Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jack Attacks!

Recently, I received some photographs of a finished garment on its intended recipient.  I present to you: Jack.

He's wearing a Wonderful Wallaby (the same design that I used for his cousin's sweater).

Pattern: Wonderful Wallaby by Carol Anderson
A pattern booklet available at LYS nationwide

Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease (50% cotton, 50% acrylic) in colorway Lake
3 skeins (approx 621 yards)

Needle Size: US9

Modifications: seed stitch edging on hem and placket

Fun fact: Jack is named after Jack Bauer, Keifer Sutherland's much beleaguered badass character from 24.


Jack is two (give or take a couple of months).  Knowing that these sweaters run small, I made him a size 8 hoping that he could get some wear out of it.  It's a wee bit big in these photos but I'm sure it'll fit him perfectly for about two weeks sometime in the near future.

I used a cotton/acrylic blend yarn that's machine washable/dryable.  I am told this is key for kidwear.  I am also told that this yarn has been wearing reasonably well which is what every knitter wants to hear.  It was a joy to knit with - soft and squishy and remarkably elastic for a cotton blend.  I would definitely recommend it especially for this garment.

My name is Jack and today is the longest day of my life...

1) Escape from prison-like crib.
2) Torture the dog for more intel.
3) Use intel to turn mommy on daddy.
4) Save America.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ta Da! Yarn Widower Gets His Sweater

It's done.  14 years in the making but it's finally done.

It's a beautiful sweater too.  The cables are lovely and the fit is just right.  I ended up going with the cap sleeves because really, how often do you walk around with your arms raised up.  The yarn is a rustic tweedy green, a little scratchy for my taste (I was careful to tease out all the bits of twigs and burrs while knitting) but it fits the manliness of the sweater design quite well.

Anyway, the Yarn Widower likes it.  Now he can hold his own with the dog.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Christmas gift - Part 3 The Saga Continues

My Yarn Widower wears a size medium.  So I cast on the suggested number of stitches and knit about 5 inches of the back before thinking, "Woah, this may be a bit too large."  True, it was designed to be an oversized pullover to be worn as an outer layer. The picture of the model suggested as much. But still, it seemed rather excessive.  When I held it up to the Yarn Widower, it nearly wrapped around his waist.

OK - perhaps my gauge may have been a wee bit off - I made the mistake of checking my gauge over ribbing instead of the stockinette that the pattern suggests.  When looking at the schematic, the width of the back hem was supposed to be 63.5cm.  I was getting 76 cm.  Oops.

After some deliberation (and a rather blunt intervention by the wise and knowledgeable Kerrilyn "Are you knitting a throw?"), I knew that I had to start over.  I liked the fabric that I got with the US 10.5 needles and I didn't want to knit any tighter than that.  So I fudged things a bit as I am wont to do.


1. I cast on 96 stitches and did not do the increases after the ribbing.  I did this because it gave me a sleeker silhouette and also made figuring out the ribbing much easier.  The ribbing is designed to look as though the cables are flowing into it.  Resulting width was 55 cm/22 inches.

2. I turned the midclavicular zigzags into just plain stockinette.  I wanted to highlight the cables and the zigzags just looked too busy to me.  Also since I needed to lose 12 stitches to get my desired width, I simply took these stitches out of the zigzag panels

3.  I knit the sleeves in the round.  I considered knitting the body in the round but in the end decided to knit the front and the back separately and seam them up before I picked up stitches for the sleeves.  Like the body, I turned the zigzag panels into plain stockinette and decreased by 5 stitches per panel.

Wow, kudos to you if you're still with me.  That's a lot of prose without any pictures.  So here are some pictures (and modeled too):

I performed an experiment on the sleeves.  The one on the Yarn Widower's right is a straight sleeve with no cap.  In other words, the top of the sleeve is one straight line.  This is how the pattern is written but I didn't like the bunching in the armpit.

The sleeve on the Yarn Widower's left has a rounded shoulder cap.  I did this by picking up the central 10 stitches, knitting a row and then picking up a few more stitches on the end of each subsequent row until I had traveled the circumference of the sleeve and was ready to join.  The end result - a smoother line at the armpit.

The one drawback being that the top of the shoulder draws up slightly when the arms are raised.

Which one did I choose?  Find out in the next installment...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas gift - Part 2

To recap: back in 1997 I bought the Yarn Widower some wool.  He's been bugging me about that wool for the last 3 years now, ever since I picked up the needles again and started this blog.  By now we have firmly established that he does not know how to knit and therefore it is up to me to turn that nice wool yarn into a nice wool sweater.  Well, here it is 2011 and damn it, if I'm not going to knit him a wool sweater.

After a lengthy and thorough search, here is the pattern I selected.

Pattern: Jack by Kim Hargreaves
Rowan The Tweed Collection (out of print)

I was worried about the darkness of the yarn and whether or not the cables would be visible so I did a test swatch.

So far, so good.  I presented this all the Yarn Widower who gave it the thumbs up.  Remarkable considering how many options he had previously rejected.  My Yarn Widower is particularly picky in his sartorial choices.

Now to cast on.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas gift for the Yarn Widower - Part 1

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: the Yarn Widower, well, he knows how to knit.  When we first met, I was just picking up knitting again and to show me how cool he was and how much we had in common, he said, "My nan taught me how."  And lo and behold, he knit up a little scarf (where is that thing?) and I was duly impressed.

So impressed that I thought I would give him a sweater's worth of yarn for Christmas.  14 hanks of Rowan Chunky Tweed in a dark rich forest green.  Along with a pattern book from Kim Hargreaves - Rowan: The Tweed Collection.  Both the yarn and the book have since been discontinued as this was over a decade ago.  But at the time, it was our first Christmas together and I wanted to give him something special (but not too special since we had only known each other a few months). And since it was yarn and not a knitted sweater, I was clearly exempt from the Boyfriend Curse (she who dares to knit her boyfriend a sweater dooms the relationship forever).  When he opened my gift to him, I was fairly aglow with anticipation.   He lit up mildly and was polite.  "Oh, look.  Yarn.  How nice." 

Thankfully, our relationship endured.  Even if the yarn languished in storage for many many years.  Actually, after that initial interest in knitting (feigned in his case; genuine in mine), we both put down the needles.  Ten years later when my life had finally slowed down, I felt a very strong urge to pick up knitting again and have at it.

And since then, the Yarn Widower has often complained that I have made many sweaters but none for him.  "You can knit your own sweater," I say.  "You have everything you need and you already know how."

Yarn Widower recoils and acts horrified, "I do NOT know how to knit!  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  By the way, I would like cables but not too many cables and a high neck but not a turtleneck. Also, I would like you to use that nice wool you bought for me although I don't know why you bought me yarn since I don't know how to knit."