Shawl Challenge – Percy Shawl WIP

Percy Shawl WIP

Two weeks ago a shawl challenge with my friend Laura got me some gorgeous yarn to play with the very next day! She picked the Percy Shawl pattern from her Pinterest board. I was a little slow getting started because honestly I forgot how to knit with lace yarn.  I may not have been quite ready for this yet.  Here’s what I’ve remembered so far:

  1. Lace looks like a tangled mess until you block it.
  2. Lace is so much easier with really sharp needle points.  I might be shopping for that soon.
  3. Safety lines are your friends.  I need to look that up again too.

Wish me luck everyone.  We all know that now that I’ve started I’m way too stubborn to stop!

Nice Easy Project

 

Hue Afghan Yarn

Onto my first (planned) step to regain knitting ground; a nice easy project. I picked the decor kit for Knit Pick’s Hue Shift Afghan. While it’s a big project it’s also repetitive enough to get me started.  Some research into Ravelry turned up the Hopje’s décor color modifications where the quarter squares colors are flipped.  Like many others I like this version better than the original.

While I waited for my yarn I practiced with some Brava Sport I had lying around; I really need to inventory all this yarn I’ve bought over the last few years!  I must have been feeling patriotic based on how my practice turned out.

Hue Shift Afghan Gauge

My gauge is not the perfect 5” squares so I’m a little worried about running out of yarn as  other people on Ravelry reported. Okay, I’m almost certain I will but I’ll take that into account if I ever do a second afghan.  Two notes for myself based off my practice squares: first the cast on gauge is critical for non-wonky squares and borders, second I’m looking at about a 150 hour project.  This will be a huge accomplishment towards getting back on track and I’ll have an awesome blanket at the end!

My First Sweater – Waist Shaping

Waist ProgressA couple of things happened this past weekend with my sweater.  My mom let me take her old dress form, I started the neck shaping, and I was able to try on the sweater for the first time.

There is good news and bad news.  The good news is that the waist shaping itself fits quite well.  The bad news is that I was not careful enough with my gauge once the neck pattern started.  If I wear it so my waist hits the correct spot my neckline starts indecently low.  Like before my bust even starts indecently low.  If I wear it up higher so the neck fits then the waist shaping is all wrong.

I really only have two choices now.  Rip back to before the neckline starts or rip all the way back to where the  neck pattern cabling starts.  Either way I’m losing hours of work; it just depends on what I can make work.  What I should have done was work with the center two knit columns for a few extra inches while working the waist shaping before starting the neck pattern.  When the neckline was ready to start then I would have been in the correct position.  Sadly I didn’t do this.

When I was recalculating the pattern for the waist decreases I was very careful.  I calculated the number of rows to get the inches I wanted and the number of stitches to decrease across those inches.  The decreases I’m quite happy with.  The tricky part was increasing after the waist was completed.  In this pattern the waist shaping increases and the neck cable pattern start together.  I was paying so much attention trying to get the neck cables right that I didn’t realize that I hadn’t recalculated the row gauge for this section.

Waist Shaping

Besides my row gauge mess up I also tried something a little different with the increases.  If you look carefully the decreases at the bottom were done on the stitches just before the first knit rib column.  This distorted the column and pulled the stitches a bit on those rows.

When I got to the increases I wanted to try to avoid distorting the ribbing columns so I made the increases two stitches over from the first knit column.  I think next time I will just let that knit column get distorted because those increases stand out a little too much for me.

The decreases are also much more gradual than the increases.  I have a high waist so having the increases closer together did work out fitting quite well.  Unfortunately it caused those increases to stand out even more.

Overall the waist shaping went okay.  Next time I’ll look for increases that blend in better.  I followed the pattern but I think a different increase would look nicer.

Next post will be on that neckline and of course how I managed to fix it =)

First Sweater Posts:

1. My First Sweater – Measurements
2. My First Sweater – Yarn
3. My First Sweater – Gauge
4. My First Sweater – Casting On
5. My First Sweater – Waist Shaping

My First Sweater – Casting On

As I mentioned on my gauge post I was lucky enough that my altered gauge worked well for a few sizes up. I cast on with 192 stitches to follow the 46″ finished bust size. It will not be nearly that big but I won’t have to recalculate any stitch counts until the waist shaping by following this size.  I managed to use over a full ball of yarn before any waist shaping started.

However, I did mess up somehow  when I switched from the bottom rib pattern to the main body pattern.The main body of the sweater has ribbing up both sides. When I switched and to the main body the side ribbing and bottom ribbing did not match up.  It’s probably my fault but it was quite annoying.  I ended up having to redo the first main body round.  Now they match up nicely as you can see above.

The other area that I’m really sad about is when I had to switch to that second ball of yarn.  I thought the side ribbing would be the perfect place to hide the ends but it turned out to be the worst section! As you can see in the red box the woven in ends look horrible.  It completely distorts the ribbing and was not at all a good choice.

The next modification I did was to shorten the sweater.  You’re supposed to be 10-12″ from the cast on edge before starting the waist shaping.  I’ve decided to stop at 6″.  If the schematic is correct the sweater will now be the length I’ve found I prefer in all my sweaters.  It’s taken me 9 hours to finish up to this point.

As a side note, I got my new camera while working on this section.  The sweater pic up top was one of the first pics I took with new camera and it’s the one that is true to color.  The pic on the side showing the siding was taken with my point and shoot and it is not at all true to color.  Even with heavy photo editing this was as close as I could get.

Next post I’ll be working on the waist shaping!

First Sweater Posts:

1. My First Sweater – Measurements
2. My First Sweater – Yarn
3. My First Sweater – Gauge
4. My First Sweater – Casting On
5. My First Sweater – Waist Shaping

My First Sweater – Gauge

Last week I mentioned how I made swatches for all my yarn possibilities for my first sweater.  I used those swatches as gauge swatches.  The gauge itself wasn’t important when picking out the yarn but it sure was before I could cast on for the sweater.

As I made each swatch I didn’t just measure gauge from there.  Nope.  I knit it, hung it up in the closet for a few days, washed it a few times, and then measured.  Why do all this?  Because you need to measure your swatch after it’s had the same treatment as your finished project will have.  Otherwise the gauge swatch will lie.  Sometimes it still lies anyway.  For example, the sweater is knit in the round but I have my swatches flat.  I know I’m going to have to be careful with that as it will change my gauge.

After all of this I decided that I wanted a tighter gauge then the pattern calls for.  The looser gauge wasn’t dense enough for me.  I don’t want anyone seeing through this sweater.

Now the tricky part is using this pattern with a different gauge.  It’s fairly simple but also very tedious.  The entire pattern needs to be converted into inches and then converted back to stitches using my gauge.  I lucked out a bit because after doing this math I found that I was close enough to use the stitch count for a few sizes larger to cast on.  It also meant no extra math to make sure the new stitch count would work in pattern.

This should get me through the first few inches at the bottom and once I’m ready for the next instructions I’ll have to do that math again to see if I can still follow the larger size or if I need to make adjustments.  I have to remember that I may need to be altering the pattern to fit my measurements as well as my gauge.  Luckily my math skills are up to this even if my patience may be a bit more of a challenge!

First Sweater Posts:

1. My First Sweater – Measurements
2. My First Sweater – Yarn
3. My First Sweater – Gauge
4. My First Sweater – Casting On
5. My First Sweater – Waist Shaping