Thursday, September 13, 2007

Blushin' Iris

Whoo hoo, the
bunny is done!

Sweater #2 in the Dude-I-Need-Some-Winter-Clothes campaign is done! This cute little croppy thing is Iris from
Rowan 35. I saw it early in my knitting career and have been dying to make it ever since. And now it's mine, all mine!

Okay, so I'm flat
All the pieces of this sweater are knit flat and jigsawed together. Given that it's a cropped sweater, it goes by fairly quickly (although I did hit a stockinette wall about halfway through the sleeves).

The pattern itself is pretty straightforward, and most of the instructions are easy to understand. That being said, you do have to be experienced enough to know what to do when it says to reverse shapings on the opposite side and to recognize certain flumps in the pattern.

For example, on the front slope of the right side, it says Rows 32 and 33 form the slip stitch edging. Doing that however, will give you an eyelet every other row all the way to the top. Having done the left side first, I recognized the error and simply disregarded (just do the slip stitch edge and knit to end).

Who you callin' flat?

I was just about on target with both row and stitch gauge, a smidge under even. But right before the armhole decreases, the back measured about 2cm longer than the pattern instructed. There aren't any corresponding sizing measurements for the fronts, so I just said screw it and forged on. Thankfully, it turned out fine! *runs off to lay some merino at the altar of the knitting goddesses*

One note - the patterns says to make sure the slip stitch edging is nice and neat, as it forms the finished edge of the piece. So what you're telling me is that I'm going to knit an edging I've never done before while working flat where the edge stitches tend to go all wonky anyway and now I have to make sure it's perfect too or my sweater will look like crap. Great. I love pressure, I eat it for breakfast.

In reality, the front edges totally curl in, so nobody but your boobies are going to see them. Unless you feel the need to impress your rack with the wonders of your perfectly knit edge stitches, fuhgeddaboutit.

Geeky short row shoulders = *swoon*.

Step away
I only made a few minor mods - first, since I am *cough* vertically challenged, I shortened the sleeves. Which essentially meant I had to whip out the calc and guesstimate the length of the sleeve cap based on my row gauge, then know when to stop knitting the arms (which was right after the last set of increases).

Also, instead of using a leather thong (damn, that sounds painful), I knitted a short i-cord and used that to tie it together instead.

The biggest mod however, required geeking out some short row calculations for the shoulder. Why? Because stepped bindoffs suck ass. At least, mine do. (I tried it. No dice. I have pictures, but I'll spare you the horror.) My first set of notes got tossed as I started knitting and saw a better way to do it, followed by some scribbling and a few runs back to the IK issue on short rows (Winter 2005 for those with inquiring minds).

What I ended up with were 19 live stitches each on the front and back, which I bound off with a three-needle bindoff (my first!) to get a nice, evenly-sloped shoulder. Can I just tell you, it came out SO much better than the stepped bindoffs. Go for getting your geek on! Kiss my butt
stepped bindoffs, short row shoulders rule!
A touch of the 'Stein, but overall not too shabby!


One of the reasons I decided to knit this in pieces was to see if I actually hated seaming, or just thought I hated seaming because, well, everyone else hates seaming.

I have to confess, now that I've learned how to do it properly (as opposed to my wing-it craptastic approach from before), it's actually not that bad! In fact, when you pull on the yarn and see those two sides come together - dare I say, it's even borderline... fun?
This is what happens when you forget to hit the self-timer. But hey, it makes my boobs look big! Cool!

I have a theory - it's not the actual seaming people hate. It's the prep work! The pinning and the lining up and the all-consuming anxiety that the pieces won't match up. Kind of like painting a room - removing switch plates and outlet covers and taping everything off blows. But when you start throwing color on the walls, it's all good!

No? Okay, then I must just be weird. Nothing new there.

All of the individual pieces had decrease rows to use as landmarks, which helped make sure everything met up in the end. Blocking, though, I'm not so sure about. Pinning the hell out of it didn't keep the edges from curling in. But I suspect you block before seaming to make the overall knitting a little easier to work with.
Booty shot.

Being my first time with a set-in sleeve cap (and knit flat no less), it took a few tries to get the sleeve to fit the armhole. Why you ask? Because the sleeve is actually bigger than the armhole. I checked a number of different online and hard copy resources, and this appears to be a common occurrence. Something about sleeve cap ease.

Personally, I think that's a load of crap. As you can see in the requisite ass shot above, my sleeves came out with a Frankenstein's head look about them. They're somewhat boxy and most definitely baggy (square-peg-in-a-round-hole syndrome). It would have been better to decrease the cap at a faster rate to get it to sit more evenly in the hole.
I suppose I could've seamed the corners in by a few extra rows to round them off a bit, but the extra material would have jutted out underneath the sweater anyway so it wouldn't have done much good.

At any rate, the trick to making it fit was to pin the center top and the underarms, then pick up two bars for every one every so often while mattress stitching around. I'm not thrilled with the bagginess, but I'll just chalk it up to a minor flaw, and a learning lesson for next time.

All things being equal, sure, I'd rather knit in the round. But seams, they ain't so bad! (Good thing, because my next to sweaters are piecemeal cardigans, too.)

Note: Theresa's tip in the knitty article to start at the halfway point and work down each side separately is brilliant. It's much easier to work and keeps the frays at bay!

Nice hair, weez.

Calmer down
Ah, Calmer. You so spongy. So soft and stretchy. Me likey. When you're on sale.

Pricey though it may be (thank you Knit Happens sale!), Calmer is great fun to knit with, especially if you're a tourniquet-tension knitter like me. You have to give it a loose reign, so it's relaxing, easy on the hands, and feels very nice flowing through your fingers. And did I mention it was spongy? That really is the best way to describe it! Two plies sprung together and spongy.

On, the sweater feels soft, light, and super comfy. I soaked and spun it once before blocking, and there was some color runoff in the water, but the color held true once dry. It did seem to suffer from some overall pilliness though, so we'll have to see how it holds up over time. Needless to say, this will definitely be a hand wash/dry flat garment! Er, hopefully I'll remember that.

Crop love
I really like how this turned out, Frankenstein shoulders and all! It's very cute, super comfy, with a hint of sexy mama for good measure. It'll make a great layering top for fall and winter. In fact, given the lightness of Calmer, it may even work for spring, too. Big yay for three-season wear!
Pattern: Rowan 35
Yarn: Rowan Calmer in Blush (about 4.5 balls)
Size: XS
Needles: H&S size 7, 31" + 8, 16" and 24"
Mods: Shortened the sleeves, i-cord for the tie, short rows and a three-needle bindoff for the shoulders
Firsts: Major seam job, three-needle bindoff, short row shoulders


Blogger Esoteric Knitter said...

Looks fantastic!

4:03 PM  
Blogger Bezzie said...

I love it! I love me some smoooooth stockinette. And you look great in that color.

I also love me some 3 needle bind off--all my sock toes are 3NBO now!

4:54 PM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

First of all - props to the awesomely thorough post. Anyone wanting to knit this pattern after you will only benefit from reading this. Nicely done.

But WOW! That looks so awesome on you! You did a fabulous job. Great work on the mods and the seaming. Seaming ain't so bad. I like it too. =)

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Becca said...

It's terrific and you look like a supermodel! I've never tried short row shoulders (since my one cardigan attempt was a fiasco), but when I get my nerve up again, I'm going to try them. Great job.

5:58 AM  
Blogger chemgrrl said...

Pretty! And it looks great on you. Nice job.

6:13 AM  
Blogger bradyphrenia said...

wow, you're just whippin' em out these days. you're putting my knitting skills to shame.

i have calmer in the same shade to make a sweater for my mom. glad to hear it's nice to work with.

6:42 AM  
Anonymous schmobes said...

woo-hoo! It's beautiful! You did a great job, and added yet ANOTHER thing to my list to knit. Thanks!

7:09 AM  
Blogger maryannlucy said...

I love the colour, and it looks great on you. Fantastic job :-)

8:10 AM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Looks fab on you! Love the color! Hehe..I just love your FO posts, I learn quite a bit actually. Thanks for the sleeve hints too!

11:56 PM  
Blogger Batty said...

That looks great on you! Love the bright color, it really pops. If that's the fit you get from short row shoulders... heck, I've got to try this!

6:20 AM  
Blogger Bobbi said...

It looks great! You always do such great work. I think I agree with you that the issues on seaming is the prep, of course I blocked out most of my first seaming project so I'm not sure.

7:35 AM  
Blogger ZantiMissKnit said...

That looks incredible on you! I don't know if I could pull such a style off, but I love it.

I purchased one ball of Calmer for 1/2 price, and made ZMrK a hat out of it. Now I want to use Calmer for *everything*. It's really $$$ though.

4:37 PM  

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