Friday, January 26, 2007

3 Sweaters in Progress

I've been working on some of these sweaters longer than others, but I have high hopes for all of them. They are all my own designs, so they might work out, or they might not.

1. A red sweater that I started a long time ago. The stitch pattern is Wheat Ear Rib from Barbara Walker's treasuries (I'm not sure which one).

I'm getting pretty close on this one. I'm part way through the second sleeve, so hopefully I'll get to wear it this winter.

2. This is the beginning of an Elizabeth Zimmerman Hand-to-Hand Aran sweater. The idea is to knit from one cuff to the other, and then pick up stitches to knit the body. But I think that it would bother me to have one sleeve knit from cuff to body and the other sleeve knit from the body to the cuff. So I'm going to knit both sleeves from the cuff to the middle of the sweater, then graft them together. It's a lot of grafting in multiple cable patterns, but I think it will work out. And the sweater will be symmetrical. Then I'll pick up stitches and knit the body. Here's what I have so far on the first sleeve:

I'd like to say that this sleeve will be done soon, but I have yet to knit more than 3 rows of this in a sitting. So it could be a long-term project. The pattern for the big cable can be found here. The smaller cable is just one 8-stitch repeat of a honeycomb cable. This is the yarn - my color is arctic fox, which seems to be sold out. This yarn still has spinning oil in it, so it will fluff up more when it is washed.

3. This is just the very beginnings of a sweater. Now that I'm trying to look professional when I go to work, I've been wearing more jackets than sweaters. I've measured my favorite jacket very carefully, and I'm knitting this to be the exact same size and shape. We'll see how it works. Accurate shaping has never been my strong point. That's why I like knitting hats and mittens. If they don't work, it isn't that big a deal to rip them out. To make this even trickier, I'm using unspun icelandic yarn for this project. You can probably guess how I know that it doesn't rip out well.

For this project, I wanted to use a two-color stitch pattern that would not really look like knitting. After looking through my many, many stitch pattern books, I didn't find anything that I really liked. But the fancy herringbone pattern in one of Barbara Walker's Treasuries of Knitting Patterns was close to what I was looking for. So I decided to see how I might adapt that pattern for two colors. I tried about 10 different variations of the pattern:

The one I settled on is the 5th band down from the top. It is the fancy herringbone pattern with the slipped stitches worked in the constrasting yarn. Here's how it looks in the unspun icelandic:

This picture is pretty blurry, but none of the others seemed to show what the pattern really looks like. All the shaping in pattern that this pattern requires takes a lot of attention. So I haven't been working on it much lately. But since it is the one that I am the most likely to wear to work, it should probably be higher on the priority list.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

New Mittens!

As my first semester teaching ended, I started knitting again. It was a really tough semester, and I'm really glad it is over. Second semester starts tomorrow, and I'm hoping it will be a lot better. I now know what kind of background these students have, and how much they are willing to work. That's a good start to making this semester go more smoothly.

I haven't been knitting much, and the time I have spent knitting has been spread across several projects. It seems like every time I sit down to knit, I want to start something new. However, we spent a week with my husband's family, and I only brought a few projects with me. And I actually managed to finish something!

I made the double-knit hat last winter, but I didn't have any mittens that really went with it. So I didn't wear the hat much. I had some yarn left over from the hat (less than 50g each of the red Heilo and grey Peer Gynt), and I thought there might be enough for a pair of mittens. I knit both mittens at once, from opposite ends of the balls of yarn. After ripping and reknitting the tops and thumbs a few times, I finally came up with a pattern I had enough yarn for. In the end, I had about 4 inches of red yarn left. Just enough to weave in the ends!

I would have liked the thumb to be a little more similar to the rest of the mittens, but there wasn't enough red yarn to make that happen. However, I like the mittens, and I'm now wearing the hat/mittens combo often. Success!

(no, there isn't a pattern for either the hat or mittens written up. I might write one later, but it's looking unlikely.)