Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hourglass Aran construction plan

In response to some questions on Ravelry (eightoclock, have you lost your mind?), I put together the following badly Photoshopped picture to show how the side panels are meant to fit with the body panels to give me a completed sweater (and a svelte waist).

After doing this I finished knitting the swatch of the side panel motif, and it does look nice like that with the vertical symmetry. I'll probably do that for real.

Then I went to the gym:

The design process requires flexibility, you know.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Hourglass Aran progress

Oh, I am so slow, but the whole front is done now. I couldn't get the colors right, so finally just made today's pictures black and white. Here's the front, and the start of the back, which shows the completed neckline shape and also the ribbing I chose. They are baby cables, basically k2p2 ribbing with a tiny k-over-k cable cross every fourth row. It doesn't really pull in any more than my cables, which are close to k2p2 anyway, so I don't think it'll contract unflatteringly.

And here's the fun part, a swatch for the side panel, which I've been thinking and thinking about today. This is my second attempt and at least it's shaped correctly so far, but it's still too wide... I need less reverse stockinette on either side of most of the cable design.

As I said on Ravelry if not here, the side panels are why it's an *hourglass* Aran. They provide waist shaping and the chance to do some freeform cable design, all at the same time. :) And they are insurance, too... if I have the size wrong, I should be able to adjust by reknitting just the side panels and not the whole body.

The bad news (and this is bad news for my sleeve caps, too) is that doing closed cables and controlling the shaping of a piece at the same time is kind of hard. When the cables first begin, they don't really affect the width of the piece at all and you can basically ignore the new stitches, as though the cables were floating on top. Sadly, as the cables spread out they do inevitably change the stitch gauge from the initial stockinette gauge to the "gauge over lots of cables". Worse yet, as this piece starts to taper in, some of the decreases come from the edges and some come from cables melding together. I'm starting to have a lot of thoughts about things that affect gauge, and I'm coming to the conclusion that stitch count matters, but so does the number of knit-to-purl transitions across the fabric, and so do cable crosses.

I haven't finished the bottom half of this yet, partly because I haven't decided whether to just do the top half in reverse (with a couple of small adjustments) or whether to make a different pattern. I'll probably just do the top half in reverse, considering that this rather pretty bit will otherwise only be visible when I raise my arms! And I'd probably look weird, wandering around the city with my arms over my head.