February 23, 2009

Carding and Hoody update

OK, back to the carding discussion. A little over a week ago, Wendy emailed this link to Kelie and me. It's a blog post from Yarn Harlot, about feeding fiber into the drum carder sideways! REally! Heck, why not? Personally, it seemed to me that no amount of teasing, fluffing and feeding fleece as perfectly straight as possible into the drum carder guaranteed it ending up perfectly straight in the batt. My sideways fed fiber comes out looking pretty much the same as the other stuff. So, if nothing else, feeding the fiber in sideways saves me some time. And I like that.

Over the weekend I really, truly got started with my hoody project (btw; hoodie and hoody will be used interchangablely in this blog). I looked and looked for a pattern I wanted to use with my hand dyed homespun (not my homespun, but some I purchased just before I started spinning). Whilst I viewed many lovely patterns, most weren't right for this yarn which is mostly heavy Aran to chunky/bulky. So I decided to adapt and improvise. I want to knit a top down, raglan sleeved pullover sweatshirt with a medium deep, overlapping placket. Toogles or froggs or buttons will close the placket. I like pockets, so either handwarmer pockets or a kangaroo pocket, plus a small sleeve pocket for holding something like a cell phone or ipod or clip on sunglasses. Contrasting color yarn might be used in places. And I might add just a little shaping, and for sure fold over sleeve cuffs that have thumb openings. I think that covers everything.

This is my first raglan sweater, and for inspiration and reassurance, I am constantly consulting Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard, and a hooded cardigan pattern called Katje, designed by Julie Weisenburger. I liked Katje as soon as I saw her, and her sister, Katarina too.

I worked up a swatch on US #13 needles (ok, I started with #9, then #11) and decided my gauge is 10sts x 13row over 4" square. I even washed and blocked my swatch, I never do that! Right, so using a long tail provisional cast on I started out with 25 stitches. Pause - here is a plug for this type of cast on, I like it, it was very straight forward for me. Resume - after 4 or 5 hours of knitting away, I decided I'd started out with too many stitches and ripped everything out. I ended up feeling like Goldilocks, the first hood was too big, the second one too small and the third one just right. So after working away for most of the weekend, I finally have my hood and have started the sweater body and sleeves. Katje flows smoothly from hood to sweater with no neck seam, but I think this heavier yarn needs more support, so I cast off what would become the sleeve and back neck stitches, leaving the fronts live, and then came back and kicked up and knit the sleeve and back neck stitches along with the fronts. Ummm, does that make any sense? Will this acheive the goal of adding more structure to the back neck? I don't really know, and suspect I'll find out later.

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