Monday, February 9, 2009

Christmas Knitting is Done!

No, you aren't imagining things. I just announced in February that my Christmas knitting is done. Unfortunately, this is last Christmas's knitting, not Christmas 2009. Is it better or worse that I started the project on December 29, 2008? Both the recipient and I are very happy that it is done.

Without further ado, here is what I have un-poetically titled Alpaca Raglan.

This is a pattern that I cobbled together using EZ's percentage system (that would be Elizabeth Zimmerman) with turned hems and a cable in the raglan. All in all, it was a pretty straightforward knit. The only unusual part came when I did the neckline.

Normally you wouldn't think of a crew neck shape as being anything difficult but I did have to stop and think a bit when it came time to do the shaping. Since I am not the biggest fan of picking up stitches along a neckline, no matter how nice the added structural support can be, I decided to use short-row shaping. The basic template that I use for a raglan calls for starting the neck decreases when there are 20 stitches left on the sleeves between the raglan seams. You just decrease 10 stitches on the neck side of the front raglan seams and eat up those stitches as the sleeve disappears into the seam.

The tough part comes when you have a cable splitting the raglan seam, especially where your round starts at the seam on the back side of the left-hand sleeve. If you start the new round at that marker, you'll work across the sleeve, across the 10 stitches that will be decreased away on the left front neck edge, and then turn. This means that you will have worked an extra row across two out of your four raglan cables.

I decided to go with (at least in my mind) the lesser of two evils: break the yarn at the round marker and re-join it at the neck edge. For the duration of the neck shaping, this would essentially move my beginning-of-the-round marker to the front of the sweater, allowing me to work the same number of rows on all the cables.

Speaking of cables, I'm kind of tickled by how the cable pattern worked out. I couldn't decide whether I liked the 6-stitch cable worked over a 4-row repeat or over 6 rows. Since I didn't want to try both and then frog the one that I didn't like (to be honest, it never occurred to me to swatch this one), I decided to alternate a 4-row cable with a 6-row one. I think the final product is delightful and just a touch quirky - perfect for the recipient.

Now I just have to give the sweater a bath and stick it in the mail.