Monday, October 20, 2014

The Sweater

Some projects are epic because they're creative.  Or because they're pushing your boundaries.  Or because they're just SO darned adorable, like my pocket bunnies.  Sometimes a project becomes epic just because it's been finished LOL.

Last spring, I was browsing my FB newsfeed and someone posted a picture of a sweater with the request to find someone who could make it.
 The first few comments were typical "Find the pattern and I/my grandma/my sister can make it".  I KNEW there'd be no pattern available for it, just going by the photo that was posted.  So, I said I could probably do it.
Much googling revealed that it was made by Aeropostle.  So, no pattern would be available.  I also really felt that a handknitter would not be able to replicate the sweater.  

Doesn't it look cosy?  I spent some time finding a yarn that had both colours and wasn't "too heavy".  Now, "heavy" is obviously a relative term.  Most cozy, oversized sweaters seem to be made out of thicker yarns.  I chose a worsted and made up a swatch, and went to meet Kelly and get her measurements.  I was all set to get going, using the SK155 bulky machine.  Still a lot of hand manipulation, but faster than hand knitting, right?

Then Kelly emailed me, wondering if I had started....and would it be too much trouble to change to a lighter yarn?'re the client; I'm not going to knit a custom sweater only to have you say you don't like it!  I did a lot more research, trying to find an easy care yarn, no thicker than DK, in both colours, that was affordable and available.  That took a lot of time.  I finally suggested Snuggly DK by Sirdar, and luckily, Soper Creek Yarn in her town had it.  We met up in her town at the LYS and took a look.  Kelly chose a cream that was a little different, cooler, than what I imagined, but it grew on me.  They had only 7 balls of the cream (Rice Pudding), and lots of the chocolate, so I got three of it.  I really had no idea how much would be needed.  How do you estimate something like this?!  At least with the Snuggly DK I could use the Singer 327 with ribber.  Which  meant even more complicated swatching.

 I got started on swatching again.  I liked the reverse side, LOL, but Kelly liked the original front side.
Although I had spent a lot of time with swatching, and a tape measure and calculator and scrap paper, I wasn't happy with the back.  It was too long, too messy, and the brown stripes were too wide.
It took a lot of work to recalculate the design.  The gauges of the beige and the brown were different.  I was making custom adjustments to the Knit Leader pattern.  It took a lot of figuring out.  A lot.

Eventually, I got the math all worked out and re-knit the back.  It looked so much better!!  I was so much happier.  I sort of think I re-knit it a third time, but I can't quite remember LOL.
I kept having the typical machine knitting troubles.  I'll get into them in the next post, which will go into detail about how I actually did the design.
 I got skeptical that I would have enough yarn, particularly the cream.  Soper Creek didn't have anymore in that dyelot.  No one did.  I did buy a few balls in another dyelot but I wasn't happy.  They seemed stringy and I could see a colour difference. I thought I could do the ribbed band in it, but I really didn't want to.  In the end, I pretty much used every inch of the cream of the first dyelot.  I would have like the ribbed band to be a smidge wider, but....and then a few days after getting it to her, I found a part ball which had gotten lost, looks very much like the original...ugh.
 Very hard to get a nice sweater picture.  I tried using the self-timer, and modelling it myself...but I'm a knitter, not a model.
This dragon fly liked it though!

Before I delivered it Kelly, I had to stop at Apple Melon Designs to pick up some samples of tag possibilities.  I've searched for fabric tags, and haven't found any local, then another crocheter posted that she was working with another metal tag maker, and I thought--I know someone who does that!  I love being able to support someone local!  Sorry the picture is not the best, I couldn't get a picture in the dark, I sewed it on while sitting in the truck under a streetlamp :)
Did you know if you press backspace while doing the spellcheck, Blogger closes your post and goes to your blog and your heart will stop for a minute?  :)

Yarn In:   7547gr
Yarn Out: 533gr + 3161gr = 3694gr
Balance: 3853gr more brought IN than out
Cost:  $394.48/287 days = $1.37/day

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