Monday, March 18, 2013

The Swatching Game Continues

Back to that cardigan I've been slowly working on...

So I finished off one sleeve, blocked it and had Younger Son try it on for fit and approval, before starting on the second one. Just for your amazement, here's a photo comparing the two sleeves. Check out what happens to this yarn when you block it!

[ top: blocked; bottom: unblocked sleeve]

So this makes me kinda nervous about starting the body. But heck, here we go.

I measured the top of the sleeve (70 sts) to establish the blocked gauge, and then figured out how many sts to cast on for the body. The pattern has a 10+6 st repeat, and I will add 1 purl stitch to each side plus a 5-st steek for the middle (I'm making a cardigan). So I figure 181 sts for the body (176 + 5 st steek). Then I will cast on about 10% less to give a snug band. 


I've worked about 2.5" of 2x2 ribbing (same as for the sleeves) and, with smoke coming out of my ears,  have managed to get the design centered as desired while increasing the required 10% to get me to 181 sts total. Whew!

I will knit about 6" of the sweater, and then I'll take it off the needle and block it, just to make double-triple-quadruple sure that the gauge is where I want it. While I'm knitting, I will add an extra row or so every pattern repeat, just along the back of the sweater, the way EZ recommends. The way other sweaters hang on Young Son's skinny body, I figure I need the back about 1" longer than the front.

The yarn I'm using is Beaverslide 90% merino/10% mohair. This yarn has lovely earthy colours and a good price (1/2 the price of, for example, Brooklyn Tweed's stuff!), but I find it rather hard to deal with. For starters, the gauge thing has me very nervous, and then the yarn has lots of knots (6-7 per skein, typically only in one of the two plies), lots of straw ("vegetable matter" - OK, it's homey stuff and from sheep, so this doesn't bug me too much), very low elasticity (tiring to knit; this is actually a problem because I get very sore hands from it) and is not tightly plied, so the two plies tend to split easily - and this makes twisted-stitch patterns like this one a royal pain.

I've got two other projects in the stash from Beaverslide: a pair of socks (2-ply sport weight) and a thick sweater (3-ply "fishermans" yarn)...I think I will wash the skeins before I knit with them....see if that helps with the gauging issues...but gotta finish this one first!

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