Sleeve cap tinkering

Having just completed a project, last week I found myself pulling out the Sofi jacket which has been sitting unfinished in my knitting pile for most of a year.   This is where I had gotten to before putting it away:

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As you can see, I had finished up the fronts and back of the jacket, and was missing only the sleeves plus all of the edgings and finishing.  Part of the reason that I had stopped working on it was because the sleeves are worked in seed stitch on tiny little needles, and part was because I was having trouble understanding the instructions for the top-down sleeves.

Sofi is a very square garment; the underarms are formed by binding off a bunch of stitches, and then knitting straight up without further decreases, leaving a wide, flat edge under the arm.  The instructions are to pick up stitches along the vertical edges of the sleeves and then to start at the top of the sleeve and knit down using short rows knitted in seed stitch.  I was worried about this construction: didn’t I need to pick up stitches along the bottom of the armhole as well?

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However, the instructions were to pick up 55 stitches along each side, and I had exactly 110 rows of garter, meaning 55 garter ridges on each side.  I took this to be a sign that I was following instructions, and I picked up a stitch in each garter ridge.

I was also a bit thrown by Hanne’s instructions for doing the short rows themselves, in which each row begins by throwing the yarn over the right needle, and ends by working 2 stitches together – one being the yarn over from the beginning of the preceding row and the other the next stitch on the pick up row.  I decided to stop over-thinking it and just follow the instructions and see where they led.  It turns out that this method makes a very nice edge along the shoulder, and looks quite neat:

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As I continued knitting, I began to worry more and more about how the cap was going to be joined under the arm.  I even wrote to the designer, Hanne Falkenberg, sending her photos, to ask if I was doing this right.  It turns out that I was.  Hopefully, you can see from these photos how the sleeve is meant to be sewn to the bound off edge at the underside of the arm.  It is rather clever and also allows you to knit the sleeve back and forth instead of in the round (hooray!).

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Unfortunately, I had to knit the entire cap and start knitting the sleeve itself before I could try it on and see about the fit.  The verdict is that the sleeve is too roomy at the cap.

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Here is another photo where it does not look too bad at the back, but you can see that there is a bulge at the front of the cap:

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I think that part of the problem is that I have too many stitches on the needle. A more serious problem, I think, is that I picked up the stitches at the same rate along the entire armscythe – one stich for every garter ridge.  You can see that the puckering happens along the middle third of the cap, both back and front.  In this region, I should have picked up fewer stitches.

So, what to do now?  I am trying to be sensible and think about it carefully, and examine all of the photos with a critical eye before ripping.  I know that nothing drives me crazier than sleeves which are too tight, so I don’t want to adjust a too loose sleeve and end up with a too tight one.  I think that I will leave this cap as it is, and pick up stitches on the other arm, adjusting the rate of pick-up along the middle third of each side, so that I end up with 10 or so fewer stitches altogether.  Then, I will knit that sleeve down about the same length, so that I will have two sleeves at different widths to compare.  THEN, I will rip out the one that fits the worst!

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I wish you all a good weekend with minimal ripping involved!

Travel knitting

Yesterday, I was in Munich.  Today I am in England.  Tomorrow I will be in Johannesburg. After that, I will head to Vancouver.  I am in heavy travel mode.  What does that mean? Travel knitting of course; the thing that knitters most obsess about when packing a bag.

I have decided to have two projects with me, so that I can alternate between them. First, I am going to knit Cullum, a linen t-shirt with a touch of lace, designed by Isabell Kraemer:

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© Pam Allen

I am using the very same yarn used in the photo, a gorgeous deep grey shade of Quince & Co Sparrow called Eclipse.  Sparrow is a 100% organic linen yarn.  It is luminous:

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My second project will be the Hanne Falkenberg jacket I discussed in my last post.  I clearly was experiencing technical difficulties on that morning, as I couldn’t read Hanne’s pattern.  When she sent me instructions for a swatch, I realised that I had completely mis-read the instructions for the jacket.  I even went back and checked, so convinced I was right, but no, the instructions were perfect and it was me that was lacking. Here is the swatch:

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I love this!  The photo is lovely, but it is far better to hold it in your hand! It is so soft, yet wool-y, and light like a feather.  (Unlike the Sparrow, which is a bit rough on the hands; I know from experience that it will block into a very soft, drapey fabric, however.)

This is a run-by post as I am heading for the airport. Good knitting everyone!

 

Knitting treats from Copenhagen

I was teaching on the weekend and so was unable to make my way up to Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. I admit to having felt rather sorry for myself. For the entire time I was doing the MBA I was unable to make any yarn shows. I planned to remedy that once I finished, but then I took a job (teaching on the very same MBA programme) which meant a lot of working weekends. The universe (or at least the people who schedule yarn shows and MBA classes) seems to be conspiring against me, as they are mostly scheduled concurrently. Oh well. I am not so desolate as I have a Danish consolation prize or two (perhaps three).

A few weeks ago I was in Copenhagen with my friend, Erun (and with Sarah and Sara). One of my top priorities was to make it to Somerfuglen, a knitting shop that I had long wanted to visit.

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I know you won’t believe me but I didn’t buy any yarn there. Why? Because I loved everything and couldn’t choose and I had a plane to catch. That is not to say I didn’t make any purchases. I bought two lovely knitting books. First, I bought Issue One of the new knitting periodical, Laine.

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This is a lovely book. It is filled with knitting patterns, beautiful photography, articles, designer profiles, recipes, and has high production values. Even the ads are lovely! This issue had profiles of Joji Locatelli and Helga Isager among others. It seems to me that this will be a collectable and I am happy to have the first issue.

I also bought this amazing book:

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By Annette Danielsen, it is filled with stunning photos of Greenland and absolutely gorgeous sweaters. I want to knit them all. I particularly want to knit this one, Fjelde, which coincidentally I have in my favorites file on Ravelry:

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© Annette Danielsen

Here is the extra special goodness from my trip to Sommerfuglen:  I tried this jacket on! And it was scrumptious. It fit beautifully and was a dream to wear. As a result, I have purchased the book and now somehow have to teach myself to read a knitting pattern written in Danish! Never fear, dear readers, I WILL accomplish this eventually (perhaps with some help from my friend, Erun, and her mother, Liv)!

Hanging in the window at Sommerfuglen was a very smart jacket by Hanne Falkenberg. I was able to try it on as well. I am a big fan of Hanne’s designs and yarn as you can tell from this post from some years ago. This jacket also fit perfectly and I could not help but notice that it was precisely the kind of thing I need for my working wardrobe. I thought about buying it right then and there, but was prevented because (1) I couldn’t check any luggage on my flight home and (2) the shop didn’t have kits in the colour combos I liked.

Once I got home, I continued to think about this jacket, however, and ended up ordering a kit in the same colourway as the shop sample (colourway #1). Here it is:

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The design is called Sofi, and it is knit in two different yarns – the sleeves and main colour are knit in her No2 shetland 100% wool and the contrast colour is her No4 Sofistica 60% Cotton & 40% Linen. Here you can see the two different yarns from the kit:

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So, even though I didn’t make it to Edinburgh, I can console myself with these lovely Danish knitting treats. I have heard that the festival suffered this year from its excessive popularity – by all accounts it was very crowded and hot. I would have braved both to see Kate Davies’ stand (and all of the other goodness) but perhaps by the time I do make it up there, the venue will be bigger. In the meantime, I have plenty of knitting to keep me happy.