Sunday, February 26, 2006

Oh Say Can You See...

Jules, designed by Louisa Harding. Design available for download on Rowan website. Knitted in Elann Den-M-Knit, 16 balls, ecru color, using US 3, 4, & 5 needles.

Project Notes: This was my first adventure knitting with denim. My wondeful MIL picked out this sweater because she loved the heart cable blocks detail. This was definitely something I would never have knit on my own, but her reaction was great, and she does love the garment. Knitting with denim is a challenge since you have to knit all the pieces longer than necessary to account for the 15-20% shrinkage, but the knitting does look lovely once washed and shrunken. Any unevenness disappears, and it makes a soft, yet firm fabric. It also makes it difficult for a fitted or tailored look, hence the boxy shape of this drop-shoulder sweater -- again, something I never would have chosen for myself, but great for a sweatshirt-type sweater.

This shrinkage factor sort of stressed me out, but I just tried to use these tips, found on Polly's blog. So I knit the pieces and washed them prior to seaming, but wasn't sure what to do to add the neckline. I had to seam a shoulder before picking up the stitches for the neck. After contacting Polly and Kay, I got conflicting, but very helpful and kind advice. Kay said she thought I would be OK without pre-shrinking, Polly suggested I knit and prewash another swatch, and unravel that yarn to knit the collar. How nice that these complete strangers, fellow knitters and bloggers, chose to help me out and give me such thoughful feedback. So, of course, I took the path of less-work-and-finish-quicker and went ahead and added the neck in regular yarn, but I did unravel my swatch to do the final seaming.

UPDATE/EDIT: I realized, too late, that publishing someone's private e-mails verbatim without permission was a boneheaded, newbie blogger thing to do. I think I just got excited, corresponding with such wonderfully accomplished bloggers. I apologize in advance, and thanks again to Kay and Polly for their gracious advice.

From my last post, you know finishing this sweater was definitely touch and go for a while. But on Saturday, I sent MIL, FIL, Mr. Science and the kids out for a few hours in the morning so I could properly finish the garment uninterrupted. I was quite a pleasant experience, with coffee, my finishing bible by Nancie Wiseman, and the wonderful company of Brenda Dayne.

The side panels of this sweater are in moss, and I had never seamed moss stitch before. I found that if I did a normal ladder stitch, picking up the purl bumps on the edges, it created a nice clean looking seam. It did not, however, create an uninterrupted moss stitch panel. I think if faced with seaming moss again, I will make a stockinette selvedge, to create a neat, uninterrupted moss fabric.

So here is the wonderful MIL modeling her Jules, and I couldn't be happier with the way this project turned out. While I didn't particularly enjoy knitting it, I learned a lot, really successfully focused on the details, ended up with a very nice hand-knitted garment and a very appreciatative recipient. I think it shrunk down a little more than I had expected, and it would look better longer. I told MIL to wash it one more time and put it on a hanger to dry. We'll see how it survives. Now, I am happy to get back to those wool socks for Josh and put that Kimono Angora on my needles!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

yea, I get to leave the first comment!

liz, that sweater looks so damn fine.....esp. on your MIL. and to think I watched it being created...

you are a most talented chick, and I am honored to have you in my SnK!

anne marie

Ann said...

Jules is absolutely, positively stunning!!! And finished by the end of the Olympics! Liz, I think the denim look incredible ... the hearts are just wonderful -- I know that your MIL must be thrilled!

Mo said...

I'm glad I got to see the WIP. This was a great adventure for all of us to watch. Plus, a gold medal! I love it.

mart said...

Absolutely gotgeous. I've enjoyed watching it gorw, and the result is amazing!

anmiryam said...

Jules looks fabulous--I've had a strange attraction to that one since it was first published in Rowan #20 waaaay back when! Good for you for getting back to a UFO and seeing it all the way through.