Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I love bell sleeves...

I really do love them. But for some reason, I can't stop obsessing over the fact that these sleeves are going to be too belled.

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I'm really playing with fire with this hourglass sweater.

Firstly, I didn't actually swatch (I know, I know, don't hurt me). I realised that for my swatch to be at all accurate, I'd have to knit it in the round, and therefore I'd have to have enough stitches that I could get an accurate gauge on half the stitches. Since the sleeves are worked in the round anyway, I had a brilliant idea. The sleeves can be my swatch! That way, if I get gauge right away, I won't have wasted all that time knitting a swatch. Besides, I had already started the body of the sweater on 5mm needles and determined that it was way, way too big, so I had a good starting point with 4.5mm.

After knitting the up to the hem for the sleeves- Oh yes, sleeves. I knit them both at once, so that I can avoid obsessive row counting and still have sleeves the same length. Again, this seemed like a brilliant idea, but perhaps not so much when combined with the "sleeves as swatch" idea, since it's much harder to just scrap-and-start-over two sleeves, rather than one. Which is how I managed to get this far before questioning my progress.

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So as I was saying, I knit up to the hems on 4.5mm, and measured my gauge. It was about 16sts/inch, still a little big (I'm going for 19), but I was not concerned. I knit the hems up (provisional cast on, then k2tog the hem and sleeve stitches to avoid sewing later) then switched to my 4.25 needles for the rest of the sleeves. After several rows, I checked again. About 21 sts/inch. Well, that's actually smaller, but since it's already looking a little big, I'm okay with that. In fact, to prevent the extreme belled-ness of the sleeves from translating all the way up the arm, I've actually knit 2 extra decrease rows already. I'm pretty much trying to get the sleeves to the small sized measurements (from the medium which is what I cast on).

Goodness, if anyone is still following this, good for you. I'm totally lost.

The second thing that is vaguely concerning me is the colour difference. It's a double edged sword with Malabrigo. I love the variation, it's gorgeous, and subtle, and makes a much more interesting knit than a super consistent colour (at least for plain stockinette stitch). But doing both sleeves at once (hence two balls) makes it difficult to alternate balls to prevent pooling of a lighter or darker skein- since that would require four balls at once. I think I'd go mad(der). This has left me with two gorgeous sleeves of slightly different colours. I'm okay with this, I think.

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Of course, the fact that I'm posting this all is a sign that I have not completely resigned myself to continuing.

I may need to switch projects for a while, to keep myself from progressing on the hourglass if I am going to eventually frog it. I can't believe I just typed that.

1 comment:

Jo said...

No frogging! I bet it will be beautiful when you are done. I love Malabrigo and that is a beautiful colour.