Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Minimalist cardigan

Minimalist cardigan

pattern: Minimlaist cardigan by Ruthie Nussbaum size 35 1/2
yarn: Patons Classic Wool in "evergreen mix" (I think about 4.5 balls?)
needles: 4.5mm
no mods

minimalist cardi

So, you may remember in my last post I was saying that half-way through knitting the back of this sweater I decided it was too big and just commenced knitting the next size down? Well, I'm happy to tell you that I was a good girl and just tore the whole thing out and knit that next size from scratch again. I'm glad I did too because I think the seaming would have been brutal on my first attempt, my decreases were so wonky.

So, that said...my thoughts on this sweater.

Well first of all, I think it's still too big, and probably way too shapeless and boxy for my 5 foot 4'ed-ness. I don't know that even knitting the smallest size would have helped. I think I might just be too busty for a sweater like this?

Because really I am kind of surprised that I'm not head-over-heels in love with it...I am all about the "grandpa" cardigans lately, I generally tend to go for the most basic of knits, and really the drabbest of colours. I know I like a lot of bright sixties mod and patterned things and loud blouses (and kitsch, kitsch, kitsch!--what can I say, it's a sickness), but when it comes to sweaters/cardigans, I am usually neutral, neutral, neutral all the way.

So I feel stumped. I don't hate it. In fact I loved knitting it, and I think the pattern itself is wonderful, it's just...gah I don't know.

For starters all these photos were taken on a hot day... it's about 40 degrees celcius here this week. I wandered around the house in it looking for sunny spots to take pictures in. I was definitely sweaty. Maybe in the fall I'll feel differently about this sweater? I definitely anticipate grabbing it to throw on when the house is freezing.

The other thing kind of bugging me about it is the arms. Way too balloony for my liking I'd say. And normally I think I fancy a puffy sleeve so I'm not sure again why this isn't working for me.

I am debating seaming them up so they're a lot more narrow, so that could really impact the overall shape of this, but whether I'll ever get around to that I just don't know.

I think the key to making this work is to keep it cropped and much more stream-lined, like the model is wearing (also she has no boobs which I am insanely jealous about):

Looking at that picture now I definitely see the difference in the sleeves and am suddenly feeling inspired to fix them.

OR I could just move on to something else...yeah, that's the ticket (that's right, I'm bring THAT expression back). I may just pat myself on the back for completing a sweater in the dead of summer and be done with it.

Also, never thought I'd say this, but I may be ready to splash out on some NICE yarn for my next sweater project. (She says as she realizes there is another patons classic wool cardigan half completed in the living room somewhere...). I am generally pretty frugal about nice yarn when it comes to knitting sweaters (no doubt because I never end up wearing most of my sweaters and hence can't part with all that cash...) and usually reserve the nicer stuff for things like cowls and scarves, the stuff I KNOW I'll wear. "Glamour" items I like to call these haha.

But again, maybe it's just all this knitting with basic wool in the hot summer heat that has me saying this. The reality is that I should not be spending any money on new yarn anyway. There comes a point though when you just get tired of staring at your same old boring stash all the time...regardless of what's in it.

If you're skipping ahead, I think the abbreviated version of this entire post would just be: I am so fucking ready for fall now.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

In which I admit to being a lazy knitter...

I guess it is not that big of an admission...I tend to just generally get lazy in the summer about knitting stuff. It is usually too hot around these parts to truly devote yourself to it.

But you know, there's lazy, and then there's what I really am, and that's: HALF-ASSED.

example #1:

Interweave's Minimalist cardigan. (Previous blog entries about whisper cardigans and ruffled Patons sweaters--you can just forget 'em, they are dead to me now)

And at the very least when it comes to sweaters, I'm not quite so half-assed that I wouldn't do a gauge swatch. I *did* do one (in truth I usually do about half a full swatch, before unravelling it to begin...so technically still half-assed I'd venture!) but an attempt at a swatch nonetheless--and off I went.

I knit about 8 inches before I decided "hmmm, I think I'll do the next size down instead".

An intelligent person would probably start over at this point, not just start randomly.decreasing.wherever.they wanted.until.the.whole.back.was.finished.

YARGH...How's that for some subtle decreasing!? Seriously, what was I thinking? Now that the sweater is almost done (I've got about half a sleeve left) I've decided that I can't live with it and have promised myself that I will completely start the back over again.

Example #2:

This gorgeous Cables and Lace beret from Michele Wang.

Sure, it looks cute here, and it really is a gorgeous hat and pattern...

But I had MAJOR gauge-fail issues! I should preface by saying that it was my intention to make this hat for someone with a "big" head (I often kid my friend Suanne that they based this Seinfeld episode on her)--and I knew I was taking a chance using a DK weight yarn on a pattern that called for lace weight.

If not for the ribbed band being way too big (in the photos it's just kind of "placed" on my head) it actually would have worked I think. The body of the beret has the perfect amount of slouch, and using a larger yarn meant I didn't have to repeat the 24-row lace pattern a second time, so that was a serious time-saver!

Note the vast difference in overall size between it and another slouchy hat I finished off last week (the other hat is Le Slouch by Wendy Bernard by the way, and all my yarn details etc. for it can be found on Ravelry)

I'd say that's a pretty big difference in the ribbed opening... (she says as one hat literally swallows the other...)

I probably could have gotten away with it all if I had just cast on less for the ribbing (and then increased accordingly for the pattern), and I am still debating whether it will be at all salvageable if I just tightened up the ribbing by weaving some elastic thread through it.

Though you'd think If I learned anything from all of this it would to just tear back and start over the minute I realized there was an issue--instead of mindlessly thinking I'd somehow fix it all later. Really, you will save yourself what will inevitably be extra work, and subsequent attempts will be far superior to your original.

Sage advice that I already knew but for some reason couldn't bring myself to follow. I know it seems a shame to tear back on hours of work but just DO IT. You'll be much happier in the end.