Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Placed Cable Aran Sweater Review

Sunday I finished my Placed Cable Aran Sweater. I love it. I fits and it’s well constructed. It’s the first sweater I’ve finished that I am truly proud of.

Even though this is the closest to perfection I’ve come with a garment there are still a few areas I’d like to improve next time.

  1. While the pullover was a great time saver as it was knit in the round, making it fast social knitting, it also means there is a field of stockinette. A field of stockinette over my belly. I choose this pattern thinking that the detail on the chest and the cowl would draw your eye toward my face and detract from my belly. That is solid logic but it results in the afore mentioned block of solid color which makes bellies appear larger then they are. In my everyday life I do not wear pullovers for precisely that reason, I don’t want to look like a big ole square of color on the top. Conclusion: next time, follow the same logic of detail on the top but make it a cardigan so that the it breaks up the space. And if I want to knit in the round, steeks aren’t that scary.
  2. I knit the sleeves in the round and loved it. I was worried however that they wouldn’t be long enough. I lengthened them 2”. And then when I tried them on they weren’t hitting my shoulder joint so I lengthened them another 1”. I like super long sleeves so it wont be a problem. After sewing the sleeves to the body and blocking the sweater I saw that the shoulder seam falls about 2” below my shoulder joint. Honestly the sleeves are about 2” too long. Conclusion: Look closely at the photos. If I had I would’ve realized it was a dropped shoulder design.
  3. Knitting sleeves in the round is great. I did all my increases along 2 ‘center stitches’ which makes a clean seam and a spot where the piece will naturally fold. Great. When sewing the sleeves to the body I made a point of pinning them along the armhole opening, which was a circle because I knit the sweater in the round as well. I pinned at 4 points, which included aligning the faux seam of the sleeve with the faux side seam of the body. I didn’t begin sewing at the top, but about 2” lower on one side and then moving along over the top. Mattress stitch is the bomb! And the seams came out perfectly. On the first sleeve I did end up shifting as a went along. Although I didn’t have any bunching. I did end up with faux seam shifted forward on the first sleeve. On the second sleeve I watched very closely and made sure that the seam used up all the fabric between the pins on both pieces. Conclusion: pin seams, and then double check to make sure things are properly aligned then follow the spacing of the pins. Sort of like carpenters that measure twice and cut once.
  4. The purl stitches on the cables are looser than I would like. This is the first time I purposely purled the correct way (normally I twist my stitches, wrapping the yarn under and over instead of over and under). On the stockinette portions the stitches look fine, the tension is good. But for some reason the stitches around the cables that were purled look sloppy. Loose. Conclusion: pay extra attention to tension in cables, don’t be blinded by the excitement of twisting stitches and forget to pull tight on the yarn.
  5. When I pulled on the sweater for work yesterday I realized that I do love this color. It’s a wonderful warm orange. But when did I make the decision that I needed an orange sweater? I don’t own any orange sweaters. In fact I only own, brown, blue, black, grey, white, and purple. Conclusion: Next time I purchase a sweaters worth of yarn, double check that it’s a color I currently have in my clothing closet. And not a T-shirt color.

So there you have the things I would change. And now the things I like… the drape of the Ultra Alpaca is great. It’s wonderful to work with and super warm to wear. Knitting with size 8s is like speed walking, just like regular knitting only faster. Lengthening the body by 2” and knitting the right bust size (my bra measurement plus 7”) makes a fit I like. It hits me right at the hips and it’s loose enough that I’m comfortable in it. Really long 4x4 rib cuffs rock. Big floppy cowl is cozy. And Orange looks awesome with dark blue jeans.

I really like having an new sweater. Why don’t I knit more sweaters? I looked back at the last two years worth of projects in Ravelry. In 2009 I knit 2 sweaters. In 2008 I knit 3. I’ve been crazy knitting on this sweater so I could finish and wear it. And before that it was a couple of lace shawls. Both mean I’ve done a lot less sock knitting than usual. And I’m not really in a rush to get back to them. So maybe I will jump right into another sweater right away. Maybe I could even knit 4 this year. I was fairly monogamous with this sweater and it took me 2 months to the day. So four in twelve months doesn’t seem too crazy. I’m sensing another goal…. And we all know how I love a good goal.

Photos to come.

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