Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bill King Bolero #4

...and it probably won't be my last!

After the brown one for me, I wanted to experiment with improving the fit, particularly under the arms.  I wanted a bit more width across the chest (but not the back), and a bit more length in the center front.  The challenge is that the width and length are closely linked with this type of knitting (short rows).  Some sections make your rows be the garment width, and some sections make your rows be the garment length.  Confused yet?  LOL.  You can't just add/subtract stitches for the width, as that would affect the length...and once you're done the sleeve, there's no where to add/subtract stitches (although I was thinking one night.....)

 This is a 4 wedge jacket, however, it helps to think of it as 8 sections. 
The straight bit at the top with the red is the cast on.  I cast on 16 groups of stitches, and knit 8 rows without increasing, then I start increasing, one stitch, every other row. 

1)  Going clockwise from the sleeve, the portion between the sleeve and the first line of holes is the bit on your shoulder (draw, right now, a diagonal line on yourself from your armpit to your collarbone.  This wedge is the part above that line).  Stitches control underarm to shoulder seam length; rows control underarm to center front width.
2)  The next section, from those holes to 1/2 way along that straight edge on the lower right slant, is the part over your chest from that diagonal line you drew, to straight across from your armpit.  Stitches control underarm to center front width; rows control length from clavicle to halfway down front.
3)  The next section is the upper part of the lower front.  The diagonal line of holes pointing to about 5:00 go from your armpit to the front center corner.  Stitches control width, rows control length.
4)  The next section, from that second row of holes to almost straight down in the picture, is the side "seam" running straight down from your arm pit.  Stitches control length (from waist to hem); rows control width from centre front to side "seam".
5)  The rest of that lower straight edge, up to the holes, is the lower back, across to the center back seam  Stitches control length over the lower back; rows control the lower width.
6 and 7)  from those holes at about 7:00, to the next set of holes is the center back seam (you'll actually end it before getting right to the corner.  Stitches control width; rows control length
8) the last set of holes goes from the armpit, diagonally up the back to the base of the neck.  The section between the holes and the sleeve are the upper back shoulder.  Stitches control length from underarm to shoulder, rows control width from center back to upper arm.

Thankfully, what all this means, is that it actually IS easy to add width and length to the center front!  More on that later.

I know I've recommended steaming before seaming for this jacket, but of course, I couldn't wait.  Strangely though, this time I seamed one half of the sleeve to itself (not pictured).  It was an itty bitty little sleeve!  If you're having trouble imagining how this all goes together, take your cast on edge, and your cast off edge, and sew the sides that are next to each other, resulting in a deformed hexagon.  The cast on and off edges are the sleeve cuffs.  You could start/end with ribbing.  I'd be tempted though to start/end with waste yarn, then sew the seam, then do ribbing, then join it to the edge.  This way you'd get a matching ribbed cast on all across your sleeve.
 I got both sleeves seamed, and laid my two pieces out to visualize the rest.  Fold them so that the other edge of the cast on/off meet up.  Lay it out so you can see the shoulder seam at the top.
Mmmm.  Notice anything odd in my picture?  I had a naggling little thought as I was sewing up the sleeve of the second piece.  Look at the top diagonal lines.  I altered the one on the left, during wedge 1 and 2.  I altered the one on the right during wedge 1 and 2.  But where is the change?  Ohhhhh....although the pattern says you don't have to reverse any shaping to make the second side...that's only because there is NO shaping.  If you do any shaping, you need to change when you do it!  (Except for the sleeve increases/ do the increases during the first 70 rows, and the decreases during the last 66 rows.  Or, turn your row counter back to 000 before starting the four rows after putting the last group into work).

I took apart the seam, and re-knit the second half, straight from the work--I didn't re-wind the yarn.  This time I did the adjustment (more on that later) during the 7th and 8th wedges.

Here it, all seamed, and the front edge has a blocking wire through it (I already did the lower edge).  Because I made it wider, it extends past the center back seam.
 Same thing for the other front half.
 Ain't she pretty, all 102gr of her!

 Although the bottom edge will steam flat, the center front (in which rows are the length), will still roll inwards.  I'm seriously thinking of seaming the next one inside out, so the roll will show on the public side.   Rolling inwards makes the sweater look a little smaller than it is.  A short ribbed band could be picked up, I suppose, giving you the option of buttons.  But keep it as a single band, not a foldover band, to match the lightness of the sweater.
And now, for how I adjusted it!  At first, I played around with a swatch, getting the feel for it.  I knew I wanted less depth from the under arm to the shoulder---fewer rows making those first 5 or so holes going up from the underarm--but also more width---more rows making the holes near the collarbone/clavicle.  At first I thought I still needed the number of rows to add up to what it originally would be so the shoulder seam would sew right and the center front would still have the same length).  This affected how I did the math.  I did the first 4 groups with knitting only 2 rows for each group.  Then I did 10 groups with the regular 4 rows for each group, then I did 10 groups with 6 rows each (this makes the larger holes near my clavicle).  It's what you do (number of rows) in that first wedge that affects the width.  I ended up with more rows in this wedge then for the back, but I just eased them in as I seamed.  I think I could have done even more groups with only 2 rows (making it shorter from the underarm to the shoulder).  If you do more groups of 2 rows than groups of the 6 rows section, you can end up with the center front being even shorter than the original pattern.  You can compensate for this by making more groups of 6 rows at the lower front corner.  Do not also do the groups of 2 rows, or else the side will be too short.  You can do this over both sides of the row of holes, or just on the upper side, depending on how much extra length you want.

I hope this helps you play with the design some more.  All these mods were made to fit a large bust on a short person, but you could also do the same thing on the back pieces to allow for a rounded back.  Or on the bottom wedges on the front to allow for a belly.  My next idea is to not increase up to 24 groups on the sleeve, but once done the sleeve, cast the remainder on before starting the first wedge.  On the return side, I'd cast those off.  Then I'd have a little seam to sew under the arm, but a closer fitting sleeve.  You can also do some plain rows in between wedge 2 and 3 (and the corresponding back sections) to add length without width.  You'd also have a short seam at the sides.

Get going, and try your own custom fit Bill King Bolero!

Yarn In:  14 828gr
Yarn Out:  12 859 + 102gr = 12 961gr
Balance:  1867gr more In than Out
Costs:  $317.59/262 days = $1.21/day

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