Friday, October 06, 2006

the good, the bad, and the ugly

... in that order.

The Good

I finished the first sock of the pair I'm making for my mom.

side view of mom sock #1 mom sock from the back

My mom was actually the recipient of my first pair of "real" (meaning, made with sock yarn) socks, seen here. But she told me a few months ago that the socks had worn out somehow, and the cuff seemed to have stretched a lot in width while getting shorter. I'm still not sure exactly what happened, but the point is, she obviously needs a new pair of handknit socks. She wants to wear them with clogs, and she loves green, so I used the green yarn I had leftover from the toes of these socks (which were made from the leftovers from the first pair for my mom) for the heels, which will be the most visible part. I also used the yarn for the toes and cuffs so the green heels would look like they belonged there. And because I was worried I'd get bored with plain stockinette, I put some cables and ribbing in the socks - two 4-stitch cables on the front that twist towards each other, and a braided cable along the back. I'm not sure how I feel about it all... it's not exactly a cohesive look. It kind of looks like I threw a bunch of different elements together - which I did - and maybe not in a good way. I'm going to my parents' house next weekend so I'll bring the sock to get her opinion and also make sure it fits before I start the second of the pair.

The Bad

I decided to give the periwinkle top a test-run by wearing it around my apartment for a few hours to see if it would stretch out of shape at all. I made it with plenty of negative ease, so I hoped it would be okay... and in the "around" direction it was fine. But in the vertical direction? Well, here's the before-and-after:

periwinkle top periwinkle top after wearing it for a few hours

I completely forgot to account for any possible stretching of the straps, and the results ain't pretty. The problem should be pretty easy to fix, but it makes me hesitant about writing up a pattern for the top as-is. Actually I have a few hesitations - the cable grafting, for example, and the fact that it forms a circle so you have to be very careful to line up the top and the bottom, and the i-cord edge which might curl up over longer distances (i.e. in larger sizes)... there are quite a few things that need to change before I can even consider writing up and resizing the pattern. But I have plans, I have Big Plans, and all will be revealed in time.

The Ugly

Here is exhibit A: one of my favorite sweaters.

one of my favorite sweaters, though it's seen better days...

I bought it a few years ago, definitely in my pre-knitting days. It fits pretty well, and it's very comfortable, and I love the style, and... it is a mess. The yarn might have been a little nubby to start off with, but I'm pretty sure it was smooth. Over time, it's started to pill, and then the pills have turned into long thread things, and it's all gotten matted down, so close up the surface looks like this:

up close and personal

I'm sad to say that the green sweater is nearing the end of its life. So what is a girl to do, except recreate it, and make it even better? :) I want to change quite a few things.
  1. The armhole has always been a little tight. The arm itself is fine, and the body is fine, but where they meet isn't great. This should be very fixable by working a few more raglan decreases on each piece.
  2. The bottom edges of the body and sleeves aren't ribbed, and they don't have the same elasticity as the rest of the sweater. So as it stretches out over the course of the day, the edges stay the same width, and the fabric kind of bags out over the edge. The fix: a little ribbing with a very elastic cast-on edge.
  3. Another edge issue - at the v-neck, there's nothing to stabilize the reverse stockinette, so it curls like crazy and just looks unfinished. Again I think a little ribbing will solve the problem.
  4. The green sweater is made of cotton (maybe with a little acrylic, I can't remember right now) so it provides a nice amount of warmth, but it also sags and bags a lot. Something wooly would probably hold its shape much better.

This all brings me to exhibit B: the replacement yarn.

suri merino swatch

Plymouth Suri Merino, a merino/alpaca blend that I got in a very good sale a few months ago, in a great pinky color. It has just the right mix of elasticity and drape, and I think it will work really well in the new sweater.

Hey, have you made it this far? I sure am verbose today, but I think I've finally run out of things to talk about. So on a completely unrelated note, if you're wondering how to make the most of your hard-earned yarn money, check out Tope's great post about knitting on a budget.

And have a great long weekend! :D


  • I love the socks. It's too bad about the tank top.

    By Anonymous rose, at 4:43 PM  

  • The Good: I love the socks. They're fun and funky and have a lot going on, which is nice because socks should be a little silly.
    The Bad: I love your tank. A quick fix and you're golden! Don't stress about writing the pattern because I'm sure it's flawless otherwise. I'd be happy to edit for you, if you like.
    The Ugly: Brave! Yummy yarn! :)

    By Anonymous Elspeth, at 11:26 AM  

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