Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A great sort of dilemma to have

I'm having a bit of a problem with second sock syndrome. It's ok - I'm powering through it. I think the problem is that I've knit with this yarn and pattern a bit too often in recent months for this one to keep my interest. (Honestly, it's a reading project so it shouldn't take up too much of my interest and attention - just a little bit). I'm knitting another pair of Nancy Bush's Gentleman's Half Hose in Ringwood Pattern in Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine. They look just like this, except dark green:

I'll hit the heel tomorrow and I think that's time to bring sock #2 home and switch to another project since the document I'm reading needs a bit more wakefulness than this sock can provide. That's right: I'm knitting these at work.

The bar exam is over (yay!) and I'm back at work full-time, which means nearly full-time knitting given where I am in my current project - lots and lots of reading.

So what to do? I think it's time to bring back a sweater that I had started a few months ago and then dropped for various reasons. You may recall this

I was hoping to make something along the lines of a sweater that JCrew put out last fall - hip length with a wide ribbed edge and a shawl collar. This project also came along during my fascination with top-down sweater construction so I happily cast on and started off. Then frogged because I had messed up the increases at each side of the neck (I'm pretty sure this picture is the second incarnation). I like the concept but I have some issues with the execution here.

First, I'm not thrilled with the proportions. I don't really know how well the sleeves will fit - it seems like they'll be a bit big, just from looking at this. I followed the proportions suggested in Barbara Walker's book but the more I look at this, the less confident I am. And I don't want to knit an entire sweater only to find out that I was right.

Second, I don't like the angle of the neck increases. It just doesn't feel right and I'm having trouble seeing/estimating how different rates of increase will work. Really, this just goes to show that I'm not truly comfortable with top-down sweater design.

Third, I don't think the fishbone cables look nearly as good top-down as bottom-up. Compare this:

(apologies for the poor cell phone shot)

with this:

Doesn't the bottom-up version look better? Because of how the v-shaped knit stitches are oriented, the center of the cable is thicker and more prominent when worked from the top down, making the cable look less crisp and clean.

Finally, I think the gauge on the irish moss stitch should be looser. What I'm getting on 4s just doesn't have the sort of drape that I would like.

So I'm doing the only logical thing: ripping and restarting with numbers I trust. Bottom-up numbers are pretty straightforward for me now - I know how to make the proportions work. Plus, the beginning of this sweater will be perfect reading-knitting for work. It's all ribbing followed by huge swaths of irish moss stitch. No cables or raglan increases to take my concentration away from what I'm actually getting paid to do.

Mission accomplished. Now I just have to finish ripping and get this giant pile of ramen noodle-like yarn off my lap before the cat discovers it and decides to take a nap there. (And crunch some numbers. After I knit a gauge swatch.)

But what about the bar exam? The exam itself wasn't bad - two days of testing, which felt short compared to the much longer days of studying I'd been putting in beforehand. I'll find out the results in October. The important thing: I pulled out the spinning wheel for the first time in our new apartment and turned this

into this

124 yards of a pretty dense navajo-plied worsted weight (can you tell I was a bit stressed when I drafted?) spun from Grafton Fibers corriedale. The DH was great and quizzed me on bar exam subjects while I did a lot of the spinning so some of this project can even count as studying. Not bad in my book.


Jonah said...

Yes, those fishbone cables on the red sweater look amazing. Was there something else? I got distracted by the sweater!

Rachel said...

Congrats on being done with the exam Rue!! I know it must be agony to wait until October to hear the results, but I can just imagine how light you must feel now that it's all over!

Looks like you are back to the routine of things with work and always you are working on some great projects! If you have extra, shoot some of your mojo my way please! I haven't knit a stitch in weeks...and I'm not really sure why.

elizabeth said...

Lovely projects! And I'm know you're so happy to have the bar exam behind you! I agree that the cables look better bottom-up.