There is progress to report, yes there is. Currently I have four projects "on the needles".
This one, a Raglan Cardigan, got it's start about a month ago and it's coming along nicely. With this type of sweater, knit from the top down,one has the advantage of being able to try it on as it grows. Good thing too, because I was able to get the first sleeve just right.
My Mom's arms are long and she likes to have the cuff come down over her wrist bone. She wants to wear turtlenecks and other long sleeved winter items with this cardigan, so a little ease in the arms is needed.
I am following a written pattern, but realized the sleeves might be a bit snug in circumference. I ripped back about 7 inches and altered the row count between decreases. The original pattern called for decreases every 4 rows. That was okay up near the top because the sleeve is wide. But by the time you reach the elbow the stitch count is around 50. I decided to change from decreases every 4 rows to decreases every 8 rows till I got to 44 stitches. This allowed for more ease through the elbow and forearm. I also decided to maintain this count all the way down to the start of the ribbed cuff. I knit the cuff on size 7 needles while the body is knit on size 8. This will give the cuff a bit more firmness. I did a quick standard cast off just to be able to try on the finished product. I took lots of notes so I can replicate the changes on the other sleeve.
My plan is to change the cast off to one that is outlined in the fall 2008 issue of Interweave Knits. It's a tutorial for sewn cast ons and cast offs that offer a lot more elasticity and supposedly makes a nice finished look.
This method also gives the same finished look to a start and an end of a knitted piece like for instance a scarf. That's always been a bit of an annoyance for me. I thought is was just me being OCD, but it bugged me silly on all my scarves and couldn't figure out how to fix it. Till this tutorial came along. Assuming I can make this method look good, it might be my go-to approach for necklines, cuffs, etc. But I digress.
In the last fitting, it became evident the hips are a bit snug. I don't think it's something I can work out in the blocking. I guess my Mom has put on a few pounds in the last few months. I'm actually happy about that, she had become too thin.
This means I wil attempt another modification. In this case I will rip out about six or seven inches above the ribbed edge and work in some increases. I reckon it will need about 1.5 - 2 inches of ease. We also discussed doing some nice edgings on the sweater but she wanted simple. So simple she got - a 2x2 rib. The neckline and button band will be the same.
One thing I really like about this project is the way the increases were made along the raglan. It reminds me of Gucci bracelets. I also like the color of this yarn, which is the workhorse Cascade 220. Worsted weight, it knits up nice, has good yardage, comes in a zillion colors and best of all, it's affordable. This one is Lake Chelan, part of the Heather series.
So far this project has been an opportunity for me to experiment with modifying a pattern. Up till now I haven't had much need to make lots of changes to a written pattern so it's kind of cool because I am learning things like creating ease, incorporating new finishing techniques, and such. All this is good in the long run - someday I will end up designing my own stuff and these lessons are an important part of that process.