Thursday, October 10, 2013

Shalom Sweater

I have always wanted to knit a sweater that I could wear while pregnant.  I have been in love with the Shalom Cardigan for a long time (see the sidepage of the blog to download the free pattern, in addition there are some helpful tips 1 and tips 3).  Now, I wasn't expecting that I would be my most pregnant over the summer... but this can't be helped.  I will have SOMETHING that I knit for myself that I can wear during and after pregnancy.  (Even if I only wear it for photos while pregnant.)  I didn't start knitting until I was 7 months pregnant.

I also only have 5 balls of yarn, 550 yards of Full Circle Bulky Passion to start out with.  What was I thinking?  I'm not making the S/M size, but a custom large size.  I did find someone on Ravelry who had more yarn of the same dyelot.  (Since of course Full Circle was a Special Reserve KnitPicks yarn and the color is no longer available!)   I do have options if I run out of yarn, but I want to get as far as I can with the yarn that I have.  

I purchased the yarn and a darling alpaca button long before I was pregnant, but saved them to be part of a project to work on while I was waiting for the baby to arrive.  

Gauge Swatch 1 - Size 1.5 (6.5 mm) knitting needles.  9 rows/2", 13 sts/4" UNBLOCKED.  This is really great, because if I need the sweater to be bigger I have a bit of blockability.  Otherwise I can lightly block to just finish it off.

Notes from Construction
  • I plan to follow Moxymomma's modifications for sizing (size 38), not for the modified stitch pattern or 3 buttonholes.   I'm a little concerned that she used 650 yards of yarn when I only have 550... but I am using a slightly larger needle size and a different type of yarn.  
  •  Started with 77 stitches cast on (10 more sts than the original pattern)  
  • Only one button hole at row 6.  
  • Row 8 - Increase Round 1, 123 Sts at the end.   I followed the pattern until there were 9 sts left, there were 119 sts.  (M1, K1, M1, K2, M1, K1, M1) k5.  This gave me 123 sts.  
  • Row 20 - Increase Round 2, 151 sts.  I followed the pattern until there were 16 sts left,  (M1, K6, M1, K5, M1) K5.   Then I had 152 sts... and I would need an even # for the twisted rib.  I therefore decreased one stitch randomly in the middle of row 21.  
  • Ball 1 (100 g) completed at the end of row 26.  I used a felted join to connect the first and second balls of yarn.  The felted joins (shown below in the stockinette portion) are really hard to see and it saved me so much time from weaving in loose ends at the end of the project.
  • Row 32 - Increase Round 3, 193 sts at the end.   Moxymomma's mods had 195 sts at the end of this round.  I'm not concerned about hitting this number as long as it is an odd number.  K5, m1, K5, M1, (K3, M1, K4, M1) across until last 12 sts.  K2, M1, K3, M1, K2, M1, K5.  
  • Ball 2 (103 g) competed at the VERY beginning of row 45.  
  • Row 45 - k31, BO 37, k57, BO 37, k31  (119 sts)
  • Row 46 - K5, P 26, CO 10, P 57, CO 10, P26, K5 (139 sts)
  • At 7 months pregnant, I don't have much of a waist anymore, nor do I know exactly where this will be in my post pregnancy body.  I therefore decided to eliminate the waist shaping since if placed wrong it could look strange in a loose garment.  Therefore, my plan is to knit until I have the length I want.  
  • Ball 3 (101 g) completed about half way through row 68.  The stockinette portion from the armhole measures 4/4.25" long through row 67.  
  • Ball 4 (98 g) completed over half way through row 92.  This means ~24 rows were completed with ball 4.  I should have enough yarn to finish the cardigan as written!  The stockinette portion from the armhole measures just over 9.5" through row 91.
    A great thing about this pattern is that since it is top down and a cardigan, I can try it on as I go! This will help a LOT when it comes to the length.
  • 52 g remain after row 103.  There are 12 rows left.  By my calculations, I consume ~4 g/round, which should give just enough to finish the pattern as written.   My fingers are crossed a bit, but I'm feeling pretty confident.  
  • Row 105 - measures ~12.75" below the armhole.  I think that finishing the pattern as written will be a perfect length from trying it on.  I'm getting excited!  
  • Pattern completed on row 115 as written with 1 g of yarn remaining.  
  • Finishing was easy, two ends to weave in and one of them I used to secure my little alpaca button to the collar.    

Why are all the sweaters I make for myself purple?  Seriously, this is sweater #3 and I'm still knitting purple!  In my defense, the color looked like a more vibrant purple on my computer screen, so i thought it was going to be different than the eggplant sweater I made a year or so ago.    

I cannot believe that I have just under 2 yards of fiber remaining.  I find this totally incredible!  I could have reduced the length a few rows and still have been happy, but I am so ecstatic to not have tons of leftover yarn!

The sweater looks and fits really nicely without blocking, but I want to lightly block it so it has a more finished appearance.  The garter stitch hemline flips out a bit because of the stockinette right above it, and I think that just being wet and then drying flat will fix this.  I soaked the sweater in cool water for 30 min before patting it dry with a towel and then laying it flat to dry.  I wanted to be REALLY careful when doing this because the sweater does NOT need to be stretched out at all.  Just refined a bit.

There is a lot of room in the back of the sweater.  Waist shaping could have been nice, but I know that it is sticking out a bit more in the back because it cannot hang flat over the front of my belly.  The sweater could have been a tad bit smaller in the width to fit (I tried to block gently to not increase the size), but it is super cozy and I love it!  

35 weeks pregnant!

I know that this cardigan will get worn a lot after the baby comes, but now as the weather cooled off in the end of September I really appreciated having something warm that looked great to wear.