Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Hem Lace Detail Posted by Hello

The First Sweater I’ve Completed That I Actually Like!

Cotton Sweater Posted by Hello

I’ve finished up a cotton sweater from a lovely pinky-lilac colored cotton. This is basic Tahki-Stacy Charles Cotton Classic color 3938, worsted weight knitted up at 5 stitches per inch on size 6 needles. My rationale for doing a sweater when I really needed to work on my alpaca shawl was basically as follows: I really needed a cool summer sweater for work. And I have that lovely Philosopher’s Wool kit sitting there, I’m dying to work on that sweater, and I’ve never yet made a sweater for myself that I really like. So it’s time to do a trial run. Cotton is cheap, and if it doesn’t fit me, my daughter will almost certainly like this color. Quite a rationale, right? I don’t know why I bothered – I knew I was going to make a cotton sweater.

So I started designing. I wanted a v-neck and raglan sleeves, and I really preferred to work top-down so that I could try it on as I went. A rather close fit was in order, so it would be cool but dressy, with my signature lace around the bottom of the body and sleeves. Short sleeves, of course, but not too short – gotta disguise those matronly arms that even massive amounts of spinning don’t entirely eliminate! And a close fit would allow for the cotton’s tendency to stretch with wearing.

I fired up Sweater Wizard and, gauge swatch in hand, came up with a basic design. Tinkered until it looked the way I wanted, moving the v-neckline up to a more modest height, lengthening the body and shortening the sleeves. Then I waded through all my pattern books for the lace edging. What I decided to use (Fountain Lace, Barbara Walker’s Second Treasure) modified itself quite a lot when I changed the pattern to work in the round. It looks nothing like the pattern swatch in the book, but it’s still pretty – I like the diagonal nature of the lace’s sl 1, k 2 tog, psso line. I did consider tinking after the first repeat on the body bottom showed up the change in the lace structure, but again, this was something I not only could live with, but rather liked.

I did four rows of stockinette at the end of the lace sections, and of course they curled up. So I went back and crocheted a single-row border to control the curl. I considered doing a lace around the neckline, but decided in favor of a plain ribbed edging so as not to detract from the lovely lace on the sleeves and hem.

This is the result. Detail pictures of the lace edging and sleeve are included. I do like the sweater, and it fits quite well. I didn’t get the neck pickup on the left and right neck edges exactly the same, and had to decrease a couple of times at the shoulder point, but it’s acceptable. It’s even pretty. And, of course, my daughter was home Sunday when I was finishing it up, and loved it. Even though she mayn’t have it (it fits me perfectly!), I’m still glad she likes it. My husband loves it, but then he always loves me in sweaters.

I wore it to work today (Tuesday), and the people I work with were amazed - first that I'd made it, and next that it was so pretty, and lastly that it was so soft! I love knitting!

And now I can get back to my alpaca shawl! And eye the PW sweater kit longingly until it’s finished!

Sleeve Detail Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

My New Toy!

My New Toy! Posted by Hello

I have a new toy (pictured above)! Administrative Professionals Day was last Wednesday. I don’t make a big deal about it, because I think I need to do a great job every day. And I work with engineers and physicists who do nice things for me at other times during the year – Christmas and birthdays and such.

But this year my three group leaders (immediate supervisors) and some others of 'my guys' got together and did something extra nice – a dozen white roses and a card that contained the website link and enough cash to purchase one of Tom Golding’s spindles! I happily complied.

After perusing the website, I still didn’t see exactly what I wanted – I like really lightweight spindles to spin my frog hair and hamster floss, and none of the ones I saw perfectly fit my requirements - they were too heavy. So I phoned Tom, who answered the phone himself. I explained my requirements and he suggested a ‘model’ drop spindle that he made awhile back – one of only six in this size and design. He planned to take them to Maryland this weekend, but would let me purchase one in advance. Isn’t it beautiful? Only 0.6 ounces and it spins like a dream after a minor tweaking of the hook – things can get bent during shipment no matter how carefully they’re packed.

I brought it in to work today to show off to the folks who financed the purchase, along with some Shetland fleece. The spindle is a definite hit! The cherry whorl, walnut shaft, and brass ring and hook are so pretty! I definitely have a new favorite spindle.