Blue Rouge Vest
I realized I haven't blogged about this project, so I thought I would.
I had decided that it was high time for me to make a sweater. I was a pretty advanced knitter, but I had never knit a sweater. I will admit that the idea of attching sleaves scared me a bit. I chose the "Sweater with Mobius Collar" from Vogue: Quick Knits. I wanted an oversized warm sweater to wear around the house and something with realitively easy shaping so I wouldn't be scared of the thing. It was close to my birthday, so I took my dad to the local LYS and picked out Cascade 220 in a bright blue for my birthday present. I adored the color and it was the right price for a sweater amount.
The sweater is knit in the round holding two strands of yarn together for thickness and speed knitting. It has an a-line shape so there was no increasing, just decreasing. When it was time to join the shoulders and knit the yoke I knit each sleave, which was just a simple tube. Then I attached the sleaves to the body stitches and knit the whole thing around and around.
Now the whole time I knit this I was thinking, "Maybe this is going to be too big..." I even put the stitches on waste yarn and tried the thing on. I had to go to my LYS again and buy more yarn because I didn't have enough. But I was in denial. Or on shrooms because I just kept knitting. Since I wanted it to be oversized I just figured it would be a little big, maybe... So I finished the shaping in the yoke and it was time to either add the mobius collar or do something else with the collar. I tried it on again and looked at myself in the mirror. It was not a pretty sight. What had been an entirely too large sweater the whole time was still a too large sweater. And I knew as I stared at my lump of a blue blob in the mirror that I would never wear it, not even around the house.
So I decided to frog it. This was my first rather large project and it was the first rather large project I needed to frog. I knew that it was going to be sad, so I put it off. And off. And when I moved to New Zealand to study there for a year I took the sweater thing with me. Because I knew I needed to frog it, I still loved the yarn, and I wasn't going to be able to afford another set of yarn for another sweater. So it sat in my closet for months and months. Until one day I was ready. I sat on my bed and started ripping.
It was an odd experience for me, because I do think that frogging is fun. Zip, Zip, Zip. But I had put so much time and effort into this sweater that the experience was certainly bittersweet. As I ripped out the beautiful yarn, seperated the two strands, and wound two balls at once I fell into a silent pattern. Rip, zip yarns, wind ball, wind ball, repeat.
At the end of the process I gently re-blocked the wool, hung it from hangers, and let it dry. Through this process I had begun to look for a new pattern. Even though my first sweater knitting hadn't worked out exactly, I had learned a lot about how sweaters were constructed. And I was ready for a more complicated pattern. I searched online and swearched in pattern books, looking for something that this bright blue yarn wanted to be. It took a while, but I finally found something worthwhile.
I had just started listening to Brenda Dayne's podcast and one of the very first sweaters she talked about was Rogue. I had no idea at the time that it was a "popular" pattern, and I didn't really care. All I knew was that I really liked the pattern, it wasn't too much money, and the blue wool would just love those cables. In case you haven't heard about the pattern, it is a hooded celtic inspired cabled jumper. One of the things I was looking for in a pattern since the previous sweater attempt was waist shaping. One of my friends noted that I have a waist and sweaters with waist shaping would probably look better. I had never really thought about it, but she was right. The sweater features side cables where all the waist shaping occurs, which is very neat, an optional pocket, a gorgeously cabled hood, and cables on the cuffs of the sleaves.
I measured one of my favorite (bought) sweaters accross the bust to figure out which size I should make. I knit gauge swatches and did everything proper to make sure it would actually fit me this time. I truly enjoyed knitting this pattern, watching the cables take shape and I didn't even mind the stockinette too much. The hood for this pattern is made with stitches from the front and picked up stitches from the back. About halfway through the hood construction I tried it on and realized that the small size I had chosen which fit accross my bust did not fit vertically. The sweater was a bit short and the hood would not cover my head. So I added an extra repeat in the largest cable pattern of the hood towards the top and readjusted the hood shaping. I belonged to a Rogue knitalong at the time and got some great tips there for the hood grafting. I definitely suggest the knitalong to anyone knitting the pattern who might have any questions about the pattern.
I had begun this sweater when I was in New Zealand and I was trying to finish it before I left to come back home. But sometimes those things don't really work out. I ended up finishing it at home. Before I cast on for the sleaves I tried on the body. And the wool was warm. And it felt good as a vest. I realized that if I added sleaves I would never get to wear the sweater, because southern california is just too warm for an all wool jumper. So I decided to leave it as a vest.
It was a bit short. I should have added a cable repeat in the middle of the waist to make it longer. I will if I knit the pattern again. As it is, the pocket current comes right up to just under my bust, which I also don't really like. I am thinking about removing the unuasable pocket and knitting a cable band to attach to the bottom of the sweater to make it longer. Regardless, I have worn my vest many times already. It is a perfect extra layer on top of a long sleaved shirt when the fog rolls in from the sea. As it is, I still haven't attached sleaves to a sweater.