Olive 'Tempting' Variation
You know, I really thought I was going to be an exclusively crochet kind of girl. I mean, there's so much potential there, however undeveloped it may be as far as available patterns, inspired practitioners, etc. But I guess it was inevitable that rubbing shoulders everywhere as knit and crochet do, sooner or later I was going to stumble across a knit pattern that looked like something I might want to try. And yes it happened. I did however add my own crochet finishing, so I'm not a complete convert. Just so it's clear, I don't intend to abandon crochet. But I have to say, I enjoyed this project, and I am contemplating more knit projects in the future. I'll probably have one of each on-going, and switch off.
Anyway, the pattern in question is Knitty's 'Tempting' by Jenna Adorno. I took an instant dislike to the bow, but the part where it said "a great beginner's sweater" and where I actually understood the instructions after skimming through hooked me. Erm. Needled me. And I found a knitalong on craftster which proved chockfull of useful information and encouragement.
It so happened that I had bought a circular needle ages ago, because I had a michael's gift certificate and they looked cool. I don't quite remember the details, but I remember very quickly becoming incredibly frustrated with them and throwing them way in the back of my craft materials collection. Where they've sat for at least 3 or 4 years, with nary a use. Actually, my only other knit project larger than a swatch was a very basic scarf for the husband, 5-6ish years ago, so my knitting experience is pretty low. I did learn as a child, but I think I spent even less time on it then than I did on crochet.
As for yarn, well, there happened to be a certain seraphina shawl I'd made over half a year previously, without a single desire in the interim to wear it around the house, much less out, and so that was it, into the frogpond with it! I did not use the whole thing for this project; probably about 2/3 I would guess. I'd never got around to washing it, so I still don't know what happens if you try to frog something acrylic that's been washed before. I imagine it starts out kinked but can be coaxed into a new form reasonably well. This wasn't kinked at all, it was basically like working with fresh-from-the-skein yarn, except that I had this mellon-sized ball to lug around with me.
And so, without further ado, on October 23rd I got started, casting on 144 stitches for the small size. To begin with it was wretchedly slow going. As in, about 2 hours to produce my first inch. Yikes.
But I kept chipping away at it, and eventually realized that it really would be worth my while to figure out this whole continental thing, and by the end I was doing a pretty good clip. For me anyway, I'm sure compared to your average knitter it's still on the slow side.
The other thing that I wish I'd figured out sooner was that I could correct mistakes a row or two down without having to unravel the whole row, using a crochet hook. Why no one ever saw fit to mention that to me, I dunno! Because that was an amazing revelation. When you're barely managing an half inch an hour, the idea of frogging back an entire row and having to pick up all those stitches just to fix a few purls-that-should-have-been-knits you just noticed on the previous row is really, really not appealing. First real project, figured I had a bit of a get out of jail free card, so I left a *lot* of mistakes in. As I'm sure anyone glancing at the picture above will see. And hopefully not think too much the less of me for it. Sigh.
Anyway, when I was moving stitches around to be able to knit the yoke after having attached the sleeves, I dropped a stitch. And that's when I saw that the obvious way to fix that was to take a crochet hook and chain back up to the current level. And that's when I had my 'd'oh!' moment and realized I could very easily do that same thing to correct incorrect stitches. Of course, that's also right about the time I stopped making mistakes so frequently. Figures! Ah well, I'll just have to see if I can convince myself this is the yarn equivalent of all those intentionally raw-edged un hemmed trashy little tops that were at one point populating the mall. Yeah, my obvious mistakes are edgy and cool, youbetterbeleiveit! ::hopefully:: please?
The other thing I learned was that me and dpns do not currently mix. I have hopes of getting the hang of it eventually, but in the interest of not loosing momentum on this project, I worked the sleeves flat and then sewed them up before attaching them onto the main body. During which process I observed firsthand how different my ribbing worked in the round looks vs ribbing worked flat. That can't be good. I have in the meanwhile purchased a second circular needle in the same size so that next time I find myself in such a predicament, I can try the "magic circle" method of doing small-circumphrence in-the round knitting.
I had a bit of a crisis about 13 inches in when having happened to run a load of laundry and thus decided to throw my gauge swatch in it, I suddenly had grave doubts about whether I'd cast on a good number of stitches. In the wash, the swatch flattened out and got substantially larger, and that coupled with all the comments on the craftster knitalong that other peoples' were turning out too big made me very much fear that my version was going to be decidedly on the unflatteringly large side as well. Of course my personal knitting guru laughed uncontrollably at the notion of putting something handknit, albeit acrylic, in a wash/dry cycle at all, so I've since calmed down and decided that since it fits au naturale, chances are after a handwash, it'll still fit. Just gotta remember no washy-washy-whirl for this one. I will however be washing swatches *before* casting on in the future, and if the swatch still looks reasonable after its little swim, and if the label indicates machine washing is okay, I will be sending the finished products through too. I just don't have room or the patience to have a battalion of sweaters drying flat in my dark little apartment! laugh all you want, Ann ;-)
So, for the record, I used Bernat So Soft (discontinued) in Dark Olive, with size 7 circulars. I cast on 144 stitches for the body (as per instructions for the small size), 48 for each of the sleeves. I worked the body 15" up to the armpit, and the sleeves 6", and then once they were all joined together, I added another 2 inches of ribbing.
Instead of doing the ribbon-tie top in the pattern, I made a little crochet yoke to cinch the thing in. First I put a row of SCs with a size f hook, then I switched up to an H and did a 2-row pattern called "star stitch" by my old stitch encyclopedia (scroll down on this page for instructions that look about right, though I skipped an extra stitch in between the 2nd and 3rd pull-up-a-loop to get it to curve in a bit at the top.) and then followed that up by using a G hook to put a dc in every other stitch, followed by a row of hdcs between each dc. I repeated the DC/HDC along the edges of the sleeves.
So, in closing *big* learning experience here.