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PROGRESS - my crochet project log

Red Hybrid Pullover (aka cyborg fusion cranberry corset sweater)

Jan 2005crochet/knitwool< $20mediumyes

Way back in august, I put in a birthday knitpicks order. But it was late December before I started to get an inkling of what I wanted to do. And what I wanted to do was a knit/crochet hybrid. I started with the crochet, using star stitch instead of hdc to do a variation on the L-shape cup construction that shows up in a lot of skimpy little summer beach tops. (like this one I did last summer). I modified it a bit so that instead of peaking in triangles, it had a wide strap, by making it a t-shape instead of an L. This was a lot harder to figure out, and required quite a bit of scribbled diagrams, than it actually was to execute.

I varied the T a bit by decreasing at the "corner", thus causing the arm of the T to move up into more of a curve for the neckline. To decrease, I did what I call an "every-other-star" wherein the loops pulled up for the star stitch are spaced out into every other stitch instead of adjacent stitches. The main thorny issue was that star-stitch looks best from the front, which made it hard to do the mirroring. Had to break-off on the second one and re-tie on so that I wouldn't get two identical cups. The notes I have written are: 18ch, 9 star-stitch x 4 rows. 2 additional rows, around the edge. ch 25 for the arm of the "T". work 1 row normal, then bend at the corner via two every-other-stars, next row, just one every-other-star at the corner. plus another row.

To make the back, I temporarily tied the cups together at the front with yarn, chained between the outer corners until I had a good fit around my torso, then started working rows of star-stitch up towards the shoulders, decreasing a bit around the edges to form the armhole shaping. One I got to the top, I connected the shoulders, and voila.

It sat in that state for quite some time while the holidays came and went and I became obsessed with completing my gray sweater. But finally, its time came, and I proceeded with phase 2, which was to knit from the bust down. I decided to go with ribbing, because I thought that might give it a vaguely corset-like look. And for a change I didn't go in the round, I went back and forth. I was still thinking I might go cardigan with it at this point, so it made sense at the time. And now I'm glad I did, as I really think the central detailing pulls the thing together. Anyway, I rather quickly pounded out some 8 or 9 inches of 2x2 ribbing on size 7 needles, and then repeated the star-stitch motif for a bottom border.

Of course it was at this point that I couldn't help but notice the illustration of the differences between crochet and knit in action, as demonstrated by the freaky proportions of the bodice as it lies flat. The crochet part remains more or less the same size, whereas the ribbing portion pulls in on itself so much that it really doesn't look like that garment could possibly fit me in any sort of reasonable way. But it does.

Next step: the sleeves! After a few false starts on other projects, I was determined to use dpns for these sleeves. I will not be intimidated by a few little sticks! No matter how many pointy ends they try to gouge me with. So I followed some advice I'd recently read, and worked a couple of inches straight before connecting the piece into a round, and that did the trick. By the top of the sleeve, I was steaming right along and thinking about new dpns. The ones I was using I'd made a while back following advice on making dowel knitting needles and they were working great, but seemed a bit long for a tiny little sleeve at 8 inches each. So I made new 5 inch ones, which I adore. So cute! So easy to make sleeves with! Before I knew it, I had two sleeves.

I did a little finishing work around the edges, and then decided to sew the front closed since the cups were not attractive when left to flop around cardigan-style. I laced up the front with a tapestry needle threaded with the red yarn, and then I did a line of embroidery straight down the center over the sewing loops in chain stitch, still with the red yarn, so it would look more like the edges of the border.

I adore the color, at least in natural light, under florescents it's a little on the icky-dull-brown-red side, and the texture is all right, but I have to say I was disappointed in knitpick's Wool of the Andes. Maybe I just happened to get a bad batch, but every skein had at least a dozen -- and some more -- irregularities. There were a few knotted joins, a few outright severs (not joined) and a whole lot of patches where one, two or three of the 4 strands were severed. I can accept that it felt a bit on the cheap side after the Paton's classic wool I last used, because, well, it's pretty cheap. Even a break or two a skein I could reconcile myself to. But that many breaks in a 100 yards is a whole 'nother kettle of yarn fish. Especially since it took me a while to get the hang of the spit splice, so that I ended up using a whole lot of the semi-breaks as-is out of sheer frustration. There are a lot of little tufts that I've mostly managed to coax to the wrong side using a small crochet hook, but which I'm pretty sure will be back to haunt me. I had no problem with the other wool I got from knitpicks, so I'm not ready to swear off them. But I don't think I'll be purchasing anymore wool of the andes unless I am somehow reassured that this was just a fluke. Or just typical of wool in general, as most of my experience thus far is in acrylic.

I also get the sneaking suspicion that I really need to block this, but haven't a clue as to how go to about it with a cylindrical, assembled piece this heavy and large. I'm just imagining myself trying to stretch this sucker out with a few little 2 inch pins in a foam mattress and it's just not a pretty picture. Heh, heh, maybe I'll just wait till summer, get it soaking wet, put it on, then go outside for a few hours. Or days.

At anyrate, have I mentioned I'm coming to terms with my inner love of red? I don't like to play favorites -- so many pretty colors! so little time! -- but, damn. I love red!