Cozy Sweater Knitting, Part 2 (With Cats)

Followup to cozy sweater knitting.

I decided to put in horizontal darts but not vertical darts, on the reasoning that unevenness of the bottom hem would be visible but an oversized tapered v-neck shawl-collar cardigan originally designed to have buttons well below the bustline didn’t really need more fabric in front than was already there.  We’ll see how that works out when it’s assembled.  I’ve also decided to seam the sleeves by unpicking one cast-on for each sleeve at the underarm and using that to seam those pieces together.  Jury is still out as to whether I’ll seam the two bound-off edges at the top to each other or unpick one and graft live stitches to bound-off stitches.  The latter would require actually cutting into one BO edge, though.  I’ll probably try to seam it still bound with a scrap of yarn first and see how I like the looks of it.

I’ve now done nearly all of the knitting on this giant multi-pastel sweater.  (I have half a collar, cuffs, and potentially patch pockets to go, but want to sew it together first.)  Actually, I finished the main knitting weeks ago and tried to justify sewing it together without blocking it but just about all of the seaming is stockinette, which curls like mad.  More importantly, though, this project is largely a learning project for knitting in separate pieces and seaming them, and so I really should follow the standard advice and block the pieces first for uniformity.  So I soaked the back and laid it out to dry.

sweater blocking with Licoris 2016-03-23 01.37.34 (2)

I am at a loss as to why a cat would want to lie on wet wool, but maybe the scent was extra comforting.  And it was wet; even after squeezing as much water out as I could, several times, it was quite palpably damp.  (I don’t think I rolled it in a towel and stood on it, but I probably should have.)  It took several days to dry.  Near the end I got impatient and peeled it up and let it drape over chairs and stuff so the wrong side could get some air.

(I have to say that it kind of looks like someone tried to use CMY inks to print a photo of TV static but the colors were all out of registration.  Oh well.)

I still cheated on the blocking by not measuring and pinning.  But I wasn’t after doing much in the way of reshaping; I just wanted the edges to not curl so much.  Nevertheless, this was enough of a pain that I let a couple of weeks elapse before attempting the fronts.  In the meantime, I had restored the futon in the above pic to couch form, but I could just barely squeeze half the blocking tiles onto the table in the room, enough to do one front at a time.  This time I used a spray bottle to thoroughly dampen the edges and somewhat less thoroughly the middle.  Still didn’t bother with measuring and pinning, though I did hold the now-dry back against the fronts to get a rough idea.  The size hadn’t appeared to change before, so I’m trusting it won’t with these.  The first front definitely dried faster than the back did, unsurprisingly.

sweater 2nd front blocking 2016-04-04 18.54.49

Right now the second front is drying.  I’ll probably try seaming the first front to the back before the second front finishes drying.  But first I need to do something about the rather large mass of loose yarn attached to the first front, which is the other reason I didn’t wet-block that one.  I hate cutting yarn before I have to, and I haven’t quite decided yet whether to do the entire collar from that side and graft in front or to start the other side’s collar per instructions and graft them in the middle of the back neck.  There are reasons to do each:

  • Working the collar all the way around from one side would make for consistent selvages and inconspicuous short-row wraps.  If I work the second half from the other front (with knit garter stitch), the other side will be the one that’s out, and the selvage looks a little different on that side (because this is multicolor), plus the wraps are more visible from that side.
  • Working the collar in one piece means probably no extra cutting of yarn, because there’s enough left on the half-a-collar already knit to work the other half.  I was able to knit only a row or two of collar after binding off the other front, but that yarn would probably be enough to sew the completed collar to the back neck.
  • However, I would then have to graft the completed collar to the other front, and the inevitable slight jog from grafting opposing-direction work would be on the front and therefore visible, if relatively inconspicuous.  Doing it in two halves would put the jog in back where it will be less conspicuous.  (Probably.  I always think seam lines on back neck collars look awful, but that’s why I’d graft rather than seam or 3-needle bind-off. I don’t know what people are thinking with that.)
  • Working it in two halves might make for easier management of the collar sewing, since after the center-back graft, if I did it right, there’d be two tails available to sew it down to the back neck, working back to the fronts.  That would likely have less complicated results than seaming it in one go from one front to the other, since I’ll be seaming a vertical garter selvage to a horizontal stockinette bindoff, and if I mess up the spacing I’ll get to the end and have too much of one of these left and have to unpick everything.
  • I could probably get around the mismatch selvage and wrapping by doing the second half of the collar in purl garter instead of knit garter.  It’d be a pain, but it’s not very big, and I could drop down a needle size or two to compensate for my purls being larger than my knits.  I’m knitting on US 11s, and I have not only 10 1/2s but 10 3/4s and even 10 7/8ths somewhere. (All this is reminding me that I really need to get into the metric habit, because US needle sizes are insane, especially between sizes 10 and 13.)
  • However, if I do that (purl garter) I will inevitably end up having to conceal a yarn end at a garter selvage that will likely be visible from both sides at some point.  That might well be more visible than the half-stitch jog from seaming.

Hmm.  I think this will take inspection of the other front, currently drying, to decide.  Well, I have plenty of seaming to do before then.

Walnut with sweater piece 2 2016-04-04 18.39.00.jpg

As I was starting this entry, Walnut came up and perched on the arm of the couch, sniffing briefly at the piece near her.  I put my hand on it and she licked my fingers a little.  I was so touched I teared up, even though she licks my fingers when I give her something tasty to eat.  (Which is probably what initially attracted her; I had a bowl of yogurt on the other side of me.  Still, she hadn’t made a move toward it and didn’t for at least two more minutes.)

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