Now that my knitting mojo has been back, I wanted to jump into a bigger than normal (for me at least) project. I have a lot of sweater-quantities of yarn in my stash and a lot of sweater patterns in my Ravelry queue, but I’ve never really knit many sweaters. I’ve always thought of myself as a slow knitter and sweater knitting has always felt like a big commitment to me. I’m a larger girl, and there is more commitment involved in finishing a 46″ sweater than a 36″ sweater. Plus, with the few sweaters I have knit, I don’t have the greatest track record of being happy with the fit in the end (there is a story there, but it is a story for another day). But, you never improve if you don’t keep trying, so I decided to participate in the National Knit a Sweater Month (November).
I decided to up the level of challenge for myself by choosing a DK weight yarn rather than worsted (my normal go-to yarn weight for most non-sock knitting). I attended Stitches East in Baltimore last November (very very convenient for me, since the convention center is diagonally across the street from where I was working at the time). Among my many yarn purchases was a full bag of Queensland Kathmandu DK, in a very autumn-y red-orange color.
Once I had decided on the yarn, I needed to choose a pattern. Patterns in the running included the Sidelines Top from Interweave and Francis Revisited (a free download), but in the end I decided on Margot from the Fall 2009 Knitty. I wanted something relatively simple, since I wanted to use this project as a lesson in making modifications to a pattern in order to get a perfect fit. The stockinette provides a great blank canvas for incorporating modifications and the garter stitch detailing adds a bit of interest to a simple sweater and looks good in a tweedy yarn.
I swatched at the end of October and was ready to start on November 1st.
(my swatch and my first day of progress - finishing the neckband)
Now I am about 40% done, and right on track to finish within the month. I’ve finished the raglan increases, divided off the sleeves, started the body, and added my first modification - short rows. “The girls” are on the larger side, and I had read in many places about adding short rows to the bust of a sweater to make up for the vertical distance needed to keep the front hem from being shorter than the back. I have done short rows many times when knitting the heel of a sock, but I wasn’t sure where to start in adding them to the front of a sweater. I found this great tutorial while doing a Google search, took my measurements and got going on my short rows. Once I finished I tried it on and I can definitely tell that it has improved the fit.
Since that point, I have finished a few more inches on the body, including starting my next modification - changing the waist decreases. I have a somewhat hourglass figure, which is something I try to emphasize, (yes, I have watched a lot of What Not to Wear in my past). The pattern as written only decreases 12 stitches for the waist, and I wanted a bit more of a decrease (and in part to save some yarn, since I used extra yarn to add the short rows). So I am doubling the number of decrease rows, from 3 rounds of decreases (done every 4th round) to 6 rounds of decreases, and starting them earlier in the pattern so that the waist still hits at the same point.
I don’t have an up-to-date photo, since it has been too cloudy to get good photos, but here is my progress through the short row section. The bit of a ridge you can see (caused by the cord holding the stitches on the back side of the sweater) is slightly above where I started the short rows.
It looks like it will be a rainy few days here, and it looks like the Steelers game will actually be televised here on Sunday (thank you Monday night Ravens game), so it will be a good weekend for knitting. I hope to have some new progress photos for you on Monday.