Summer is officially over this weekend, and so it feels right, no, it feels imperative to start putting into words whatever has been taking place on my needles, here and there, left and right, over the past few weeks. I was gone, but not that long, and I never took a break from knitting, but it feels as though my knitting and I are going through a rough patch in our long and meaningful relationship. We've lost that loving feeling -- no, not quite, but it has gone dormant.
My summer knitting had started on a happy note; I found a lovely marled cotton yarn in my stash and decided to turn it into a polo sweater. I used old reliable Sweater Wizard software to draft a basic pattern, with a bit of waist-shaping and short-ish sleeves. I zoomed through the back, then stumbled my way up the front with a bit of frogging as I tried to figure out what is the typical width of a front placket opening on a polo-type sweater.
(This is obviously the back; the front placket issue did get resolved, but no photo was taken yet. Trust me.)
But the real hurdle has been knitting the sleeves on this one. In recent years, I have become fond, perhaps overly fond, of knitting set-in sleeves from the top down. The process doesn't always go smoothly for me, and it often involves a good deal of frogging as I knit down the shoulder cap. But once it is done, I am usually satisfied, in no small part because this method spares me a delicate sewing session that rarely leaves me completely happy.
But I am a more enlightened knitter now, since I have acquired and read two first-rate technical books that came out last spring: Sally Melville's Knitting Pattern Essentials and Amy Herzog's Knit To Flatter . If I ever catch up with intended blog posts, I will write a bit more about both books. Suffice it to say that they have taken residence on my bedside table and have provided me with many useful insights and perspectives. Hence the decision to give the cotton polo sweater an hourglass shape (following Amy Herzog's creed that sweaters need to follow our bodies'shapes). And hence the attempt to knit the sleeves for this sweater separately from the body. You see, the two books do not have a lot in common, but they each make a very persuasive case for knitting sweaters in parts and reinforcing their structure with honest-to-goodness seams.
In this case, however, I encountered problems while trying to draft a short sleeve similar to one on an old, store-bought summer top of mine. For some mysterious reasons, the software gave me instructions that called for a funnily-shaped sleeve cap that just would not match the body's armholes. Blind follower that I am, I knitted my one sad, misshapen little sleeve, then laughed at myself and put it away. It has been three weeks now, and I am finally getting ready to frog and reknit. This time though, in the interest of being done with what was meant to be an easy summer project, I will pick up and knit the sleeves down from the armhole. This way I will be able to control exactly how long I want them to be (I haven't made an absolutely final decision yet.) Just promise not to tell Sally M. or Amy H. In my heart, I know that they are right. Next time.
Coming soon: Bad Knitting Karma episode #2. Stay tuned!