Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ski Sweater Stash Bust

Here's another wintery knit that I've been wearing all the time.  It's the classic Elizabeth Zimmerman round-yoke sweater formula with my usual hip/bust/waist shaping and an experiment with the neckline.

I wanted to really curve the fairisle yoke into a flattering frame for my face rather than allow it to settle in a horizontal line across my broad shoulders.   To achieve this effect I set aside all the front neckline stitches above the bust (just after attaching the sleeves) and worked short rows in one stitch steps to build up the back and across the arms to the recommended half-way point.  Then I picked up all my stitches, made my first set of decreases, and started the fairisle yoke.  I just made it up as I went and used scraps from my stash.  I love how it turned out!

I've been skiing in this sweater all the time and enjoying several compliments.  I love wool.  :)

P.S. Thank you, Tom, for taking these nice photos for me!

Monday, March 16, 2015

The lovely Hetty

 Before winter abandons the Northwest completely (Did she ever really arrive this year?), I'd like to show you the sweet snow queen of my lacy cardi collection.  Yes, she'll work as a frosting over spring dresses for a few more months, but she is Warm.  Hey, Alpaca.  And she's sooooft, with a halo of luxury.  I love her!

This is Andi Satterlund's pattern, Hetty, knit in the Indecita Alpaca that I import from Peru.  I especially like to knit Andi's patterns because she's in my neighborhood knitting group.  She's such a talented knitter!

 Because I adore cables in cream, I couldn't resist adding my own twist to Andi's design.  Since Hetty is knit from the top down, I worked the pattern as written until casting on stitches for the neck.  Ok... sorry, actually, I rarely follow instructions.  This is why I don't test knit.  I fudged all the shaping, roughly moving the arm hole inwards and scooping the neckline much lower. 

When I cast on for the front neckline, I always add extra stitches to accommodate my mountainous topography.   In this case, instead of simply adding repeats of the Hetty lace pattern, I used the extra stitches to incorporate a 2x2 cable down each front edge.

Hetty then got my usual shaping over the bust with short rows and side shaping.  In this construction, after the short rows, I just needed decreases below the apex to reduce the stitch count I cast on at the front neck.   I maintained the side-"seam" decreases to whittle my waist circumference with 4" negative ease.
 My original intention had been to only add the two vertical cables along the button bands.  I think that also would have been very lovely.  If I knit another Hetty, I'll do just that.  However, I got excited about the lovely cream cables and decided to add more.  Ah, cables!  Cables are my favorite thing to knit. 

To create the wide cabled band, I put all the body stitches on a holder except for one of the cabled panels.  Really, just leave all those stitches on their needle and grab a new needle for the little cabled panel.  Ok, really, I just did it all on one needle, but... It makes more sense to think about all the body stitches being on hold while you work the bottom band across them in the perpendicular direction.
So, anyhow.  I worked just the one cabled front panel, plus and extra stitch added for selvage, down to the desired length of the cardigan. Then I picked up stitches for the cable panel through the selvage stitch.  I believe I picked up the right number for just the cables and then increased immediately to create the 2-stitch purl columns between them.  This was to compensate for the compression from cabling.  As I worked each row, I'd K2tog (or could have been SSK depending on direction, don't recall) the last stitch together with a stitch from the body.  In this way I worked the band across all the body stitches until I reached the other front cabled panel.  In the last row of the band I decreased all the purl stitches to match the first side.  Finally, I worked that remaining front cabled panel down, using a decrease to combine the last stitch with a stitch from the band until I reached the end and bound off. 

I then picked up and knit all the ribbed trim as usual, including along the bottom of the cabled band.

What else can I say?  How about the buttons?  Choosing the buttons for my Hetty was a fun challenge.  I'd initially envisioned inconspicuous cream buttons, but all the contenders I found were too white and made my cardi look dirty in comparison.  I considered wood or metal buttons but found the effect to be too Hansel and Gretel.  I'd nearly conceded to the alternative of contrast buttons when I found The Perfect Buttons for my sweetheart.  I think they give a lovely vintage aesthetic and allow Hetty to pair with a variety of outfits.