I've started a new sweater.
It's St Brigid by Alice Starmore.
I'm using Rowan purelife in the shade Madder, which is a light terracotta-ish orange. It's lovely and soft, but has good cable definition, but it handles a bit like a cotton or cotton/wool mix yarn, which I found a bit weird at first. I bought it on sale at Black Sheep Wools and paid £26.something for 16 balls, which made me happy!
Although the pattern says that the small size is designed for a 32-34" bust, the finished measurements is 42" at the underarm, so I decided to go with that one as the next size up should end up being 45" which is a bit voluminous for me. I also did a quick swatch (yes, I know I should have made a bigger one and washed it before starting the sweater, but I'm impatient and it's designed as a bit of a Sloppy Joe type sweater, so, hey-ho!) and got tension on 3.75mm needles, which I thought would be the case as the tension's measured over double moss stitch and moss stitch always comes out a bit looser than stocking stitch. I also decided to knit the front and back in one piece, up to the underarm.
So, I cast on. Because of making it in the round and so that I could balance the dbl moss st, I cast on 4 sts fewer than the pattern said, which meant 286 sts. Two reasons for this. Firstly because, knitting in the round, there's no need for the stitch that would be used for seaming and secondly because for the small size, that meant that the dbl moss st would be knitted over 10 stitches at each side, which means that on rounds 1 and 2, it's (k2, p2)x5, k2 and on rounds 3 and 4, it's (p2, k2)x5, p2 so that panel is symmetrical and I like that!
After I'd done the second round and done a few stitches of the third, I realised that I'd twisted the stitches when I joined them into the round, so there were a few choice words uttered. My fault. I'd been lazy and not gone upstairs to get a longer cable for my KnitPros, but thought I'd get away with an 80cm. Obviously I was wrong as the stitches were a bit too bunched up to see properly. So, I took one tip from the 80cm and put it on the 100cm, using the KnitPro purple stop thingies on the other end of the cable, then I tinked back a whole round and a few stitches onto the 100cm cable. Now I was able to stretch the stitches out a bit more, I was able to see what I was doing, so joined them again ---- this time successfully. I carried on with the 100cm for 3 or 4 rounds before switching back to the 80cm. Once I started the cabling and the stitches were pulling in a bit, the 80cm was better for manoeuvering them around the cable than the 100cm (still with me?).
Anyhow, I'm happy with the yarn, especially the way it looks when cabled and I'm, erm, more or less happy with the pattern, although there are a couple of little things that are niggling me, but I'll cover those in my next post.
It's taking me about an hour to do four rounds as every other round involves cables. I'm hoping I'll be able to speed up a bit once I'm through the first couple of repeats. It's not a difficult pattern, but it is quite detailed and involved. Most of the time I'm able to do the cabling/travelling stitches without a cable needle, but there are a couple of instances where I'm using a 3.25mm dpn as it's easier. One modification I've made to the pattern is to mirror the braid cables either side of the central panel. It's an 8-row pattern, so the braids to the right of the central panel I've started at row 1, but for those on the left of the central panel I've started them on row 5. I've also made a spreadsheet and printed it out so that I can mark off each row of each pattern repeat as the double moss st is a 4-row repeat, the braids are an 8-row repeat and the twisty vine-type panels are a 22-row repeat (the chart is 24 rows, but the repeats are rows 3-24).
Anyway, here's a progress picture. I've done a grand total of 16 rounds - in two days. But, that's 4 hours of knitting, not including the casting on and the cocking-up and re-doing bit!
In other news, I'm halfway through the King Cole Galaxy scarf, but will take photos once it's finished (I did about 8" while watching Angels & Demons last night). Haven't picked up the socks I've got OTN except to move them from one bag to another and I've done about 2 rows of my Claudia scarf, so that might be something to do this evening (unless hubby gets home at a decent time and is in a chatty mood).
Before I go, I urge you to have a look at the new Brooklyn Tweed Fall11 pattern collection. I've been drooling since I saw the look-book (at the bottom of Jared's blog post) and have The Wanties for the Bedford sweater and Tinder cardigan/jacket. If only someone in the UK would stock and sell the BT Shelter yarn, although New Lanark aran might work nicely for Tinder, especially if I decide I want the fabric to be quite firm so it's more of a jacket than a cardigan.
Anyway, I've rattled on again (as usual) and I've a carpet that needs vaccuuming, as well as a smallish pile of ironing to get through before the girls get home from school in a couple of hours.
I'll keep you informed of how St Brigid is going and take another photo once there's a fair bit more to see!