Amongst all the non-knitting crafting I've been blogging about, I have been knitting behind the scenes. And I've made my favourite sweater to date. It's been a great success!
Generally I usually have much angst when it comes to knitting sweaters. I try to be good. Measure. Swatch. Gauge. Blocking. I have a sweater that taught me the importance of each. The hard way of course. Even as recently as November I had my heart broken by another sweater: the mis-behaving Girl Friday.
But (finger's crossed) I think I've knit my way out of it. Like with jazz improv solos or abstract paintings, I have knit my share of bad sweaters so (knitting goddesses permitting) it should be smoother sailing from now on. And my most recently completed knitting project has me believing again that a wearable sweater is possible to make.
Originally I cast on with this yarn for a Lady February Sweater. After knitting the yoke and just about starting into the gull lace section, I decided a pattern change would be a good idea. The February Lady sweater is a great pattern which I really like, but it's super boxy and as it's based on a baby sweater, kind of a young, little girl in pink-pinafore kind of look. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but in my family, we all have super young looking faces (again, not necessarily a bad thing) so wearing young clothes perpetuates people thinking I'm in University or sometimes even high school. It's only in the past year that I've stopped being carded everywhere I go. So I thought a more grown up sweater pattern was in order. Enter Oblique by Véronik Avery.
Now the Pingouin Grège that I was using is not the same gauge as the yarn used in the pattern. Pretty standard for my knitting, which is likely while I usually run into trouble. But I swatched. A few times. And blocked THOUROUGHLY. Then I did math. Yes, I did the math to figure out what number of stitches would correspond to the measurements I wanted. Oh yes! I also did lots of measuring of sweaters I already have, comparing them to figure out what measurements would give me the fit that I wanted. After all the measuring and the math, I was able to work out my plan for attack: use the stitch counts for a larger size to account for my smaller gauged yarn WHILE following the length measurements for the smallest size (I have a short torso). This worked out super well.
I cast on a started knitting. I usually try to take notes about what modifications/gauge things I come up with into a knitting notebook, but it never works out. It's one extra thing to deal with so somehow I always loose track. Recently what I've started doing is making my notes on the actual printed pattern. I mostly work from patterns printed off the computer so this works out pretty well. I know I need my pattern, so I know I'll always have my notes at hand. It's only taken me 20 years of knitting to figure this out. Sometimes I'm just smart like that.
I worked on this sweater here and there in the evenings when tired of spinning/
And I love it. It fits a little bigger than I planned, but close enough for me to call it a success. I can actually see myself wearing it (and I have) to work without feeling like the usual jeans + t-shirt sloppy self I've been for the past while. This sweater, while being big and cosy definitely isn't in the sloppy category. It's also super warm. Gotta love that alpaca content.
So TA-DA! I can knit a sweater! That I like! And that fits how I want! And isn't a big silly hoodie!
Pattern: Oblique by Véronik Avery
Materials: Pingouin Grège
Modifications: Working larger size for gauge. Following length measurements for smallest size.
Start Date: November 23, 2009 as February Lady Sweater. Made pattern switch April 12, 2010.
End Date: May 21, 2010
Needless to say that immediately upon finishing this sweater, I promptly started another. More on that later.