Wednesday, August 19, 2015

FO: Long-Armed Sweater for a Young Dude of My Acquaintance

So after all that hand-wringing last week, I sat down and got the zipper installed into Rowan's sweater.  It was considerably less traumatic than I expected.  My last zipper/sweater experience was in 2008 in the much-lamented "Man Sweater."  It did not go nearly so smoothly back then.

Turns out, it really ain't no thing.

Pin early.  Pin often.

There are lots of great tutorials out there on how to install a zipper into hand-knits.  I read through this one (Chic Knits), this one (Knit Picks), and just for kicks this one (Techknitting -- this one involves knitting the zipper into the sweater).

And then I went home and just did it.    I pinned the zipper to one side, making sure it was smooth, and laying flat.  Then I pinned the other side, matching the stripes (not gonna lie, the stripes made it easier.)

Then I unzipped and rezipped it a coupla times, just to make sure it was all copacetic.

After that, I hand-sewed it in near the teeth, using a basic back-stitch.  I then used a whip-stitch to secure the zipper-tape down.

See those stitches?  No you can't, and that's the point.

On a sweater for me, I'd probably cover the tape with ribbon, but I didn't bother for this one.

I have no idea what he is doing here, but this is one of the least blurry shots I got of him.

So in summary, after nearly a year (and after knitting the body of the sweater twice -- remember that? -- Rowan's sweater is done and it fits.

And he likes it, so I don't need to make him eat it after all.

Anyway, over all I am very pleased with how it turned out.  In retrospect, I rather regret using Wool-Ease -- at the time my logic was that it's a) cheap and b) easy-care.  But Rowan would have gotten a nicer sweater if I'd gone a different route.  I hesitated to invest a lot into it because I really wasn't sure if this whole "wanting a sweater knit by my mom" thing was really going to last.  Oh me of little faith.

Next time he gets nicer yarn.  (At least, assuming this one doesn't end up covered in chocolate sauce and felted.  I've already given him the "bring it to me to launder or I will end you" speech.)

Project Notes

Pattern: Emilien by Ariane Caron-Lacoste
Yarn:  Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Denim and Natural Heather
Total Yardage:  1381 total yards.  632 in Denim, and 749 in Natural Heather
Needles:   US 7 (4.5 mm) and US 6 (4.0 mm)  I used several different lengths of circulars, and DPNs for the cuffs
Started:  September 28, 2014
Completed: August 11, 2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

In Which I May or May Not Have Won Stash Dash

So! The knitting on Rowan's sweater is totally finished.

In fact, in further good news, it turns out that the length of zipper I needed was both standard and in stock at the local Joann store. (This was a spot of random and happy happenstance, as I lengthened the ribbing at the bottom.  If I hadn't done that, I would have needed a non-standard zipper length.)  I was able to run in last night after work and grab exactly what I needed, no muss.

In potentially less good news: turns out I need to get that puppy installed by Friday.  I was under the impression, and I am not actually sure where I got this idea, that as long as the knitting was done I was good to go for Stash Dash.

Turns out maybe not so much.  Something was nagging at my to double check the rules (probably my innate fear of public humiliation) and I ran across this little gem from The Stash Dash Empress herself, Lala.

In the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln, "Well, dang."

If I can work some zipper magic by Friday, my Stash Dash total is 3274 m.  So I've either won... or I haven't.

I guess I'd better get my zipper groove on, eh?

Meanwhile Trillian and Carl's big dude sock are both still in progress and still growing.  More pictures next time.   For now just go back to last week's picture and add a couple of inches in your imagination.

Anybody know a good zipper installation tutorial?

Wednesday, August 05, 2015


It's still all sweater all the time here at chez woolly.  And while I recognize that weeks of updated shots of the same knit aren't any fun for you, dear readers, it's no picnic from where I'm sitting either.

Last Saturday saw the completion of Rowan's second sleeve.  When I did the first sleeve I popped a removable stitch-marker at every decrease (following the excellent example of Jasmin of the Knitmore Girls.)  The markers, in combination with a 22 row stripe, meant that the second sleeve went "Whoosh!" -- I didn't need to pull the tape measure (or the pattern) out at all, I just matched the second sleeve to the first, comparing markers and stripe row counts, et voila. Sleeve!

The dude approves.

Once I got him to try it on and we didn't have use our imaginations to add in the sleeves anymore, it was easy to see that a collar wasn't going work.   See how loose and low the front of the sweater is hanging? The collar would have just made the sweater look like it didn't fit.  (Also, I want you to know that it is taking every ounce of my maturity and will-power, not to mention that fact that we're talking about my kid, to keep me from making a "your mom" joke right here.  Loose and low.  I'm just.  I can't.)

So anyway, after some discussion we decided to add the hood after all. And by "discussion," please understand that I mean that I said, "Hey we should do the hood, I think a collar would look weird," and he just shrugged and blinked at me. 

Whatever.  I do what I want.

What the heck else was I going to do with leftover Wool-ease anyway?

Don't fret though, hood notwithstanding, I'm still on track to be done in time to count the yardage for Stash Dash on the 14th.   I'm about half done the hood, and then it's "Pick up approximately nine-billion stitches and K2P2 rib for three years or one inch...whichever comes first."

So no problem.  And man, it's a good thing I just read back through this before I published.  Do I look like the kind of knitter that would throw down a gauntlet like "no problem" in front of the Knitting Goddess when I'm on a deadline?  Nosirreebob.  I am cautiously optimistic.  At best.

In non-sweater related news, I've done some more work on Trillian and Carl's sock.  They both look exactly like they did before, only more so.  

I could not get the color and light right the day I took these pictures.

Okay, so I might have lied before.  I may have stepped out on the sweater just a little.

On Saturday I cast on my birthday Hitchhiker in some Wollmeise Twin that I had marinating in the stash.   

Gratuitous yarn pic. 

I'm not far into it yet, but I wanted to get it on the needles on August 1.   I turn 42 in a couple of weeks, and I can't think of a better way to mark the occasion.

Life, the Universe, and Everything

Friends reassure me that knitting the same pattern four times is not actually excessive.  Though in a few of their cases I think it may have been an "if this is wrong baby, I don't want to be right" kind of situation.