Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Knitting For Me: First FO!

Been plugging away at the Shetland Shorty, and it got done a couple of weeks ago.  And I've actually worn it!  I've been knitting for a several years now, but this is probably the very first successful garment I've knit for myself.  Just call me a late bloomer...

shetlandshortyIn any case, once I reestablished a feel for the pattern it was easy going.  There are tons of modifications--not because I'm one of those genius pattern tweakers or customizers, but just to work around the mistakes I made without having to frog any more than necessary!  Looking at the various versions and notes on Ravelry helped me make the biggest change, which was knitting only 12 repeats of the Birds Eye Lace pattern for the left and right fronts (instead of the 17 prescribed for the XS size).  I figured it out by trying it on, as best as possible, while knitting.

When I rejoined the yarn, I realized that I'd mixed up the front and back, I knit the neckline and front edging in reverse garter (purl every row).  Because of that, I knit one extra row before binding off so that the bind-off edge would show on the right side of the garment.  You'd think a body couldn't mess up on simply purling, but somewhere along that part I managed a dozen or so knit stitches, which went unnoticed until I was weaving in the ends.  Oh well.  Thank goodness I'm not that much of a perfectionist!  And besides, the flaw is on the wrong side; from the right side you can't really tell.  So I'm not showin' where it is!


What I will show you is how much yarn I had leftover.  What a relief, after having woried that I'd totally run out!  At the beginning, I tried to conserve by knitting only seven of the nine garter rows for the lower band and ties.  I don't know how much that would have helped, but in the end it really came down to knitting five less repeats on the left and right fronts. 

I love this shrug!  It fits comfortably, and both color and pattern add a cheerful pop and some texture to my mostly-darks-and plain wardrobe.  I also like that it's a bit longer on me, not tied right below the bust.  My younger brother, the art student and one of the most stylish people I know, was surprised to hear I'd knit it myself.  He said it looks like I bought it, and expensively.  Huzzah!

Here are the specs:

Pattern:  Shetland Shorty (Gundrun Johnston for Knitty, Summer 2008)

Yarn: Hand Maiden Sea Silk, Pumpkin

Needles: US3 Addi turbo circular, US4 aluminum straight

I took advantage of a day off and the morning light to take a couple of additional photos.  To tell you that Shetland Shorty is my most successful garment requires me to show you my past failures.  These were worn after they were completed, but due to dissatisfaction on various points, have, over time, been demoted to the back and bottom of the drawer.  I thought I'd post and talk about them now, before they get frogged.


First we have the Apricot Jacke from Rebecca 27, which was, incidentally, my very first sweater (finished in 2006).  It's a lovely sweater, but I think my first mistake was yarn choice.  GGH Samoa is 50% cotton and 50% microfiber, which is great for the machine washability, but does not have the "pullback" of wool, which is obvious especially at the elbows.  The other major flaw is the sagginess of the arms, which you can see pretty clearly in the photo.  I learned a lot, through this, about knowing my own measurements and knitting garments to fit me (what a concept).

I adore the pattern too much (and forked out too much money to get it) to go without this sweater, so it will be knit again, in either a wool or wool blend yarn, and fully taking into account the lessons I learned the first time around. 


Next up we have the Spring Fling cardigan, also finished in 2006.  I'd wanted an openwork cardigan to stave the blast of the A/C at the office, which had me bundled up like it was winter in high summer.  Like the Apricot Jacke, my initial mistake was yarn choice (hmm, is a pattern emerging here?).  I used Baruffa Aerobic, a 100% merino wool that ended up too warm, despite the open pattern.  I also had problems with width, which were exacerbated when the cardi was blocked and the lace really stretched out.  You can't really see it too clearly in the photo, but the arms are really baggy and bunchy, uncomfortably so.

Were I to knit this sweater again, I'd also add a proper band around the neckline and down the fronts (although it's not in the original pattern).  I did add one row of crochet, thinking it would stabilize the edge more, but, unfortunately, that didn't quite do the job.

I was so discouraged at those two failed sweaters that I haven't even attempted one for three years!  I don't know that you could call the Shetland Shorty a comparable project, but I put it in the same category because it's for me.  With the high from this success and the resolution made at the beginning of the year to knit for myself--not to mention a few more years of knitting experience to back me up--I am exited to begin to knit a sweater for myself again.  Here's to future successes!

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