Rhinebeck Sweater: All About that Waist

If you remember from my Five Things Friday post, I was doing just a wee bit of agonizing over how to handle the waist decreases on my Grimm Green Stout sweater. The main issue was that I was knitting at a larger stitch count for the hips, wanted to decrease a few inches for the waist, and then increase back out a smaller amount than I had decreased for the bust. In simple stockinette this would be fine, but the stitch pattern is an alternating rib/cable pattern  with strong vertical lines, so if I didn’t return to the same stitch count for the bust, the pattern would be thrown off for the rest of the sweater.

THE HORROR!

But I’m happy to report that I finagled a solution that will look just fine. Observe!

Rhinebeck Sweater: All About That Waist | Woolen Diversions

Mmmmmmm, cable-y ribbing!

Each pattern repeat consists of 12 rows, 6 rows that read “cable column, rib column” and then 6 more that read “rib column, cable column” that alternate across the garment. (Make sense? Explaining this in words feels weird.) The pattern is written so that you decrease 4 stitches on Row 1 and Row 6 of the repeat, for a reduction of 1.6 inches in the finished fabric width-wise occurring over 2 inches of length. My stitch gauge is a little tighter than the pattern calls for and I wanted less fabric at the waist so I decreased 4 stitches on Rows 1, 5, and 9, and 2 stitches on row 11 for a total reduction of 2.6 inches over 2 inches of length. I had planned to decrease a full 16 stitches instead of 14, but I realized that I liked how the ribbing worked out at this stitch count.

Rhinebeck Sweater: All About That Waist | Woolen Diversions

Breaking the pattern, but making it work.

Now I need to knit for 2 inches straight before increasing back out for the bust. My plan is to keep the stitches in a *p1, k1, p1* pattern around the waist decrease markers as they are now, and then only increase 4 more stitches (2 more purl stitches around each marker) for the bust, adding back 0.75 inch of fabric. So in this version of the sweater, my stitch count will fluctuate from 244 stitches (for the 46″ pattern size) in the hips, down to 230 stitches in the waist, up to 234 stitches (which corresponds to the 44″ pattern size) in the bust.

Rhinebeck Sweater: All About That Waist | Woolen Diversions

Comparing to a store-bought sweater.

These measurements, once added to the 2.5″ that will result from the collar/buttonband, should give me a garment that allows for about 2″ of positive ease in the hips, 2.5″ in the waist, and 1″ in the bust. Should is the operative word there. The patterns is written for 5″ of ease, but I think my adjustments will be more flattering for my body shape. When I compare my knitting to a store-bought sweater of a similar style, the size looks good and the waist seems to land where I think it should, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will all work out in the end. And if anybody looks closely enough under my arms to notice the changes I’ve made in the pattern… well, I’ll just have to smack them for inappropriate personal space invasion anyway.

Squam art fair vendors

Come to Squam this Saturday!

I’m super excited that THIS SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19th from 7:30pm – 10pm Sweet Sheep will be vending at the Squam Art Fair in Holderness, NH. Please come and say hello! I’ve heard so much about Squam from other knitter’s blogs that it has obtained ‘magical crafty fairyland’ status in my mind, I can’t wait to see it for myself.

WIPWed #87: I MADE A THING!

Guys, I’m super excited right now, because I’m writing this while wearing my first ever (completed) handknit sweater!

Even though it spanned almost 6 months, my Overdyed Cypress vest was a pretty simple knit. It’s composed of only two pieces (front and back), with no waist shaping and itty bitty sleeves made by some increases. I was in between sizes so I made a smaller size for the back and a larger size for front, with no trouble joining them together. I was really worried about fit, especially in January when I had finished all but the armhole and neckline edgings and I tried it on and it looked terrible– but it turns out, actually finishing a thing really improves its fit! Now we just need to work on better sweater modelling and photography, those photos make it look a little misshapen and baggy, but I swear it looks nicer in person.

While it wasn’t difficult knitting, the pattern was a little bit fiddly. Jared Flood calls for no fewer than three needle sizes for the edging ribbing (yeah, right) and the tubular bind-off was a bitch. But the pattern was clearly written and is gorgeous and stylish, like most Brooklyn Tweed designs, so I definitely recommend it. There were a few things I’d do differently if I were to knit it again, namely I’d use 6’s and 5’s for the ribbing sections (instead of 6’s and 4’s) as the edges are all just a tad tighter than I’d like. I’d practice seaming on some swatches (my first side seam was so messy!) and I’d be sure to keep the slipped stitch rows of the tubular bind off and cast on extra loose, because my edges are hard and stiff instead of nice and stretchy. All in all, I’m just so happy I made something that’s actually wearable, and from yarn that I overdyed, to boot! That is one satisfying finish.

Somewhat less satisfying was finishing the knitted jewelry holder I’ve had on the needles since last July. After the project bag went missing for nearly 8 months, I was excited to finish the knitting, block it, and get the darn thing assembled this morning… but I couldn’t find the buttons anywhere. WHERE ARE THE BUTTONS?!?!?! So it sits forlorn on its blocking board until I can locate the little buggers.

At least my Tropical Traveler socks are going well. I’m really loving this simultaneous-but-not-two-at-a-time method I’m trying out here. Instead of getting hung up on a part that requires thought (heel or toe) and letting the whole pair languish for weeks until I have time to think about it, I can just switch to the second sock and speed through the easy parts and have twice the amount of sock done before the languishing happens. Then I get the tricky bits done one both socks in the same knitting session and everything just feels more efficient. Plus, there’s less chance of forgetting what I did or losing notes between socks. All in all, I think it’s a win.

My Discworld-themed #MegaSAL spinning is progressing at a slow-but-steady pace, and I was able to find a few minutes to spin up some of my fluffy MalMarch Nube rolags, too. This is the third bobbin, so I’m halfway through the singles.

As for this week’s reading, I’m still working my way through the #KonMarie’s Ode to Tidying and have now progressed to the 7th Outlander book, An Echo in the Bone. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a mildly abusive relationship with these Outlander books. They keep me up at night, they suck up all my time, and they take me on an emotional roller coaster, yet I’m dreading the day when our time together will end. What will I do?!

Perhaps even more importantly, though, what sweater should I knit next?! Ambitions, I have them.

Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

Still Here, Still Knitting!

I’m not sure where this week has gone, but it has just whizzed right by. I’d meant to post nearly every day, but between work and appointments and trying to get to bed earlier and not wanting to sit down at the computer more after a full work day of sitting at the computer… I just didn’t. And while I missed blogging, this busy week did afford me an opportunity to put my January word intention to use: enough. When I’d done enough for the day, I stopped, and resisted the urge to do more. I think that was a good thing.

Woolen Diversions

Overdyed Cypress, click for project page.

I’ve remained faithful to my first quarter knitting plans, as well. A number of people remarked that my plans were rather ambitious. Have no fear, I approach such lists with a sense of flexibility and full knowledge that I won’t complete everything. They’re really just a way for me to focus my attention, rather than strict goals I  must accomplish or else wallow in despair. They’re also there to help prevent me from casting on all the things which is what I’m tempted to do on a daily basis. This week, I’ve been more-or-less focused on my Cypress vest and am now 3/4 of the way through the knit. The back is done and the front has reached the neckline shaping. Once that is finished there will be blocking, seaming, and then ribbing (which I’m telling myself will be super quick). I’m still harboring hope that I will finish this by my 30th birthday (in <10 days). We shall see, I suppose.

Woolen Diversions

Swatch for Ecclefechan Mitts. Click for pattern page.

 

I also swatched for the Scottish-themed colorwork mitts that I raved about in my yak-yarn-inspired post last Saturday. While the swatch is quite pretty and the pattern is clear, I don’t adore the fabric and know that knitting these mitts would take me forever. I’m inexperienced with colorwork and I’m a thrower, so that means I put down each strand and pick up the next for each different colored stitch. It’s annoying and while the fabric is soft and cushy, it has very little stretch. I don’t like my mitts to be too constricting, so I decided to try my hand at designing a cowl after all.

Woolen Diversions

Indecisive swatch within a swatch.

This yarn really wants to be something lacy and drapey, and I’m picturing lace panels interspersed with some two-color texture. Except I’ve changed my mind about the nature of that texture about a dozen times! The above photo shows some two-color moss stitch with a bit of slipped garter stitch patterning above… I just can’t seem to decide. While I liked the look of the moss stitch just fine, it (again) wasn’t enjoyable for me to knit. I’m doing enough knit/purl alternating on my vest thankyouverymuch and I feel like a bit of a change. This is exactly why I cannot fathom designing something without knitting it myself. My designs have to not only be something beautiful and functional, but they absolutely have to be fun to knit. Making sure both the pattern and actual knitting flow in logical, pleasurable ways is part of the challenge for me. “Fun to knit” means different things to different people, so it’s perhaps not the best design goal, but it’s the closest thing I have to an ‘aesthetic’ at this point so I’m rolling with it.

Woolen Diversions

A small handspun diversion…

Finally, I became a wee bit distracted from my knitting goals when I finished spinning some yarn and decided to conduct a little ply experiment. I will post full details tomorrow, but the short story is I took a bunch of Falkland wool singles and plied them in three slightly different ways, knit three similar swatches from the samples, and analyzed their differences. Stay tuned for results!

 

 

IS #80: NaKniSweMo, For Real!

If you’ve heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), you might have heard of NaKniSweMo which is the knitterly equivalent. The goal is to knit an entire sweater, start to finish, during the month of November. According to this ancient post on the KnitGrrl blog, it needs to be a sweater of 50,000 stitches (like the novel length requirement). You can check out the Ravelry group here. And this year, for the first time ever, I’m joining in!

Copyright Brooklyn Tweed / Jared Flood. Click for pattern page.

I’ve finally begun the Cypress vest I swatched for a few weeks ago with my overdyed yarn. I’m actually rather surprised at how well the cast on went. After working ridiculously late last night and coming home to ALL THE HALLOWEEN CANDY BEING GONE ALREADY (the horror!) and too late to see a single tiny person dressed up like something fierce, I consoled myself with a couple of seasonal bourbon drinks that I had found on the internet. Turns out that hot buttered bourbon is rather horrifying, no matter how lovely the bloggers make it sound. So the Fiasco made me some sort of pumpkin spice liquor drink instead while we played a board game into the wee hours. He conked out and I decided that a post-midnight sweater cast on with a belly full of bourbon and pepita brittle would be an EXCELLENT IDEA.

IMG_1607

Overdyed Crypress. Click for project page.

I guess the sugar high and alcohol buzz canceled each other out, because the tubular cast on (which I’d never done before and still don’t really understand, it was like magic) went swimmingly and I’m already a couple of inches into the ribbing! I’m actually not sure if this sweater will fulfill the 50,000 stitch requirement, I’m still too fuzzy-headed to do the math, but considering it will be my first completed sweater ever, I think just finishing it during the month of November will be achievement enough for me.

Are you planning to join in with #NaKniSweMo this month? Is there another KAL happening that’s been inspiring you, lately? Share with us!

IS