Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I'm Back (Again)

My brother has asked for a sweater. Several times. First he wanted an Irish Fisherman's sweater in wool-- He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, so I ignored this request; after all, when would he wear it? I know, it's not the place of the knitter to question the desires of the requestee. But with all the work involved, not to mention the expense of the yarn, wouldn't you want to make something they can wear... and wear... and wear?
However, I finally suggested a cotton blend in an argyle cardigan. I found several pictures online, played with the color in Paint, and came up with something he loved. This morning, I couldn't find the image on my computer, so I did a web search and came up with the following:

This is the general style
These are the colors

Last summer, as we prepared to move to a different state, I ordered yarn from Knit Picks, CotLin in Moroccan Red, Black, and Swan, along with the book The New Knitter's Template by Laura Militzer Bryant and Barry Klein. I discovered that I loved both. 
The CotLin feels sort of rough at first due to the linen content, but it works up nicely with a great drape. The only problem I can see so far is that the red rubs off on the black and the white. I am hoping this will be fixed with washing and blocking, but will let you know. I am using a 24" circular size 3 Addi Turbo Lace needle, and my gauge is about 5.5 stitches to the inch.
The book is incredible! I have learned so much about construction, I feel I don't need a written out pattern anymore. Knitting the perfect sweater seems to be a matter of making a few decisions about length, armhole style, neck shape/depth, and ease. The rest is frosting-plain stockinette, cables or lace, color-work, whatever. Just determine your gauge and the chest circumference you want and begin!
For this sweater, I have decided to make a 48" size. My brother's chest is 44.5", and I want him to have some ease for wearing over a shirt, but I also want to keep it from being too slouchy. I have determined that the modified drop sleeve will look best, and the V-neck should hit him mid-chest, as shown above left.
I cast on 132 stitches for the back, and knit the entire piece in red. Needless to say, stockinette is the stitch pattern here. I finished the back in mid-October, which I considered pretty good, considering our move from a 3 bedroom house in Iowa to a 2 bedroom apartment in South Dakota took 2 trips with a 26' U-Haul truck, two 6' x 12' storage units in Iowa and one 12' x 26' storage unit in South Dakota. (We only recently began sorting and organizing the storage unit in South Dakota; someday I'll know where everything is!)
I have been pretty slow to work on the fronts, especially as I had some trouble deciding at first how to go about knitting the argyle pattern. Should I try to knit everything at once or add the diagonal lines in duplicate stitch after knitting? Well, I tried the everything, and ended up with a tangled mess, so I frogged and decided duplicate stitch was for me. 
I was side-tracked for a good portion of the winter into other crafts(!), but have now gotten back to working on this sweater. It will be done before I see my brother in July! Therefore, I thought I would blog my progress on a regular basis to keep myself on track. As I see it, my goals are: two weeks for each front piece, which puts me at the end of May; two weeks for the sleeves, middle of June; leaving two weeks for finishing/blocking. Wish me luck!

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