Monday, January 09, 2017

Azel Pullover

This pattern, the Azel Pullover, was all over the internet this past fall. Everyone wanted one. I didn't solicit orders, but I figured if any came my way I'd look into it. Perhaps it could be done on the bulky knitting machine. Then one day, my dad sent me an ad in his local Facebook buy and sell group from a woman looking to get two made--for her daughter and granddaughter. It's a little over two hours to my parents' but I figured I'm there often, or I meet them halfway, that certainly something would work out. I looked into the pattern, looked up the yarn and gave a quote. Well, she actually wanted two lady's small/medium and two girls' 5/7! Okay, no problem. I went to get the suggested yarn. It didn't come in both colours she wanted. So I substituted another one, and had to go all over the store to different displays to get enough in the dyelots for the larger size.

I got home and started swatching on the SK155. I couldn't seem to wrap my head around it, but it appeared that to hand manipulate the ribbing to make it look like the pattern, I'd have to manipulate the ribber stitches. Nope. Not going to happen. I could do it all on the mainbed and convert the stitches every other row, including the edge stitch. Blech. I swatched and swatched and my machine was not happy with this yarn (Loops & Threads "Charisma"). Eventually, I settled on T9* and every other needle. It was still not as loose as the gauge in the pattern. However, I really felt that if it were looser, the fabric would be too loose to do anything for keeping you warm, and would likely stretch a lot (which might be why just about everyone thinks the pattern length for the 5/7 size is too short--the poncho will stretch quite a bit once worn!). So, I had to do some recalculating. And I decided to do just the stockinette portion on the machine, and the bottom and side bands I would handknit. And hey--I could even add in some reflective yarn since I had some that matched!

But I couldn't find the turquoise reflective yarn! I knew I had some. So I went to the store that sells it and they didn't have any in that colour. Went to Wal-mart, who used to sell it, and the whole yarn row was a total mess. Nothing there. Searched online, found a place...turquoise not in stock. Found another place with it in stock so I ordered on line. My timeline was getting pushed back further and further.

The SK155 was not a happy machine. According to my calculations, due to needing every other needle, I couldn't fit the 5/7 size on the mainbed. I would have to do U shaped knitting, which I'd never actually done (I'd done circular, which is a little labour intensive on the SK155). I muddled through the first poncho, not happy with my machine, the yarn (splits!), me, whatever. It should have been an easy knit, but it wasn't.

I don't remember if I did the second size 5/7 or an adult one next, but it went smoothly. When I did the second 5/7, I realized that I could actually get it all on the mainbed, though I would be short two stitches, I think. I didn't care at this point.
The reflective stripes in the band are barely noticeable until light hits it

For the bands, I cast on for the front, forgot the button holes on nearly every one, did two rows plain, two rows reflective (and repeat) then after doing the band, I grafted it to the stockinette piece, leaving the side bands free. I thought I would attach as I go, but it didn't seem to work out. Along the sides, I used the reflective yarn on the edge stitch only. Then I knitted the sides, sewing them on as I went every few inches, then picked up the stitches on the end of the stockinette, and knit the bottom band. For the first 5/7 size, and I think the first adult one, I did the really nice tubular grafting cast off. I don't think it made much difference--stretchiness isn't important there, so I didn't bother for the others.

I shaped the necklines on the front parts. The pattern has it as just a straight slit across the shoulders. This makes the cowl sit very high, and combined with the long length of it, it seems a little overwhelming (many knitters in various groups complained about the cowl being too high).

Some how, the adult grey one ended up a bit wider than the teal. I must of forgotten to take off the number of stitches for the side bands. I don't know. I was not enjoying these anymore.
You can barely see the reflective yarn!

Button shopping. First up, I forgot to take the pattern with me, so I miscalculated how many buttons I needed. I added up 28, but really, I needed 32. And there were not enough buttons for both teal ponchos  to match. When I went to sew them on, I realized my counting error. Luckily, because of the buttons being 3 per card, I went from having a surplus to being short only two. For the two adult sized ponchos, I used one of my metal tags as a button. It doesn't totally work, but it was the best I could do.
The reflective yarn along the edge looks like little beads when the light hits it!

I was then running out of time. I had other orders I was also trying to get finished, and life kept throwing things at me--my stove died, so I lost a few evenings going stove shopping. Sick kid. Things like that. Weekends were busier than expected, I wasn't done them when I met up with my parents halfway, then we had a family Christmas party but I still wasn't done them and we ended up not going because of weather. She wanted to meet the next day, half way between us. I wasn't done! I explained that I wasn't from there (I thought she knew that) and that due to after school activities I couldn't do Monday. So, we met up on Wednesday before Christmas. She's actually from almost 30min past my parents' place, so it was nice she was flexible on meeting me.

After I had started knitting, I went back for more yarn, and I think I did end up needing it for the cowls (couldn't match all the dyelots again!). But I still ended up with a lot of the grey left. The two small ones were 424gr and 411gr each, and the big ones were 657gr and 751gr each, for a grand total of 2243gr. However, I had a lot of yarn left over so this certainly was not a stash buster! I ended up buying  26 balls of the grey and teal, and 5 of the reflective yarns!

Yarn In:    3100gr +8023gr= 11 123gr
Yarn Out: 2244gr +8752gr= 10 995gr
Balance:  128gr more BOUGHT than used
Costs:   $149.76 + $351.86= $501.62 /366 days = $1.37/day

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