Daily Archives: November 2, 2009

Finishing is Fun

Although I’ve finished a few projects in the past month, I’ve been a little bit slow in getting the FO photos together. My Cassidy cardigan is one such casualty. I finished it in time to wear at Rhinebeck – yea verily, I was sewing on the buttons the night before – which was darned useful as I knitted it in Ultra Alpaca and it stood me very well as a warm outdoor garment.

This past Saturday I wore it into Toronto for my yarnly engagements – a class at the Naked Sheep, and hanging-out time at the Purple Purl – and got Jennifer to take about a bazillion pictures of me while I was at the Purl, figuring that there would be at least a couple of shots that turned out. Turns out yarn shops make good photography backdrops, as one might well anticipate.

Oct31-Cassidy6

Pattern: Cassidy, by Bonne Marie Burns / Chic Knits
Yarn: Berocco Ultra Alpaca, ‘oceanic mix’ colourway
Needles: 4.5mm Addi Turbos
Cast-on: September 12, 2009
Cast-off: October 13, 2009.

Modifications: The only thing I did differently was to add length, as I usually do. It adds up to about 1.5 ins added both before and after the waist shaping. The waist then sits where my actual waist is, and covers my hips comfortably. Tall girls unite! Modifying patterns for length since time began.

Oct17-RhinebeckATouchOfTwist

This is a very comfortable sweater, the Ultra Alpaca is a gorgeous, heathery shade of turquoise, and I have been getting nothing but compliments on it when I wear it out and about. I am even contemplating doing a second one some time in the future…or at the very least, more Ultra Alpaca sweaters. I love this yarn to bits and pieces.

While I’m here, let me just put in a PSA for the benefits of working sweaters in pieces. Now, there are different forms of sweater construction and I’ve done several of them. I think there are times when working a sweater in the round is appropriate and enjoyable, and I’ve done many sweaters in the round. Sometimes it’s because the pattern told me to, other times it’s because I’ve preferred it in the round and modified the pattern to suit my interests.

Cassidy directs you to work in separate pieces which are then seamed together, and I went with this. Here are my reasons three:

1. Portability. I knitted about 2/3 of this sweater over 2 weeks, largely because every time I got on a bus or train, I pulled this out of my bag. It is a lot easier to carry around a piece of a sweater to knit one at a time than to eventually be carrying around most of an entire sweater, which you will be doing at some point if you work it in the round.

2. Structure. Here i used Ultra Alpaca, which is 50% wool/50% alpaca. Alpaca is wonderfully warm and drapey, but also much less elastic and springy than wool. As a result, things made with alpaca and, to a certain extent, alpaca blends, will want to sag and stretch a little bit more than things made with plain wool, which bounces and blocks right back into place after you handwash it. Seams add structural integrity and strength to the garment, and sometimes you want a little bit of extra of that to go around.

Oct31-Cassidy4

3. Control. Cassidy, as you can see above, has a hood. If I had done the sweater all in the round bottom-up and attached the sleeves as I went, I would have ended up working the hood with the entire weight of the sweater in my lap. When you’re working the hood back and forth up there at the neck, you’re flipping back and forth and it can be cumbersome to do that with a whole sweater. Here, I seamed up only the body, worked the hood, then attached the sleeves last.

And you know, the truth of the matter is, I don’t mind seaming. Well, I mind it in the same way that I mind pretty much any finishing steps in the sense that it is the thing standing in the way of me wearing the item and this sometimes annoys me enough to avoid it as long as possible (seriously, I have been known to procrastinate 2 weeks on two little ends to weave in on a shawl. Two), but now that I know how to do seams and how they should look, I don’t mind them as much as I did when I was first knitting sweaters as a new knitter. It gets easier and better with practice, like most other things.

And then when you finish it all, you have a really comfortable and pretty sweater that even Fiona Ellis herself will compliment you on when you wear it to her class. More on that tomorrow!

May your Monday be as painless as possible, with knitting waiting for you at home.

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Filed under cables, finished object: sweater