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Per multiple requests, I finally had some time during a break from work and was able to finish writing the pattern to add additional sizes.  As some of you know, the original version only had size 4 because I knitted the sweater for my daughter when she was 4 years old.  I had to do some research as usual to learn the different measurements on the parts of a garment and in various child sizes I was adding.  It was quite a project and another invaluable learning experience. 

The numbers in the updated pattern were not tested but written based on the original size 4, and using meticulous math calculations.  I will knit size 8 for my daughter when time permits.  I hope you enjoy it.

Valentine updated version

Finished chest size:  23.5 (25, 26, 28, 30, 32) inches for sizes 2 (4, 6, 8, 10, 12)

Yarn: 4 (5, 6, 7, 8, 9) skeins of Knit Picks Superwash Swish DK weight (123 yards/50g), or equivalent.

Needle size: 6; circular needles and double point needles.

Gauge: 23 sts x 31 rows = 4 inches.

Notions: Size D (3.25mm) crochet hook, stitch markers, stitch holders, and tapestry needle

Pattern instruction here Valentine updated version and in Ravelry.

 

DSC_0483

The Gathered Pullover from Interweave Knits is not a difficult pattern.  It took me 3 months because I decided to embark on some modifications to the pattern that required learning and trying out new techniques so I could do as little sewing as possible.  At the end, I only needed to sew the shoulder seams.

First it was the turned hem for the bottom of the body.  I consulted with Techknitter’s blog and it was the easiest to learn.  The rest of the body was fairly straight forward; I skipped the increase/decrease stitches around the center cables and knitted more rows before splitting for neck opening so it wasn’ t so large.

The first challenge I encountered was trying to knit the sleeves top down.  I first read about it in Melissa’s blog here and have ever since wanted to try this method so I could avoid the part of finishing a knitted garment I dreaded the most-sewing the set-in sleeves.  But because this was my first time, I had to really study how it was done, calculate carefully how many and which stitches to pick up around the armholes, and review short row knitting that sewing might have actually been quicker.  I am sure though I’d be much faster next time so it was worth investing the time.

The second challenge was finishing the sleeve edges and was the most time consuming.  I could have used the turned hem and be done with it sooner, but again I was so determined not to do any sewing (I would have to sew this time as it was top down instead of bottom up as in the case of knitting the body bottom), I looked up how to knit tubular cast off at the Techknitter’s blog again and Anna’s blog.  The reason this was the most time consuming challenge was that when I tried Anna’s method, the hem flared out a lot.  I then ripped it out and  switched to Techknitter’s method which was a 1×1 ribbing tubular cast off- not  a look I was going for.  Ripped.  I thought then if I used a smaller needle and tried Anna’s method again (which was my preferred method all along), it might not flare.  I went down 2 needle sizes and finished the cast off once again.  Still flared!  Ripped yet again!  There was a lot of debating and analyzing in my head at this point debating whether to consider going back to Techknitter’s method and I think I just took a break from the project for a bit.  Finally I went down another needle size using Anna’s method.  It still flared a bit as you can see in the picture but it’d have to do.  This was a very good learning lesson.  I will remember to use smaller needles in the future and try making the hem deeper (more rows).

The final modification was the Attached I-cord collar and my favorite.   Looked up Attached I-cord at different sources online and went with this one.  I thought it came out beautifully and was a cinch to learn, no ripping.

I learned so much from knitting this project and was happy with how it turned out.  Both my husband and my son approved the look as well.  Yippee!

Blog Revisited

I can’t believe it’s been 5 months since I last blogged.  I had hoped to keep up even though I took on a temporary job in June last year.  As my job assignment is coming to an end soon, I am finally able to think about other things again besides keeping up with the daily grind of home and work life.

Going back to work was exciting at first.  Get assigned tasks; get them done; get paid.  No resistance, chaos, or disorder, so I thought.  The novelty soon wore off though.   After the initial nice-to-meet-you, what-can-I-help-you-with phase, the familiar competitive, everyone for himself, pointing fingers work environment appeared again.  It reminded me why I left that world 7 years ago and renewed my appreciation for my family.  Still it was nice to make some extra spending money, especially during this economy. 

On the knitting side, I have started quite a few projects with all of them completed at different stages.  They do wonders in clearing my mind of unnecessary worries.   The projects that currently sustain my feelings of calm and peace are:

Revontuli, Kusha-Kusha, Snowball Hat, Gathered Pullover, Calorimetry.

Valentine

A sweet sweater for multiple seasons and occasions- wear it with just a camisole or a thin T-shirt underneath during spring or fall when the weather is just a bit chilly but too warm for a sweater with a tighter neck opening, or wear it with a turtleneck underneath during winter and the soft merino wool would sure keep your little girl toasty and warm.  The ribbing on top and the heart shape lace pattern lining the bottom edges give it the dress-up feel while the simple shape of the garment keeps it casual.  Pattern offers 2 styles for the neck opening – crocheted collarless edge, or knit rolled edge.

          

Yarn: Knit Picks Superwash Swish DK, 5 skeins; colorway Cornflower

Needle size: 6

Gauge: 23 sts x 31 rows = 4 inches

Notions: Stitch markers and tapestry needle.

Finished size:  chest size 25 inches

Click here for the Valentine pattern.

ETA 8/10/2011: Pattern version 2 with multiple sizes is finally ready!!  Click here to access.  Also available on Ravelry.

BeforeBefore

AfterAfter

This was my first attempt at knitting a sweater without using a pattern.  I had some ideas, drew them out, knitted some test stitches, took measurements and then started knitting the actual garment itself.  The Before picture is the first “prototype” and the upper arms came out a little too snug despite my taking measurements off an actual shirt that fit her and careful calculation of stitches against the gauge.  The After picture shows the final finished project (I think it’s better, don’t you?) which resulted from multiple adjustments to the top halves of the front and the back, neck, and sleeves spanning over a period of 2 months after the first version was completed.  I think I still have a lot to learn.

Increase stitches, sometimes written as inc in short in patterns, were harder to learn for me than decrease stitches.  I didn’t quite understand how to knit all of them by just reading different instructions; I needed either videos or still pictures taken at the appropriate moments, especially for yarn over (YO).   Here are again my own pictures for my own information (my own “knitting for dummies” if you will) and hopefully they will help some others along the way as well.

YO (yarn over)- I always forgot which direction to bring the yarn around when I first learned and when the instruction said bring yarn forward, I couldn’t decide if it meant forward away and ahead of me which would bring the yarn behind the needle, or if it meant forward in front of the needle.  I needed to look at pictures to confirm so here it is:

 Bring yarn to the front of the needle, and then over the needle.

 Knit the next stitch after the yarn over.  In this picture I just started to knit the next stitch by inserting the right needle tip into the loop.  Notice the YO doesn’t quite look like a complete stitch yet.

 The next stitch is complete.  The YO is the one that is slanted on the needle and is the increased stitch.  Knit it like a normal stitch when you come across it in the next row.

The YO creates a hole in the knitted fabric and is a standard stitch for lace knitting. 

More increase stitches will be added soon.

Shopping Spree

What’s the point of going back to work after staying home for five and a half years if you can’t indulge a little?  So I treated myself with these!   Remember I was kicking myself for not buying all sizes of dpn’s last time?  I fixed that.  Got them at eBay for $43.50- 8 sets of 5, 7-inch in length, needles in sizes 4-10 1/2.  A word of caution about auctions…before you know it, the bidding price can go so high you might as well buy retail.  I think I came out ahead because the larger size ones can sell up to almost double my auction price per set at a store.

Shortly before I bought the needles I also bought enough yarns from Knit Picks for 3 projects.  If they had all the colors I wanted, I would have bought enough for 5 projects!  I guess I can wait on some of them as I still have a few projects to get to.  I finally caught the “stash” disease.  Never thought it’d happen to me.  But don’t you just love the self-striping sock yarns with such gorgeous colors?  Ever since the shipment arrived, I’ve been itching to start on those even though I was trying hard to finish a project already in progress.  I finally gave in to the urge and did a swatch which satisfied my “appetite” for now. 

The yarns are:

Felici with Provence colorway for Jaywalker socks.

Swish Superwash Worsted weight colorway Wisteria (lavendar) for a shawl.

Comfy colorway  Blackberry for a skirt

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