Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A Smart Set

This project plan began when I was making my knitting list in late 2019 and decided to knit my honorary niece Olivia a sweater for her Christmas 2020 present. I'd picked out a really cute pattern that required DK yarn for it. Then I got 700 grams of the Loops & Threads Meandering Serpentine in dark salmon (pictured above) in my stocking on Christmas Day, 2019. (Santa has, um, large stockings to fill at my parents' place.) I decided I ought to use some of that yarn to make Olivia's sweater rather than buying new yarn -- it suits her colouring -- so I searched for a suitable worsted weight design for it.

I settled on the pattern depicted above, which is the Children's Celtic Braid Top-Down Sweater, designed by Vera Sanon. It's a nice classic piece, and I'm always an easy sell on Celtic-style cables.

Then, because I had loads of the Meandering Serpentine to work with, I selected a hat pattern. Little girls do like their clothes to have matching accessories such as hats and purses. I wasn't too picky about the hat design -- it just had to be a worsted weight tam pattern that was suitable for adapting to match the sweater. I decided on the Little Bird Hat, designed by Brew City Yarns.

And here's the finished sweater. The pattern was a straightforward one and reasonably clearly written, so the knitting proceeded quite smoothly. It's knitted in one piece out of a single yarn, so there was very little finishing to do.

Then I made the hat. Instead of making the band a plain rib as the pattern calls for, I used the twisted rib stitch from the neckband, cuffs, and hem of the sweater. I nixed the stitchwork used in the body of the hat in the design, and just knitted the hat in plain stockinette. Then, because the resulting hat looked a little too plain, I added a tassel to the top.

The sweater and cap together do make for a smart little set.

This project used 240 grams of what I'm going to count as stash yarn, given that I didn't buy it myself. I still have 460 grams of the Meandering Serpentine left, but never fear -- I have a plan to use that up too.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Olive and Jade

This project plan began when I decided I'd like a cotton sweater to go with with my summer weight olive khaki pants and shorts. I liked the idea of a classic Breton striped sweater in olive and a contrasting colour, so I thought I'd make one in that style.

I searched Ravelry for a suitable striped sweater pattern and settled on Nothing But Stripes!, designed by emteedee, which is an interesting contemporary take on the Breton stripe sweater and looked great in all the project photos I looked at. I visited Toronto's Romni Wools store to shop for suitable yarn, and was happy to find yarn that was just what I wanted at a bargain basement price in Romni's actual bargain basement: 200 grams of Schachenmayr Catania Solids in 253 Jade, and 200 grams in shade 414, which doesn't seem to be listed on either Ravelry or the Schachenmayr website, but is a deep olive.

And here's the result, paired with a light khaki skirt I made some years back. The olive khaki pants and shorts I have are darker in tone and will work better with the sweater, but I can't put them on my dressmaker's form.

A sweater that I should have been able to make in under three weeks ended up taking nine for reasons that were my own stupid fault. First I assumed that a size 38 German was equivalent to a size 38 in inches. It so wasn't, and I got as far as the chest before I realized it. I had to rip it all out and start again in a size 42. Then I realized as I was nearly done the body that the sweater was going to be far too long -- I should have done the math on the stripes. I had to rip back nearly to the beginning that time, and begin the stripe pattern with two rows of the olive instead of just one.

It was around this point that I also realized that I hadn't bought enough yarn to make the larger size. I went back to Romni Wools where I bought two extra 50 gram skeins of Olive and one extra 50 gram skein of Jade -- it was the last skein of the Jade that they had, and I could only hope I was going to have enough yarn.

Then when I was nearly done the first sleeve, I realized it was going to be too short, and I had to rip it out, calculate what the stripe pattern needed to be to make it the right length (I had to add *two* "8 rows of Jade/8 rows of Olive" stripes), and reknit it that way.

Then too, soon after I began work on the first sleeve, I realized I had made a mistake with the increases on the yoke. It had come out too short compared to the measurement on the diagram pattern, and I added an inch which proved to be a mistake, as that last inch was created by the stitches cast on when the body was connected under the armhole. That inch I had added made the yoke too long and the body too short, which in turn made for an awkward-looking fit. At first I couldn't face the idea of ripping out nearly the entire sweater yet again and I thought I could live with it, but after I finished the first sleeve and tried the sweater on, I realized I couldn't. I ripped out the sleeve, and ripped out the body back to the bottom of the yoke, and reknitted it yet again. This time I managed to get it right. You can imagine how many extra ends I had to deal with when it came time to finish the sweater, but I just got on with it and got it done.

I think I essentially knitted this sweater three times over. Fortunately, after all of that, I do quite like the sweater.

And I had just 40 grams of each colour of yarn left, so I had bought the right amount of yarn for my sweater too. As this project was made with new yarn, that's a stash increase of 80 grams.