September 04, 2007

CABIN FEVER

I kicked off the Labor Day holiday by buying myself a "Life is Good" T-shirt with this motif:

cabfevcrick.gif

I am woefully behind in my homework for the Nihon Vogue class, so I spent time over the weekend trying to get caught up, working specifically on Project #2, my top-down raglan sweater. Class meets again on September 8, and I have only, oh, about 27 more centimeters to knit on the body of this sweater . . . not to mention the knitting I'm supposed to be doing on Project #1 (vest) and Project #3 (round-neck sweater with set-in sleeves -- that's the one hasn't budged from the swatching stage to the actual knitting phase).

But if I am woefully behind, I have no one to blame but myself, so I am prepared to deal with it.

I also spent time this weekend working on my guilty pleasure knitting:

RoseStart.jpg

Yes, I started Autumn Rose. I knitted the ribbing weekend before last, actually. You'll recall that I got gauge for the Fair Isle portion of this sweater on a size US 4 needle. Well, call me a fussy knitter, but I did not want to knit ribbing on the same size of needle as the body of the sweater (as the pattern would have you do). So, after playing around with the gauge of the ribbing and needles in sizes US 2 and US 3, I decided that going down one needle size was sufficient to give me a nice-looking ribbing. I cast on using a US 3 and the stitch count for the size sweater that's one size larger than the size I'll be knitting. After I'd finished the ribbing, I had a neurotic moment where I worred that the circumference of the ribbing might be too small. So I put the stitches on a spare piece of yarn and tried it on -- and it fit just fine.

Then, on the plain round immediately after the ribbing, I switched up to a size US 4 needle, and decreased by the number of stitches that I needed to, to knit the size that I want to make. I switched to a larger needle, but I also switched from the Spindrift (jumper) weight to the DK weight for that plain, one-color round.

A note about Old Gold: I am so dedicated to my customers that I do not have any spare Old Gold skeins in Spindrift weight set aside for myself. I have only the skein that I used for swatching. This skein is about half gone, now, and I'm hoping more Old Gold in the Spindrift weight comes in before I have used up all that I have.

But also, the Autumn Rose sweater has some plain, one-color rounds in between the motifs. (These plain, one-color rounds are sometimes in the color Old Gold, and sometimes in the color Shetland Black.) I knew from my swatch that those rounds felt kind of . . . uhm, thin . . . because they are not stranded knitting. I know that some knitters might choose to strand even the plain rows, so that their sweaters will be uniformly double-stranded throughout. I love this idea in theory, but . . . you know how the strand carried in the left hand produces a stitch that's just a fraction larger than the stitch knitted by the strand carried in the right hand? While this is used to great advantage in two-color work, I am not satisfied with how it looks in single color knitting, because it makes the tension look sooo uneven.

One thing that had come up in Janine's class on Fair Isle knitting last May, though, was using a DK weight yarn with jumper weight, when in a pinch. (And think of all those Rowan patterns, by Kaffe Fassett or Louisa Harding, where you're knitting Fair Isle motifs using Felted Tweed and Wool Cotton and Kidsilk Haze held double. In those patterns, you're using together all kinds of yarns of different thicknesses.)

I had already planned to knit Autumn Rose's plain color rounds in the DK weight, just to give those rounds a little more heft and make the overall fabric of the sweater seem more consistent.

Given the circumstances with the Spindrift being backordered, all the more reason to experiment with this. (And if I don't like it, I can always rip it out, right?)

Newly listed on the Two Swans Yarns site:

Rowan Pure Wool Aran, and Rowan Pure Wool DK yarns. These are plain-colored (that is, not heathered), smooth yarns that are machine washable. They have a nicely dense feel to them.

Sometimes I remark how crazy things are in the yarn business. The pattern book for this yarn, the Pure Wool DK Collection, came out last spring, but the yarn only just became available.

Posted by Karen at September 4, 2007 12:55 PM
Comments

Ahhh - I know the getting behind in NH homework. And it was always my own fault. Gorgeous sidetrack project though!

Posted by: Kelly at September 5, 2007 08:16 AM

Great tip about using DK yarn for single color rows . . .

Posted by: Lola LB at September 5, 2007 09:19 AM

Your swatch experiences are fascinating. I love the idea of substituting the DK weight when using a single color. I've never bothered, but I might try it next time. Now, get cracking on your homework, woman! Although, what is Jean going to do to you if you fall behind? Your perfectionism is the best excuse, she should understand and sympathize with that!

Posted by: Anne at September 5, 2007 09:33 AM

Love the colors of the Autumn Rose sweater. I can't wait to see the progress.

Posted by: Kathleen at September 13, 2007 06:42 PM

those colours are lovely.... can I ask which colours you have used? It looks more red ( and nicer) than the kit photos, but is that the way they look on the computer or is it because you have changed them? I'm longing to make this jumper!

Posted by: Hannah at September 21, 2007 01:00 PM

Hannah, I'm using the same colors as were used in the pattern. The photograph was taken in natural lighting on a sunny day; consequently, everything looks a little washed out.

Posted by: Karen at September 25, 2007 03:29 PM

Thanks for sharing abouot Autumn Rose. I just received my book in the mail and am eager to also start it.

Best,
Lizbeth

Posted by: Lizbeth at September 25, 2007 04:02 PM