Saturday, September 19, 2009

Oak leaf family tr..... nevermind.

This is a bit of a confessional post: I have backed down from a sweater project, for the first time on record.

I want to make a heavily modified Oak Leaf Family Tree pullover, which centers around this amazing acorn-and-leaf cable... I've chosen some coordinating cables, I have the yarn and needles, but I don't want to do it right now. I have too much other stuff on my plate. I am, however, happy to say I've figured out my leaf technique, thanks to this swatch.

That swatch is using a different method every time a small stem branches off of the large stem, and it plays with acorn spacing and acorn decrease methods too. And leaf increases. The winners are:
  • The acorn should be 3 purls away from the main stem, not just two as the pattern has it (see the top right acorn). The extra stem movement is easily added by a single 1-over-1 cable cross on the wrong side.
  • Speaking of cable crosses, 1-over-1 cable crosses are (for me) a cleaner way of moving the little stems than increasing on one side and decreasing on the other.
  • The acorn should be closed off with a k5tog rather than a centered decrease, but it has to be tight (see the lower left acorn).
  • The best way (that I found) to introduce a new knit stitch into a 2-stitch stem as a small stem branches away is to increase an extra purl stitch a couple of stitches away from the stem, then use a 1-over-1 cable cross to move one original stem stitch away to form the new smaller stem; as the extra purl stitch crosses underneath, it turns into a knit stitch. Everything stays tight, and continuity is maintained between the small stem and the larger one (see the topmost branching).
  • My favorite double increase for the middle of the leaf is k1, leave stitch on needle, k1 into stitch below, k1 into the first stitch again. This leaves a "vein" in the middle (see the left upper leaf).

I'll want these notes, probably next winter. I've decided that since I'm using the same yarn I used for the Hourglass Aran, I'd be wise to wait and see how that wears during its first season. There may be things I'll want to adjust for as I prepare to make this next fancy cabled sweater.

In the meantime I'm enjoying knitting up someone else's cleverness, as well as designing a simple (but small-gauge) anniversary sweater for my husband.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Swirled Pentagons: mission accomplished

I finished this sweater weeks ago, but only now has it been cool enough to put it on for five minutes and ask my husband to take a photograph. As you can see, it fits but is in need of blocking:

I have nothing to say about the completion of this sweater except this: oh my god, so much stockinette, never again! never never never!

My modifications:
  • Like others (including grumperina), I got the right gauge and size on the pentagons by knitting them with size SIX needles instead of size NINES. While there is nothing in the errata about this, I am convinced there is in fact a mistake.
  • I made the ribbing on the body 2.5” long to match the cuffs.
  • I also made the whole body about 2” longer than the pattern called for.

The arms are a little tight -- not so tight that I won't wear the sweater, but tight enough that I can't wear a long sleeved layer underneath. I like it, but a bit less than I was hoping I would; I liked the way the pentagons came down over the shoulders of the model in Knitting Nature and was sad when I found out that sweater was way too big for her. Nonetheless, this fits and is shiny and nice. The best part is the back of the yoke, so I'll be sure to wear my hair braided with this so that people can see it.