Monday, April 21, 2014

spring robin

This is one of those garments that you love to wear despite knowing it is not necessarily that flattering nor well-made. Ha, I act like that's a common thing for other people, too. I dunno, dude, I'm just on a baggy top kick and I don't know what else I want to wear these days. There's something pleasant and comforting about dressing like a frump. Let's call it effortfully effortless, because a lot of effort goes into knitting a baggy sweater you can take a nap in.

This little mama is knitted from the Robin pattern by Josée Paquin. It's a striped raglan-sleeve sweater with a dipped hem, knitted in one piece from the top down. It's purposely slouchy, with VERY LOW armholes for a batwing look. Wait a sec... batwings. I think I understand why she called this the Robin pattern.

Another example of someone wearing something all the time despite it being unflattering.

I wanted a sweater that I can wear in the transition months between cold and hot weather and vice versa, so I chose to make this pattern using a cotton/modal blend yarn: Shine Sport from Knit Picks. I have leggings that are cotton/modal and are heavenly to wear, and this yarn is just as delightful. I spent a lot of time just squishing it against my face. I went with the cream and black colorways to keep it classic. I used about 9.5 balls of the cream and 2 balls of black. I eventually realized I couldn't make it all the way through this sweater with so little black, so I shortened the arms to 3/4 length which is fine by me anyway.

I bought size 3 circular needles specifically to do this project, but my gauge was too loose. Instead of buying MORE needles, I just knitted the smallest size in the pattern and hoped for the best. It ended up being the size I was expecting, sooo I dodged that bullet. The insane thing about knitting garments is that you have no idea if it's going to fit until you've already invested many hours over many days, weeks, or months. At least with top-down garments you can try on as you go, but it's not like I would know how to make mid-knit fitting adjustment calculations anyway. 

It's a cropped-head kinda day, folks.

Short rows are used to shape the neckline as well as the high-low hem. The pattern has you do yarn-over short rows, which I found I prefer over wrap-and-turn short rows because it's easier to find them when you pass over them again. I don't know if these things have technical names! For help with the YO short rows, I used this resource.

I don't know what happened with my tension while knitting... or maybe it happened while weaving in all the ends (which I always half-ass) or blocking (I dried it in the dryer!)... but my stripes are a bit wonky. You can tell in some of the photos where they look jagged. Some of the white stitches above and below the stripes were looser than others, causing the black to dip or raise in random places. In one or two places, a black stitch just disappeared. Ran for its wee little life.

I'm still a rookie, okay?! I'm not that upset. I should just probably stop switching between English and continental style knitting so often, but I get hand cramps if I don't keep it varied. 

All in all, this was a fun and relatively simple knit. I love the colors I used and find it cozy as hell to wear. As a seamstress, I appreciate that the stripes automatically match across the body to the sleeves. It's the little things.

I doubt I'd make it again (do people knit sweater patterns more than once?), but if I did I would raise the armholes by a lot and streamline the fit if possible. 

Ravelry notes here.

I guess I've accomplished two of my six handmade "goals" this spring: I made a bag and now a spring-appropriate sweater. I still plan to tackle the others, except maybe the shorts, but I keep being lured in other directions. I'm less confident about Me-Made-May this year. I've been wearing fewer me-mades recently because I no longer work in an office (uh, hallelujah), so all the business-casual dresses and skirts I've made over the past 2+ years are starting to collect dust. More baggy tops to make, I guess. Who's with me there?