Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Two Boleros

Do you want to know why I don't ever worry about the size of my stash? Every once in a while, I get this incredible urge to stash-dive and knit something with some random, long-stashed yarn. I fall back in love with it, or just get sick of seeing it. Either way, I decide it is time to knit a certain yarn, every last bit. Remember January, my month of Manos?

So in March, I got a particular urge to knit up the three skeins of Cascade Sierra, leftover from Mr S's Dylan Goes Electric sweater. This yarn has mad yardage, and I learned from experience that this yarn washes and dries beautifully in the machine. This would be the perfect yarn to knit a sweater for my son, and as I am typing this very sentence, I am thinking to myself, "why the hell didn't you just make a sweater for Pepe? It would have been perfect." Damn you, hindsight! Well, I can guarantee you that I will use this yarn again and again, probably for easy sweaters for the children. But in the meantime, it was time to get these three skeins out of the stash.

I started with the Ribbed Lace Bolero by Kelly Maher, after seeing Sally's in progress (dude, finish it already!). This is a simple, customizable pattern that knit up over a weekend of many, many basketball games. However, the pattern calls for Cotton-Ease, and I used a mostly cotton blend (80% cotton/20% wool), but I think a yarn with a little more stretch would be ideal for this bolero. There's a big of sag in the armholes and slight droop in the back (as with most shrugs, really) that might be eliminated if knit in a more elastic yarn. My sag vastly improved after a trip through the washer and dryer, which is another reason to love Sierra, because a garment looks better after laundering. I'm not criticizing the pattern, but would just recommend a knitter try a yarn with a bit more memory and give it you are looking for a perfect fit.

It's a perfect, multi-season layer. I've been wearing it a lot over turtlenecks and long-sleeve Ts, and can picture wearing it over a tank in the summer. Love it!

Details here (Ravelry link). Like my haircut?

My daughter immediately asked me to make one for her too, but I don't do the matchy-matchy mother-daughter thing, and I still had 1.5 skeins left of the Sierra, and the goal was to get it all knit up. I knew a ribbed bolero for her would take far less yarn, and leave me with a useless quantity leftover.

Rosebud got a Cloud Bolero. I loved this sweater ever since I saw Carrie's full length version. It was simple to resize for a child, too. First, the sweater is written for a bulky yarn; Sierra is a worsted. I also knit at a much tighter gauge, even for the Sierra. I used a US6 needle and got about 5spi in stockinette. The difference in gauge was enough to shrink it down to fit her, and I ended up following the instructions for a size S. It is basically a top-down raglan, so it was easy to try it on her as I knit it, and Ysolda's instructions for customizing the sizing are easily applicable.

But I got a little overzealous resizing it, because it is a little too small to allow for any kind of closure. It ended up being more like a vest than a bolero. I should have cast on a few more stitches in order to have it meet in the front, but the truth is, my daughter chews on her clothes. I know, gross, right? I know she would have loved a pretty satin ribbon tie at the neck, but it would have been gnawed to oblivion within days. The problem with a vest is that she plays with it incessantly. Pulling it off her shoulders, putting it back on. It needed some kind of closure, like a button or tie at the center of the chest or something. As is, it's a weird, distracting layer for her, and while it looks really cute, it is not exactly a practical item for a busy 7 year old. I have lived and learned: no more open-cardigan-vest-things for her for a while.

But I have knit every last bit of Cascade Sierra (except for a tiny bit left over for repairs if needed on the DGE) in my stash. And that feels great.


Christie said...

Both are so cute...and yes, love the haircut!

Violet said...

They're both gorgeous! That's a great color. I've been wondering about Sierra for awhile; I'm going to have to try it out.

margene said...

She's so cute and the Bolero looks darling on her. Yours looks great, too.

Sarah said...

I've been trying to think up a clever way of creating a closure for the vest and discouraging her from chewing on her clothing, but alas, I've got nothing (all that comes to mind is the explanation of why there were buttons on the sleeves of Civil War uniforms -- to keep the soldiers from wiping their noses on their sleeves).

In any case, it does look adorable on her. And you don't look so bad yourself!

Sally said...

They are both adorable! And I know, I know, I need to finish... Maybe I'll bring it to group tomorrow night. Oops wait, it requires concentration; maybe not. ;o)

Anonymous said...

Great job!! And thanks for the suggestion on the ribbed bolero. That will help when I finally get around to making it

Anonymous said...

lerve the haircut/highlights!

you and rosebud look very pretty in your new knits.

anne marie

Octopus Knits said...

What cute boleros! Too bad she fiddle with hers... it looks great on her.

P.S. Love the Nutkins, too!

Ann said...

I'm quite intrigued by the yarn! Lots of yardage, does well in the wash, I should have some of this!

The boleros look great!!

nova said...

I always love boleros, on other people. I am not sure a bolero would work on me. These are great, as is the haircut!

Anonymous said...

LOVE the haircut. What a satisfying stash dive!

Jenna said...

I've been interested in Sierra for a while now, but your recommendations have totally sold me.

I think that we're alike in hating to have those annoying leftovers hanging around. Thanks for your inspiration in how to use them- both of these projects are fabulous, just like your haircut.

pamela wynne said...

cute and cuter!
and the hair? cuter still.

Anonymous said...

You look fantastic! Love the boleros. While I knit matchy matchy things for my kids, I don't do it for me and them - I'm with you on that!