Monday, June 29, 2009

Sweater Weather.

Remember when I said June was going to be my month of finishing up old project? You probably don't, because even I forgot and spent more time working on my Sundrop Cardigan than anything else. Here's part of the front panel...

Look how addictive that lovely leaf stitch looks!

I did, however, sew on the buttons, weave in the loose ends and photograph my Puff-Sleeved Feminine Sweater that I started in February. The pattern is from Stefanie Japel's book Fitted Knits and the yarn is Knit Picks Merino Style in 'hawk'. This is my first completed hand knit sweater... and one that I will actually wear! I loved the pattern and am pretty happy with the end results.

Like most of Ms. Japel's designs, this pattern starts at the neck and works it's way down, increasing to create the raglan sleeves and decreasing for a cute, fitted waist. I really loved working in the top-down structure. I also liked the seed stitch collar and all the little details she slips in to keep it from getting boring. There was very little seaming to do in the end, and I was also able to try the sweater on during various stages of growth to be sure that it fit. I considered adding some rows in the waist to make it a little longer, since most sweaters that I wear are not this short, but after giving it some thought I decided to follow the recipe as it was given and let the sweater be of the short nature in which it was designed. I think it will look really cute over a summer dress or with a long tunic in the fall.

The only trouble I had was with the lacework in the peplum but that was mostly because I had never read a chart before. You'd have to put your face pretty close up to my hips to see the mistakes and anyone who's doing that obviously has bigger issues than the yarn overs in my sweater, so, I let that go!

An area I feel I am improving in is choosing the correct yarns for my projects. This is sometimes a tricky thing. I started off as one of those knitters who would fall in love with a yarn that was totally wrong for a project and not see my mistake until the end. What do I mean by "wrong"? Well, my first ever garment was a chunky wool camisole top -- not very practical (but it taught me how to do armhole shaping and sew seams!) My second garment was a hideous pink, green and shimmery striped sweater. Whoa! It was a pretty yarn, but for an entire sweater? I just wouldn't wear it and that realization kept me from completing it. At the time, I didn't think about that when I was in the store, but now I do. I realize that black, grey and neutral colors are what I feel most comfortable wearing. And that simple yarns can help define stitches and show off delicate details.

For this project, I used the exact yarn the pattern called for and barely strayed away from the pattern. I think if I were to start over of knit it again I would choose a pima cotton or bamboo blend for a warmer-weather garment (rather than wool) but other than that I am pretty pleased. Knit picks merino yarn is super soft (though a bit pilly) and knits up very well. It's pretty darn good for the price!

For someone who is often a much more "experimental" knitter, not straying away from the pattern was a big step in learning how to follow directions and understand the basics of garment construction. I realize that taking risks can be a very exciting part of knitting, but it's also nice - and easier to learn from - the no hassle projects. Especially when you are pleased with the results!

You can find more of Ms. Japel’s stylish, wearable knits in her two books Fitted Knits and Glam Knits and it’s always fun to see what she making on her blog!

Thanks for visiting! Hope you're all having a great summer.

Monday, June 08, 2009

a quick hello and a question....

Well, I returned from one trip and am already planning another! This one's just a quick visit to Tucson, AZ for a weekend in July, mostly to see Bill Callahan, but also to do a little exploring in the city, too. Does anyone have any recommendations for places to stay or things to see while we are there?

I'll be back again soon to share some finished projects, I promise! I am, in fact, dedicating June to finishing a number of things I have started making in the last few months. so... stay tuned!

Thanks for reading... I look forward to your travel suggestions!