Thursday, July 26, 2007

Two Strikes...

Before I started, I knew that knitting from vintage patterns would have its challenges. The instructions can be difficult to decipher, the yarn no longer exists and isn't described well, the sizes can be different. But, let me tell you, it's still very frustrating when something doesn't work out quite right. Rather than get too annoyed, I'm going to chalk it up to learning--and try to compile a list of tips for vintage knitting.

I just finished the front of my green 60s sweater--it looks much the same as the back. What it doesn't look like is the pattern photo. Sure, the fit is similar (but still baggier than I would like), and the pattern is the same. However, I'm now realizing that my yarn is too bulky. In the pattern photo, the sweater has a loose, open knit. In my sweater, the pattern is difficult to see because the yarn is thicker. I chose my yarn to match the gauge of the sweater--when really, I should have chosen a yarn with a finer gauge so that it knit up looser on such large needles. Grr!

Although I'd be really sad to not have a sweater to show for all this work, this sweater already has two strikes against it, so perhaps it's best to cut my losses and find a pattern better suited for this yarn. I'm thinking maybe this pattern from Rebecca Magazine that I have at home:
Any thoughts?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Work in Progress

The back of my 1960s sweater is complete, and I'm well into the front panel. I'm knitting on size 10.5 needles, and the pattern is pretty simple. I'm happy with it so far. The pattern features four little eyelets arranged in a square that alternate positions every two rows. I'm also happy that I chose the somewhat variegated Shamrock yarn from knitpicks. The flecks of different greens add a bit more interest to the design. If all goes well, this should be a nice, warm sweater in a few weeks.

Back panel--finished

Detail of eyelet pattern.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Knitting Math

I started a new vintage sweater right as I was finishing the Marriner. This time it's a chunky cowl necked sweater from Vogue Knitting Spring-Summer 1965. Again, take a look at the neckline on that one! I chose inexpensive wool from knitpicks with a few different shades of green. To choose my size, I took a look at the listed measurements, and at the pattern picture--in which the sweater looks a little baggy on the model. Preferring more fitted clothes, I chose the size just below my measurements.

I was about 9 inches into the front, when I finally took out my tape measure--it was looking rather large. And indeed, the sweater was about 20" across! This would make the sweater 40" at the bust for the 34" sized person. The image below illustrates just how much extra room this sweater would have had, as compared to one of my fitted t-shirts. Needless to say, those 9" of sweater are now rewound into 5" of yarn ball.

What did I learn from this lesson? Always do your knitting math before starting a pattern. Had I divided the 80 stitches by 4 (the stitches per inch), I would have immediately known this would be larger than I wanted. Knitting math (of a more complicated variety) would have probably helped me regauge the Marriner pattern to suit my modern yarn.

Marriner's Finessa Sweater--Finished!

I'm a sucker for great necklines. That's what drew me to this pattern from Yesterknits. I also love anything yellow. This sweater involved new challenges for me, like knitting with lace weight yarn on size 1 needles. I felt like an oaf for the first few rows, but soon enough I got used to it. I worked on it on and off for about 7 months, and finally finished this weekend. Here's the finished product (in purple).

Front view.

Back view.

Detail of dropped stitch pattern.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the finished result. The gauge was apparently way off length-wise, which I didn't realize until I was nearly finished with the front. The pattern is not helpful at all when it comes to gauge. Under 'tension' it says: "Approximately 9 sts. to 1 inch when slightly stretched." I narrowly avoided making a mini dress with a deep v-neck. Instead, I had to stop the front early, so the v isn't as deep as I would like.

I used about 3 skeins of alpaca cloud yarn from knit picks. This was my first time ordering from them, and I was pleasantly surprised! Their prices can't be beat, and the alpaca is very soft.

This was also my first pattern order from Yesterknits. They have a great selection of vintage patterns to suit every style. My only disappointment was that I didn't realize that I would be getting a black and white copy of the pattern rather than the real thing. Even a copy in color would have been a bit more appealing. I'd still order again, though, if I found a tempting enough pattern.


Hi, and welcome to my blog. I've been inspired to start my own after becoming a regular reader of some great crafty blogs out there. They've been a source of inspiration to me and my creativity, and I thought it was about time I started to give back. I'll probably post mostly about my craft projects, but I might also be inspired to talk about food, life, art, or some other current obsession. Thanks for stopping by.