Monday, July 02, 2012

Bill King Bolero

Ever had one of those weeks where you save money on something, and you're so happy, but then turn around and pay more than you should on something else?  It's been that sort of week.  Oh well.  I was at Michaels, and they had a new lot of that Starbella yarn so I picked up one ball in the turquoise colours so I could make that shawl I showed awhile ago.  How that affects my totals is at the bottom.

I've mentioned before that I'm not much of a "trend" knitter.  I've never knit a Clapotis, a Wingspan, a Koolhaus, or even a garter stitch dishcloth.  Early this spring, some knitters in a yahoo group were talking about a machine knit pattern and a picture was posted.  The pattern is "Bolero" by Bill King, and was in MKM Dec 2011 (MKM stands for Machine Knitting Monthly).  I decided to order the issue. 

NOTE--That issue sold out!  It was reprinted in April 2014 because there was such a demand!

There was lots of talk about the pattern, how to do it, how to adjust it, etc.  I was a little miffed that some of the basic info wasn't in the pattern.  There wasn't a good shot of the actual item.  The sizing?  "One size fits more, but can adjust with tension" etc.  There wasn't even a schematic.  The pattern called for 3ply yarn, but the other knitters had used 4ply.  Well, I'm not too familiar with 3 vs 4 ply yarns, although I do have some cones to compare.  I kept hesitating on starting--there was always something else more urgent.

Back on June 10 I held a big birthday party for my older brother.  It was so great to have nearly everyone together.  My just-turned-14 year old niece made herself right at home, leaving her clothes laying around after being in the hot tub.  My younger brother's girlfriend started chiding her and taking the clothes and putting them on.  She really liked a grey shrug that our niece had been wearing.  Bigger than a shrug, but not a cardi.  She asked me; jokingly but in a serious tone, if I could make her one, but "oh, I wouldn't need to since she had found this nice one just laying on the chair"...
 Of course, it took me about two days to realize that I HAD to knit her something.  In grey.  A little cardi for in her air conditioned office.  I thought instantly of this pattern, and dug in my yarn.  I found a darling charcoal grey alpaca that looked like it would fit the gauge.  I didn't swatch.  Yes, Diana, this was also before that striped top in the Panama :)  I thought I might do 6 rows between each group of short rows, as per a suggestion in the pattern, and got to work.  My first ball ran out before I had completed the first wedge.  I had 4 balls.  I thought, okay, I'll go back to the 4 rows, that should mean one ball per wedge (more on "wedge" later) would be enough.  It took me until laying in bed that night to realize that 4 wedges is only HALF the sweater.  You make it in two halves and seam it up the back (and under arms).
So, back to the basement.  I dug around, I searched the 'net.  I looked at other patterns and had nearly convinced myself to make one on the LK150 that was rated intermediate/advanced, but I'd have to order yarn, and had almost picked out some from knitpicks.....then I shook my head, reminded myself that this was an unsolicited, non-occasion, gift from me because I happen to be able to do things like this :)  I had this cone of the grey yarn, used it for the Eileen Montgomery shawl in my scarf project.  I wondered how many ends of it (2/24) would I need to equal 3 ply. 
 Well, wouldn't you know, I found the answer on Diana Sullivan's site (through Google), and then I found a chart in the back of MKM that also gave me the answer. LOL.  It would take two ends.  I wound off two cones, and rigged up a system with a coffee can so one cone was fed through the lid and up through the middle of the other cone, then the two yarns were thread through the mast together.  This spun the yarns together really nicely.  I made a swatch.  Washed it, steamed it, etc.  But um....I didn't write the info down....and I want to knit one for myself....I think it was T6....
I made it just as the pattern says, but with 4 "turns".  Doing a 5th turn creates points on the sides.   Some people like it, some people don't.  I sewed it all up, gave it a wash and steam to tame the curl.  I'm not sure how well that worked; the front edges roll in, but not like fresh stockinette.  The sleeves are very loose and do roll some.
But the jacket is so light and airy!  180 grams!  I actually got out of bed and went downstairs since Rob was dropping it off in the morning and I had forgotten to weigh it.  I also forgot to re-measure the gauge.  I have since made one in brown, and half of one in white....with modifications :)

So, my SIL loved it, and wore it to work, where her co-workers loved it.  It's a very simple piece, perhaps not too figure flattering to thin gals, but as long as you don't make it too big, it's actually not bad (and don't wear it over schlumpy clothes!). 
Something to keep in mind, there are no seaming sts accounted for.  In a pale, or smooth yarn, you might notice this.
I'm also wondering if it can be done with wrapping the last st, so you don't get the holes.  I like them on the front, but not as much on the back.
I also have plans to bead it along the sleeve edges, front edges, and lower edge.
I also realize that this is a nearly square gauge, so the same needle set up might work well for making a mitered square blanket that actually turns out more square.  So many thoughts going through my head after this one...

Yarn Out:  11 181+ 180gr = 11 361gr
Yarn In:  13866gr + 100gr = 13 966gr
Balance:  2605gr more In than Out
Costs:  $6.09 + $300.21 = $306.30/189 days =  $1.62/day


Cindy/KS said...

I like that!

Carla Price said...

I'm really love'n this bolero!

Tracey said...

Is the pattern you used the same as this one?

TracyKM said...

Yes, that's the one, actual issue info is in the post too :). He has done a few similar patterns and I have another one to try too.