Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sweater Surgery Update

Back in October I posted on a sweater that I was updating.  I had knitted it in the early 90's while in graduate school.  It was very big on me and I wore it for years when I was into big, loose things.  Now I wear a more fitted style and hadn't worn the sweater in a couple of years.  See the October post to see how I trimmed it to fit me.

Once modified, the sweater ended up so short that it needed some length both in the body and in the sleeves.  I found some lovely heathered yarn appropriately named The Heathers by Cascade Yarns.  It fit in with the variegated Missoni yarn quite well.  I first knit just that yarn on the bottom in stockinette with a reverse stockinette gore.  But the solid color at the bottom looked added on and very dull compared with the rest of the sweater.  Back to the knit store to look for more yarn.  I found another heathered yarn that somewhat matched, but when I knitted it at the bottom with the green it looked horrible.  Finally, I remembered that I might just have a hank of an original brick red left from years ago.  After digging through my stash I found it.  It was probably left because I don't really like red and really never wear it.  Lucky for me, because I had used up all the other yarn I had left over from this sweater on another project!  This time I went back to my original sketch:

I started at the bottom and used the brick red and the heather green to make stripes, or rather I used the heather green to make stripes and the brick red was more of a gore.  Just the inverse of the sketch above.  Since I was knitting down and not up as in the original sweater, I had to carefully select the stitches that I added into so that it looked as though it was part of the original sweater.

Because I had only one hand of the brick red, and to ensure that I had enough of this yarn, I counted the number of stitches I would need for the bottom of the sweater, divided by the number of stripes that I wanted to use for the bottom and the sleeves, divided the total yardage of the hank by the number of stripes I would need total, the figured out how many yards per little ball of yarn using an intarsia method.  I then created all these little balls.  I found using the little butterfly method I was having too many tangles, so I then switched to using the little plastic yarn holders that look sort of like giant paper clips and are sold in yarn stores.  It worked much easier.  Luckily, I didn't have to buy them as my mom had given me hers years ago after she stopped knitting.  I then knitted these stripes and gores around the bottom until I ran out of brick red yarn, and then I bound off.  As you can see from the photo above I have not blocked the sweater yet since I am still in the process of knitting it.

Next, I started on the sleeves.  I am almost finished with the first sleeve.  At first I tried to knit it in the round, but then realized with intarsia, I could not make it work and the red yarn was getting carried over into the next gore.  So, then I had to start knitting it back and forth, but I continued using the double pointed needles.

It is finally starting to feel like spring here, so I won't finish this sweater in time to wear this year.  I have to finish the right sleeve, knit the left sleeve, figure out what kind of band I am going to put on the neck and front,  knit the band, find buttons, and finally line it.  So, I have a ways to go before it is finished.  So it goes when making your own clothes.  For me, it takes time and patience.  I have to admit I have not spent much time on this sweater lately.  I have been working on some of my tapestries.  If you are interested in seeing those you can look at my other blog:  Woven to a Random Rhyme, which is linked on the left under favorites.