Wednesday, May 14, 2014

In Tandem: Making Progress on Two Sweaters

Lately, I have had the urge to make progress on both sweaters that I have been making since each of them was at a point where I needed to sit down and concentrate on the shaping. Kearsarge had been sitting in a corner patiently for a long time, needing some focus on the neckline shaping. I spent a bit of time with him and am pleased to now have the back and front completed.

This pattern is written so that you must knit a different pattern on the sleeves than on the body. I am a bit sad to be finished with the wonderful basketweave pattern (one of my favorite to knit because it is interesting yet simple and easy to get into a flow while knitting it). The sleeves are knitted in mistake rib patterning, so they will be great for carry-along knitting. I hope to be able to put this sweater to bed soon.

The sweater that I have been designing had also gotten to the point where the second front needed some concentration while shaping the neckline. Here are the two fronts and the back completed.

I am really liking the way this sweater is coming together, although, I am still a bit concerned about how narrow the two fronts look. I had this same fear when I knitted Lisa Lloyd's Ravensong, which is also a fitted sweater, but it turned out fine once blocked. I just keep telling myself to trust my blocked swatch since it shows how much the lace opens up, and it has the measurements upon which I am basing this design. Now, I am going to move on to making my calculations for the sleeves.

You might have noticed that both of the above sweaters are knitted in pieces. Some of you might be wondering why I don't knit them in the round, as knitting in the round has become so popular. I have knitted several sweater in the round over the years. I do enjoy that style of knitting at times for some of the following advantages it has over knitting flat:
  • You can try the sweater on as you go along if you knit it from the top down.
  • The knitting is continuous, so it is easy to get into a great flow.
  • Once the knitting is finished, you only have to sew in the ends -- no seaming!
For all of the above reasons, I usually knit a simple pullover in the round from the top down. One major disadvantage that I find with knitting something as large as an adult sweater in the round is that it gets heavy and cumbersome the bigger it gets. It also become difficult to carry around in a purse for knitting on the go. Lastly, it sometimes feels as if the knitting goes on forever since there aren't any clear stopping points when one moves onto to something new.

So given the advantages and keeping in mind the disadvantages of knitting sweaters in the round, I find that, overall, I enjoy knitting flat pieces a lot more. I also like the final results better. Some of the advantages of knitting flat pieces are the following:
  • The pieces are portable since they tend to be small or easy to roll up into a small piece for easy storage in a purse.
  • Once a piece is finished, you get to move onto something "new" since you are beginning a new piece with its own cast-on, shaping, etc. This makes it seem like the knitting goes by more quickly.
  • The seams seem to give the finished piece more stability, and they provide a great place to hide the yarn ends securely.
As for the seaming, it isn't my favorite part, I will admit. I like it for a brief amount of time when I first begin it, and it feels really cool to be putting together "puzzle pieces" in such an efficient manner. However, it loses its appeal fairly quickly for me, becoming something I just have to force myself to finish in several sittings. I can't do it all in one sitting since I am too slow for that, and I get back pains. However, once I reach the home stretch and finish, there is no better sense of accomplishment!

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