitches for every 3 rows, based on recommendations from other books for picking up stitches. I did do a few 3 stitches/5 rows, so I could get a number divisible by 5. And I picked up 1 for each stitch on the horizontal.

I had to decrease the sleeves at a rate of 2 stitches every 3rd row. I devised my own decrease pattern, angling the decreases towards a center stitch on the underside of the arm.

4: I ran out of yarn while making the collar. It's only about 4.5 cm instead of 7. This, despite buying an extra skein over the recommended number in the pattern. I guess that got eaten up by the extra stitches on the sleeve. I used all my yarn leftovers to eek out a few extra rows, so the collar was a frankenstein nightmare of strands that needed weaving-in.
Do you like the buttons? K picked them out at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Overall I'm pretty pleased. Except that 2 1/2 year-olds aren't known for patience in trying on clothing, so I have no idea whether it actually fits. Hey, she and Mom both liked the color. That must count for something.

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