Thursday, December 8, 2016

Project of interest

How do you pick your next project?
1) You find out that your beloved cardigan or sweater has a whole in it, or was eaten by moths, and you need a new one pronto?
2) You find some incredibly beautiful yarn and immediately begin looking for a project to use it?
3) You see a picture of a garment on Ravelry and cannot stop dreaming about yourself wearing it? Or you see an amazing picture in a knitting magazine…
4) Or, maybe, you just pick something simple without seeming and shaping, just to occupy your hands while you watch TV (Knitflixing is a word now, you know)?
Do you ever pick a project just for fun and creative excitement, because it seems to be a challenge or a puzzle, and you have only a vague idea what it will become at the end?
That’s what happened to me with my last sweater. I wanted to make something interesting, complicated, and, eventually, beautiful. I blame Pinterest. I got hooked on it while waiting in an airport.
Probably, I spend too much time in airports because my Pinterest boards are growing pretty quickly. It is bewildering how many wonderful, masterful, unique knits you can find there. Made by great designers.
Going back to Ravelry sometimes is really sobering – no more daring shapes and extravagant color combinations, no more experiment or challenge. Same old, same old. Yes, sorry, I know. It is not fair. But I wish big designers would develop a pattern or two for us, knitters, once in a while at least (Footnote:Vogue Knitting publishes this kind of patterns. Not very often and sometimes not well edited but it is something at least).
I found quite a lot of bias cut sweaters on Pinterest that looked really wearable. Here are some examples.
Amazing construction, don’t you agree?
And going through my old Phildars collection that I brought to Florida, I found this bias cut sweater that looked a lot like the ones on Pinterest.
Yet, this time I had a pattern. And it looked doable and, after some deliberation, practical. Actually, that was why I was buying Phildar magazines in the first place: they have an atrocious customer service and their yarns are not that good, but their designers were always great and didn’t disappoint. I don’t know how to sew, but I can have some idea about a finished product looking at its blueprint. And this is how I pick a project in a Phildar magazine – I don’t look at pictures (they are very treacherous and seldom show the most important things) but at diagrams and charts.
This particular pattern drew my attention when I first laid my eyes on it years ago. I even started making it but at the time I had no patience with challenging patterns, needed something to occupy my hands and to relax. This is not a good pattern for relaxation. Actually, till the end I wasn’t sure how it would work. There are no pictures of finished garments on Ravelry and only one dark picture in the magazine.
I used Rowan Kid classic again (almost ten balls) in a grayish, light blue color. I thought that the subtlety of color will balance the boldness of the pattern. Plus, I really like working with this yarn.

The pattern turned out to be very clear and rather easy. The only trouble that I had was the difference in my row gauge. Otherwise, it was rather smooth sailing. And fast. I couldn’t put down my needles – was too impatient to see the end result. And it didn’t disappoint.
If you have this particular magazine and like unusually constructed clothes, I highly recommend this pattern. I didn’t put a zipper in it, because 1) I didn’t want to bother; 2) I thought that it was complicated enough already. Next time, if I make it (and I want one like this for myself, with shorter sleeves), I’ll do it without zipper again. There is no need, in my opinion.
More pictures and details on my Ravelry page, as usual.
While this sweater was drying I decided to finish a little black tank that I started to make in June. Usually, when I start something and like it, I finish it before beginning a next project. Yes, I am a one-project-at-a-time-knitter (I think, we should start a group!). I picked it because I liked the picture on Ravelry and there are not enough tanks in my wardrobe.
Cannot say anything about the yarn – lost all the labels and notes while moving from place to place last summer. You see, it seemed to be a very easy project – just knit in the round, no seaming, no finishing – so I kept bringing it with me everywhere. Yet, after two or three rows, I would fall asleep or totally distracted, and my progress was extremely slow.
The pattern is called Slope by Shellie Anderson. It is a very good pattern, with a lot of interesting, thoughtful details. The whole thing is made in the round with some shaping and short rows.
When finished, it fit well and I was glad that I persevered. However, things without seams have a tendency to stretch. This particular tank stretched a lot after washing. My Slope became really sloppy (pun intended).
After having tried different approaches in order to shrink this top, I discovered that this unidentified and mysterious yarn is practically unshrinkable. Which is supposed to be a good thing for a yarn. But it is not in this particular case. I hope one of my daughters likes this garment enough to take it because I have no use for it. And after all my shrinking experiments I don’t think that unraveling it will be possible.
So, no matter how many times I give myself a word not to make things in the round, I get under the spell of easiness and simple stockinette stitch and then… a disappointment! And, yes, I made a gauge, if you are wondering.
Surprisingly enough, my next project turned out to be also a seamless, or almost seamless sweater. However, this is another story and I’ll tell it the next time (here is a teaser!).
To be continued…

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