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May 12, 2008

This is NOT me spinning from stash – I sat right down this weekend and spun the indigo-dyed bluefaced leicester from A Verb for Keeping Warm that I bought last weekend.

It spun beautifully and I tried to keep it very fine so I will have some yardage out of my two ounces. I love rolling out a piece of fiber and being able to see the shape of the fleece’s crimp reflected in it. I’ll get it plyed next weekend and see how much yardage I eked out.

I finished the body of my Gathered Pullover and started a sleeve. I am adapting this to have the sleeve knitted from the shoulder down to maximize my remaining yardage. Basically this is how I did it, with tips from Liz and from Barbara Walker’s top-down knitting book.

According to Barbara Walker, the number of stitches you need around your upper arm, as per your yarn and gauge, is how many stitches you need around the armhole. When you actually execute this move, that concept makes perfect sense. I figured I wanted my sleeve a little looser than the pattern suggested (tight sleeves seem to be a trend these days, I guess real women don’t have biceps…), so I measured my upper arm and gave myself some ease and calculated a number of stitches. In my case it was 75. Then I subtracted from that number the number bound off at the base of the armholes (in my case, 5 on the front and 5 on the back). That left 65 stitches. Since it was odd, I allowed one stitch to be exactly in the shoulder seam, and that left 32 stitches on each side.

Beginning at the shoulder seam, I picked up one stitch in the seam, 32 down the side, 10 across the two bound-off places, and 32 back up the other side. I placed a marker and joined. The pattern had 11 stitches bound off at the top of the sleeve cap, so I knit the center stitch, plus 5 stitches, plus one more. I turned, slipped the picked up stitch with a twist, knitted back to the marker, knit 5 down the other side, plus one more. I turned and slipped the picked up stitch, and then continued to knit back and forth across the top of the sleeve, taking one more of my picked up stitches at the end of each row. After awhile I removed the shoulder marker and held it out so I could put it at the underarm center when I joined to knit in the round.

After I got a couple of inches below the armhole I tried it on, and it fit perfectly. I have to say, this is turning out to be a remarkably pretty sweater even with all the changes I’m making. It looks funny in the photo, with the dark green mysteriously being introduced into the yarn just when it will really stand out in wider stripes above the armholes, and the neckline seeming high and pinched, but when I put it on it looks great. The important thing for me was to not start the armholes too soon – the row with the most cable twists also has decreases in it, to cinch it up a little like an empire waistline, followed by increases to put the stitches back in the following row, and it is REALLY important to have that fall below your bustline or the thing will be perpetually pulled out of shape. This pattern really is designed for very flat chested women, so if you are not flat chested you need to be certain to keep checking what you are doing as you go along.

I finished my first ‘Tantalizing Sock’ from Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways book. In this photo I’m closing in on the toe.

I love how this sock fits, but you do have to be sure to knit a little longer in the foot than you might otherwise. The use of the reinforced heel stitch on the bottom of the heel makes the bottom of the sock a little shorter than the top, so you have to compensate for that or end up with a sock that is too tight. I don’t know if I’d do a reinforced heel if I were doing it again. It makes the bottom hug your foot but it does introduce length issues.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2008 11:25 am

    The BFL singles look so lustrous. Very nice. Thanks for telling us how you did your sleeve cap. That’s very useful information, and the pullover looks great. I can’t wait to see you model it.

  2. Jan permalink
    May 12, 2008 8:56 pm

    I love the BFL. No moss growing on that one! The socks and sweater are very nice. You’ll enjoy them, and soon too.

  3. May 12, 2008 9:40 pm

    Oh my! Your spinning is beautiful! I can’t wait to see what you will make!

  4. May 13, 2008 4:03 am

    The gathered pullover is looking great. Thank you for the info about the sleeves. I love that spinning too.

  5. Roberta eaton permalink
    June 7, 2008 2:27 pm

    A beautiful sweater, indeed! I’ve yet to try BFL, but am anxious to after your comments. Of course, I am still in the “Acquisition Stage” of learning to consistently spin fine. You inspire me.

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