Thursday, September 3, 2009

Casting On: Stella Blouse

Stella SleeveI have spent most of the summer knitting socks and practicing project monogamy.

This has led to me actually completing projects in a timely manner.

I don't know which aspect of my current knitting habits I'm tired of, but I suddenly had the need to start working on a sweater again.

There are, of course, many projects I want to start. But starting them all at once is counter productive. There are two I've been both wanting to make for a while, and have all the materials for.

One is the Stella's Blouse top from the Spring 04 issue of Interweave Knits. When I first saw the pattern all those years ago, I knew I was going to make it, but I thought it was over my skill level with the pleats and smocking and all. I bought the magazine, and apparently one set of circular needles, but no yarn. Didn't want to get to far ahead of myself.

It has lurked in the back of my mind since then. It was never forgotten, just on the back burner. In fact, this pattern was the inspiration for putting smocking on my Top Down Alpaca Mitts.

Last year or so I bought some Rowan Cotton Glace (the yarn specified in the pattern) in light blue.

The next hurdle was the smallest size was a 34 inch bust and I'm a 31 inch. That is three inches of ease, which seemed a little excessive. Happily, I was able to track the designer down on Ravelry and tell her my predicament. I said I was intending to ditch 10 sts, 5 each front and back, right after the smocking was done.

She said that was a good plan. Then explained how it would affect the stitch count further up the sweater.

I was all set to make it, I just needed the time.

Second Choice
stars & stripes done
The other sweater I was considering was Iris, a shrug from Rowan 35.

It looks pretty easy-peasy and functional. I have five balls of Rowan Calmer (the yarn specified) in denim blue. They are leftover from the bag I bought when I made my Superhero Sweater (seen here). The only thing stopping me from making it was time.

On Saturday, I pulled out all the implements of destruction needed to start one of them. I sat on the couch pouring over the pictures and patterns trying to decide.

Hubby asked what was going on. I explained and held up the two pictures for him to see.

He voted for Stella. He said it was my style top. So the decision was made. (Although I do wonder if he realized both are going to get made eventually.)

A Sleeve is Born
I was very excited to get gauge with the US4 called for in the pattern.

Usually I like to knit both sleeves at the same time. I'm not this time. Despite having a 32 inch circular, I didn't think both sleeves would fit on it comfortable.

Working them singularly is probably just as well, since it took me three tries to get the first two rows right.

Yeah, I know!

It was all because I didn't realize that the "set up row" was a wrong side row.
Stella sleeve close
I kept starting row 2 and couldn't figure out why the pattern wasn't working out. The purl stitches weren't stacking up. I must have picked it out three times. Even after I figured out it was a wrong side row, I still couldn't get the pattern to work. I even debated whether there was a mistake in the pattern because I figured out how to force it to work if I changed the order I worked the stitches.

I finally gave up and went to bed. Of course, as always happens, I was laying there trying to fall asleep and the light bulb finally went on.

Row 1 is a wrong side row. I have to read the chart from left to right. NOT right to left, as I was doing. Of course it wasn't working.

I guess I've just been knitting so many socks, worked in the round so the charts always read from the right, that I forgot flat charts switch sides.

Well, I didn't hop out of bed to go knit. But things went much more smoothly the next time I sat down with it!

I'm just about done the cap shaping. It's very exciting how quickly it's whipping along. I guess when you go from 7 sts/inch on US1 or US2 to 5 sts/inch on US4 it is going to seem like fast.

The yarn is nice. It's a little slippery on the Addi Turbos. I do wonder it part of that is I've been working with either wool or cotton on wood needles for the past few months. But other than that, things are fine.

1 comment:

  1. A very nice sweater, Ann! I love how you've been meaning to knit it for so long. Good for you! You picked a beautiful blue yarn too. :)