Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dollar and a Half Sweater

I have many projects waiting to be started. I have many hanks and skanks and skeins of yarn waiting to become projects. But I've been scared off from making sweaters because my last few attempts have failed.

Then I saw the recent issue of Interweave Knits and I fell for the dollar and a half cardigan.

Sure it looked complicated. But at the same time it looked pretty simple. Twelve rows of reverse stockinettte, 12 rows of lace. Repeat. Sure it involves decreasing for the sleeves. And sure, some of this happens in the lace sections. And, oh right, there'a a cable thrown in there, too. But what the hell. I'm a trooper. I can get over my fear-of-making-sweaters and jump right in.

And jump I did. I even joined the Dollar and a Half KAL (which, for those not totally up on knitter's lingo, stands for Knit-a-Long -- a group of people who knit the same project and share their successes and sometime failures.) Gotta love knitters. One thing they're never short on is acronyms: KAL, LYS, WIP, UFO*...

Here's my first post to the KAL:

After driving myself crazy and swatching about 4 different yarns for this sweater, I finally decided on Solitaire in charcoal by GGH.

I had about 14 skeins of it in the drawer purchased for an entirely different project. Let's just say that project never happened...

I still love the sweater pattern planned for said yarn, but it's only written for a small and medium and I'm scared of the maths it will take to adjust the pattern. So I avoided it for more than a year, wondering if this nice yarn would ever become something other than balls taking up space in a drawer.

Enter Dollar and a Half Cardigan and Solitaire has found a home.

Chance Kitty approves of the sweater's start

It took a few swatches of lace practice to get it right, but once I remembered that it's a multiple of three PLUS one -- all worked out well. Al's tutorial for row 7 was extremely helpful, as well.

Close up of lace

I'm this far along on the back. I got a little nervous after the first few rows because I was getting the Michelin Man effect, so I blocked it to make sure it would look OK. That's why the bottom is flatter than the rest. (That's if you can see that in this crappy photo... )

Almost up to sleeve shaping...Scary

I have to say, getting the correct gauge in lace was a bit beyond my knitting abilities. It's measuring to the width I want, so hopefully it won't be too big or too small. (Not that I've even done that before.)

After completing the first section each of stockinette and lace, I didn't like that the stockinette section was wider than the lace. So I've altered the pattern a bit: in the the first row of reverse stockinette (a purl row) I decrease a total of 3 stitches. In the first row of the lace section (the knit row), I add the 3 stitches back in. I'm hoping this won't bite me in the ass later, but the edges are more even this way.

Being home sick with the cold from hell for the last week has really moved this project along. And I totally agree with Chef Messy. By the time I get to the end of the stockinette section, I'm so ready for something a little more exciting. Then, by the time I get to the end of the lace section, I'm so sick of counting I can't wait for the simplicity of purl a row, knit a row.

Wish me luck. I'm about to start decreasing for the sleeves...

*Now you can be hip to the lingo of the knitter: Local Yarn Store, Work in Progress, Unfinished Object.


Marissa said...

So scary! I can't believe you're attempting that crazy sweater! It's CUTE, but SCARY!! How come you never told me??

Marissa said...

Is this going to end up being the YEAR and HALF sweater? Or just the year and a half blog??

Anonymous said...

Nuts! Totally nuts! Take up skydiving or something a bit simpler. Get a second job; whatever -- even if you finish a sweater like that, which b/t/w will be years from now, something else will have caught your eye and the poor, neglected sweater will be put into "consignment." Me and Suzie know how you LOVE to do that!!!!!