Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hubby's Sweater Update

HVSBS back After all that big talk in the blog post on Wendesay I came down with a bad head on Thursday. Spending most of the day hiding under the covers is not condusive to blogging, or many other activities come to think of it.

Then Friday I was feeling better but was busy catching up from Thursday.

Regardless, I'm here now.

Let's go with Hubby's Vertical Stripe Box Stitch Sweater as today's focus project.

How We Got To This Point
At the beginning of the fall Hubby declared he was ready for me to make him another sweater. This time he wanted vertical stripes because they are slimming.

I quailed inside because vertical stripes are a challenge to knit, but what Hubby wants Hubby gets.

Now his announcement may sound obnoxious, but it's not if you think about it. I don't bother wasting my time knitting for him until he has made one of these declarations. Well, except for socks. I knit those for him randomly and he only has after purchase approval rights on the yarn. If he doesn't like the yarn I keep it for myself. Socks are small and harmless so I feel safe being bold with them.

Hats, scarves, and sweaters require a larger investment of time and should be approached with caution.

When I first learned to knit I made Hubby a hat, which he promptly rejected for various valid reasons (unrelated to my skill, it was a perfectly fine hat). That was all I needed to lay low and wait for him to request things.

In fact the rejection of that first hat made me rather surprised when he requested a hat at the beginning of the winter. But he had input this time and has worn this new hat everytime he's gone skiing, which has been almost every day.

The problem with waiting for declarations is that once they are made communication breaks down. Although very fashionable, Hubby doesn't "speak yarn" and mostly knows what he likes when he sees it.

So vertical stripes was a good start. And I know he likes colorful (really, he wants something in tweed yarn, but I haven't found one I like that would be good for an entire sweater). The box stitch came about when he got into my stash and found some swatches.

I was going to knit the stripes bottom up using intarsia style twisting on the wrong side, but it didn't look very good. Instead I'm going sideways. I'm knitting in the normal direction, cutting the yarn after every 12 row stripe repeat but when I'm done I'll turn it on its side.

Things were progressing nicely until I had worked my way through all the stripes I thought I would need. Despite my calculations that 13 stripes would be 25" wide my piece kept measuring 23" wide. This was not going to be wide enough.

I kept checking the math and measuring the piece and the numbers didn't change. Finally I rechecked my gauge and sure enough I was getting about 7 rows per inch instead of the 6 rows per inch I got in my swatch. sigh.

I went ahead and knit the next color in the sequence and it seems to be the right width now. phew.

I started with the back, since it wouldn't have neck shaping or anything. Now I'm working on the front. I'll be able to measure the back piece and use it as a guide for which rows should include the neck shaping on the front. I'm doing a drop shoulder style so I don't have to worry about armhole shaping.

Of course I'm being clever, because I never learn. I started both pieces with a provisional cast on and left the other end of the back live. My plan is to graft the side seams using kitchener stitch. It seemed to me that trying to seam over the cast on and cast off edges would be too difficult. The shoulder seams are, of course, going to be sewn especially since they are the side of the work and there was no way to leave it live. I was also clever on the side edges and worked the first and last stitches in garter stitch as a selvedge.

I'm hoping this makes the shoulders easier to seam. On the bottom edge I'm going to use those stitches to pick up and knit down for the ribbing.

Far From Over
There was a while when the back seemed to be taking a long time to knit. Then suddenly it was done.

Hopefully the front won't take long.

But I don't anticipate finishing the sweater quickly, mainly because I'm stumped about the sleeves.

It would be easiest to just do them in horizontal stripes, but I don't know if that will clash with the vertical stripes of the body.

I've been mulling the sleeves over in my mind and can't decide how I would work them in vertical stripes and accomplish shaping. My current brilliant idea was be to start provisionally in the center and work out toward the end decreasing by shortening each row. Then go back and work the other end out.

That might be easier than trying to start at the side of the cuff, increase up to the center, and decrease down again.

Maybe when I get to the sleeves I'll knit a swatch and explain the stripe directions to Hubby.

He'll be the one wearing it, after all.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ann, about the sleeves...what about using solid color sleeves, with only one of the accent colors up the center of the sleeve? or no accent at all?

    Just a thought. I'm sure that whatever you come up with it will work out well. Blessings, Debbie