Red Hybrid Pullover (aka cyborg fusion cranberry corset sweater)
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.
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.
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!