Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Frozen - A Sweater for Lucky

I love knitting for Lucky.  His hat from last year still fit wonderfully so I didn't end up making him new winter accessories but I really wanted him to have a new sweater.   I intended for it to be a sweater for Christmas, but was unable to finish it until early in 2016.  (Thankfully I finished right before his baby brother was born!) 

With a baby on the way, I don't have the chance to design and test a custom sweater.  Am I silly to think that I can plan and design matching colorwork vests for Lucky, Boogaloo and Keith for next year?  Maybe I should aim for the year after that...  I purchased 5 balls of City Tweed DK in Orca ages ago with the intent to make the pattern Frozen - a simple cabled sweater that isn't like anything you can find at Carters or baby Gap.  Wow, I think I bought the yarn in last year's Cyber Monday Sale, based on when I added the pattern to my Ravelry queue!

Since I wasn't sure how much yardage I would need, I ended up purchasing a 6th ball of yarn to hold in reserve.  The sweater is knit from the top down so if the dye lot is a little off it won't be as noticable as if the sweater were constructed from the bottom up.

On size 6 (4 mm) needles, I got 21 sts/4" and 13 rows/2" which is slightly large for the sweater.  However, this doesn't bother me.  When I cast on Lucky was just shy of 25 months old at 35.5" tall and 30 lbs.  His measurements fit the 2 YO sweater size so that is what I planned to follow.  Slightly larger gauge will make the sweater last a bit longer or even fit a button down shirt underneath.   In the end this project used 3.5 skeins of yarn (175 g, 431 yards).  Frequently I weigh yarn as I go, but for something like this that uses multiple balls of one color I just waited to weigh it until the end.

This yarn is so soft.  It is an unbelievable pleasure to knit with.  I don't think I've been so excited to just sit and feel the yarn slip through my fingers in a long time.  I've been doing so much sewing recently that it is nice to sit down with a project that has some more yardage than a newborn hat.

Notes from construction
  • Issue with the wraps from shoulder shaping.  (TL;DR I should have read the instructions completely before just repeating rounds 1 and 2 twice more.)  
    • R1 - this worked great the first time I did it when there was no stitch between markers, but the next time (row with chart round 3) I wasn't sure where to put the increase.  I knit right to the marker and then did the M1R.  
    • R2 - On the 4th chart round I got t o the end.  Now it says "P1, sl BOR..."but there are two stitches between the last marker and BOR.  Instead of P1 I am going to P to maker, then slip BOR.  But then this would have me W&T in the exact same stitch as before and that can't be right.   Next I decided to try to P1, P1, (Sl BOR )W&T.  There is nothing to K to BOR.  Just SL BOR.  I don't know if this is right, but it looks consistent with the other side.  
    • Wait, this says to work wrapped stitches as you meet them but I'm wrapping one stitch BEFORE the previous wrapped stitch each time.  WTF.  Oh, it looks like I wasn't supposed to follow R1 and R2 as written for the "2 more times" but go to the wrapped stitch and then wrap two stitches past it.  ugh.  Now I'll only have to frog 1 row and a few sts, so this isn't so bad.  If I had just read the instructions COMPLETELY then I wouldn't be in this predicament.  
  • After all that concern, I have 100 sts just like I was supposed to after the short rows are done.  
  • This is where I was when I realized that I did the ribbing wrong.  I read K2tbl as "K1-tbl" so I did a 2x1 ribbing on the neckband.  If I had done the ribbing as written, my cables would have lined up perfectly with the neckband.  I don't think anyone other than me will pick up on this detail, but I feel like I need to apologize to the designer for missing something so obvious.  (I'm really on a roll with this sweater, aren't I?)  I will need to make sure to do the 2x1 ribbing on the cuffs and bottom hem, too since I'm not going to start over at this point!  
  •  At the end of the body I still had a good chunk of ball 3 remaining.
  • A bunch of my notes here went missing.... super frustrating. For the bottom of the body I knit 7 rounds of ribbing and then bound off in pattern for the 8th round. I'll do the same on the sleeves. I went past 21 cm because with luck this sweater will fit Lucky for a while... Thankfully if notes were going to get lost they got lost on the body and not the sleeves! I went a little longer than 21 cm and ended on round 4 of the chart.
  • Sleeve 1 - starting with chart round 10. To decrease every 10 rounds, I will knit 9 rounds even and then do a decrease on the 10th. (This is fairly obvious but I'm making these notes so I can follow my margin scratching if I take a long break.)
  • When picking up the stitches, I purled the last one versus knitting. Also, I picked up some extra between the picked up stitches and where the held sleeve stitches started to avoid any holes.
  • Just after the 6th decrease round on the sleeve it measures about 20 cm at this point so I'm going to go and finish a round 6 of the cable chart and then wait to try it on Lucky to see how the length works. (It worked well)
  • start arm ribbing with K1-tbl.  
At one point I had to take a break from the project for the holidays and because I was trying to finish up some holiday gifts.  When I came back to work on the sweater after a few weeks I was nervous about how I could figure out where I was in the pattern.  Thankfully I keep detailed notes in the margin of the pattern page so I knew what section I was working on AND what rows of the chart I was on.  (I have a magnetic chart keeper that I love but when put away inside my coffee table trunk the magnets could have slipped so haing the notes was super helpful.)  

I have so many in progress photos.  It was such fun trying the sweater on Lucky.  He was very interested in the needles and yarn and thought that it was great fun to try it on.  The only trouble was keeping him still enough to get a sense of the fit!

When getting this post ready to publish I realized that some of my in progress photos never got imported.  Oh well, just imagine more cuteness of Lucky in various stages of an unfinished sweater.

Lucky really liked getting a chance to hold the yarn.

As soon as I finished the sweater I could not wait to try it on Lucky, but he was sleeping.  I knew I wanted to try it on him before attempting any blocking.  

As soon as Lucky woke up I slipped it on over his PJ's.  It fits!  (Of course it fits, I tested the lengths enough!)  I ended up not blocking the sweater because it fits really nicely without it.  I worried that blocking might make the cables that run down the sleeves wonky, so I think it is perfect as is.

Keeping Lucky still enough to get some pictures of the sleeve cables was a challenge, but he will pose for raisins!  He is so proud of his new sweater, and there is just enough yarn left over that I might be able to whip up something for his baby brother... stay tuned!