Saturday, April 10, 2010

Catching Up on Projects

I'm a bit behind on showing some finished projects. For instance, I have this sweater, "Heathered Grapes", (Ariann by Bonne Marie Burns) which took from October 2008 till February 2010 to knit, and another two months to finally tell the story!

Grape Heather Ariann 7

The only redemption is that I can say it's been a major wardrobe staple from the minute it came off the blocking boards. Warm, comfortable and despite a few 'issues', I am pleased to have a cardigan to slip on when I need a casual go-with-jeans sweater.

Grape Heather Ariann 6

I remember why I put this aside way back in December 2008 - it was the at the point where the sleeves get joined to the body and for some reason, I couldn't get my mind around how to do it. With that Holiday approaching, I put it on the back burner. Little did I know it would be a year before I picked it up again. A familiar refrain, right?

And that's when the fun really started. After serious knitting gymnastics to get two sleeves and the entire body onto one long needle and knitting away for at least a dozen rows (almost 400 stitches per row!!) I learned there was a slight error in the bind off on one sleeve, which made for a wonky lace pattern on one side. Ooops. Painful rip back.

Resuming again, but not doing the raglan decreases correctly took a further three attempts, each filled with multiple rows of knitting and ripping. At the widest point. Yea. Cuz that's how I roll, I guess. At one point I seriously considered cutting the yarn out of this section as it looked pretty pooped out. Which put us to end of January and it was cold! Were it not for needing a new sweater I might have shelved this one forever.

Grape Heather Ariann 5

But I am really glad I didn't. I learned lots about sweater construction, and the mistakes I've made in this one will not be repeated in the next sweater: 1. I will make better button holes which will be be positioned in the center of the button band, not near the edge. 2. If I encounter another pattern that combines raglan decreases with a lace pattern, I will take note to mirror the decreases so the lace pattern lines up perfectly on each side and between the raglans. 3. I will pay attention to little details like properly slipping the first stitch to make a smooth edge through the entire project, not 90% of the project. ;)

Grape Heather Ariann 4

Along the way, I make a few modifications to the pattern.
1. Knit 2 inches longer in the body before the waist shaping. To cover the hips. Ever widening.
2. Knit a 1x1 rib collar for 4 inches. I think the pattern called for Garter Stitch? I wanted to carry the 1x1 rib up from the button bands into the collar for a seamless look.
3. Used a 3 stitch I-cord for the belt rather than slip stitch crochet. Yes, it takes longer. Worth the effort.

I found some nice abalone buttons that work great and have worn the sweater constantly ever since. Most of the time I leave the belt off. But if I want to dress it up, I add it. And if I manage to lose a few pounds*, it will fit across the back and hips just a bit better.

* gained in direct correlation to my finally completely and forever and ever quit smoking** and substituting sweets. Yay me for quitting, now I need to get to Yoga all the time. More on that some other time.

**Yea, my dirty little secret, shut up. I quit, didn't I?


At Home Mommy Knits said...

Looks gorgeous! Lovely coler and great fit!

Rose said...

It's a beautiful sweater, looks great! Well done, I'd say.

Anonymous said...

The sweater looks great! It's very flattering on you. And also, YAY FOR YOU! Quitting smoking is absolutely huge. Congrats!

Chris said...

VERY nice sweater you have there! I have to say, I fully expected the sentence "If I encounter another pattern that combines raglan decreases with a lace pattern" to finish with "I will run away screaming", after what you went through. Love your can-do attitude!

Gale said...

That's a great looking piece. And congratulations on quitting - that's quite the feat.

Sarah B. said...

Beautiful sweater! I'm so impressed with managing decreases and lace at the same time. Should be an olympic event.

Congrats on being a quitter! I can't believe now I ever smoked, but remember how hard it was to quit.

Sara said...

I love it, it looks perfect! It's a good shade of purple for you. Call me if you need a yoga that it's nice out I canceled my gym membership since I just can't fathom going to the gym when I can be outside. I still like to do yoga though.

Oiyi said...

What a beautiful sweater and in an awesome color! Wow, I am awed by your perseverance to finish this sweater. Way to go!

Btw, I have a whole new admiration for handwoven things. There is so much work involved in setting up the loom. We made the warp in class today. Wow, was that intense! There are still a few more steps before the weaving can begin. She said we should be able to begin weaving by the end of the next class.

Susie said...

Yay for quitting smoking and for finishing this lovely sweater. Which do ya think was harder? That color looks wonderful on you.

Cookie said...


Yes, on quitting and finishing that sweater. Well done!

knottygnome said...

yay! love the purple. i have that cardigan pattern, but i have yet to knit it. congrats on following through and finishing it. it looks fab.

t does wool said...

well it's beautiful and good to learn from one's mistakes ;)
congrats on quitting~

Lauren said...

the sweater looks beautiful - it looks like it fits great!

congratulations on quitting, too. I did it about five years ago and I'm so glad!