Wednesday, 1 July 2015

A Beatnik in Vivid Orange

My second attempt on a Norah Gaughan design is the ever-so-popular Beatnik cable sweater, which had been on my queue for quite some time. I really enjoyed making it, even when it got a bit time consuming or boring at times.

The design is modern and retro at the same time, and it features a neckline that is to die for! (One of the main reasons I wanted to make this pattern)

Believe it or not this is my first ever allover cabled sweater. (I myself have hard time realising this fact). I do a lot of colorwork - which I adore - but until recently my contact with cables has been limited and on a small scale. 
I don't think this happened on purpose. I think this is probably the result of my endless infatuation with color: I forget that there are other things to knit too!

Another factor is definitely the speed: knitting colorwork is much faster, at least for me. I can work rather efficiently without a cable needle, but crisscrossing every now and then certainly adds a lot more time than just changing yarn colors.

In this project, speed was an issue. Moss stitch is very beautiful but it's also rather slow to knit, and oh-such a yarn eater! The cables themselves don't help either, but what made things really slow was the length of the sweater. For once, I decided to stick to the pattern and not shorten it. It turned out well, and at a size that I like, but the length of these cable panels was something else. The reason for this situation was my row gauge: it was significantly shorter, so I had to knit more rows to compensate for the prescribed length.

A thing that was rather weird, was the discrepancy of the length of the armholes between the body and the sleeves. The sleeves seamed so much longer and I found myself worrying that they might be too large. Surprisingly, while seaming at the end, they just fit!

I was contemplating of making the sweater in the round, but as soon as I realised that almost all of my most recent projects are in the round, I changed my mind. I kinda missed working on one-pointed needles. :)
Plus, with my mods, it was wiser to try the half amount of stitches rather than altogether.
I have written about all mods with details on the project's Ravelry page. The two major mods, were the change of the cables on the side panels and the neckline.

I was not particularly font of the original side panels, so I decided to substitute them with something else. I improvised and created my own design by charting out different variations. I also mirrored the effect of the external ones. They are definitely simpler than the originals, but I like how they combine with the rest of the sweater and especially the main cable panel.

The second major change was the way I worked the neckline. The original calls for the typical way: knit double the length, fold, graft edges. I wanted to deviate from this method, since I had noticed from many other Ravelers that this method creates a floppy neckline. And I wanted mine to stay up firmly. 

For this issue there were two solutions: either include a wide elastic band or work in double knitting. You may think that I am crazy, because I chose the second option. It was time consuming, (it was k1tb, p1tb throughout!) but produced a very nice result. Not as firm as I hoped, but it gave a great opportunity for grafting at the top of the neckline, instead of inside the sweater, which for me, is sometimes tricky and boring.

I also wanted to seriously try double knitting, so I might not be that crazy for choosing the slow way. xD

Would I try this method again? in k1tb,p1tb NO!, in regular ribbing, or stockinette, yes!

The yarn I used is Cascade Yarns Sierra, which I won at the Templeton Design Contest. This yarn is just lovely. It works well and wears very well, it really is a shame that it is discontinued. The color is also just gorgeous. I wore the sweater during our winter and through the beginning of our spring and it was great at maintaining temperature even though it's a mix of cotton and wool.

The good news is that out of the 10 skeins, I used only 5.5, so I have 4.5 more to knit something else! Yay!

I have still no idea what exactly. What type of garment would you knit in such a vivid orange?

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