Yes, friends, I started yet another project. Those of you who have been following my blog for some time, will know that this is most unlike me. Am I not the obsessive finisher, the intensely monogamous, the utterly absorbed knitter? Have you ever known me to flit from project to project like a careless bee in a flower show?
And yet, my Ravelry project list shows 6 WIPs. Six!! My projects! You all may as well prepare for the sun to rise from the west tomorrow and burrow into your shelters.
Or, perhaps, let’s get all calm and analytical about this. Let’s look deep into the heart of the WIPs and see what made them what they are:
1. Cabled Bolero: Forewarned by many many Ravellers, I knew that the pattern would produce nothing like the elegant cropped cardigan in the photograph. So I looked through all the helpful notes, and then started on mine. I have a sneaking feeling that with all the mods I made, this will actually turn out fine. I also have a sneaking feeling that I’ve left it for so long, I will never find the yarn to complete the sleeves and border, and the dread of confirming that discovery has actually kept me from going to the shop and finding out. I feel this will remain a WIP for the longest time, until I gather courage to buy more yarn. That’s ok… having at least one WIP makes me feel more normal (*ducks*).
2. Seamless Hybrid: Discussed in detail here. Again, while knitting the sleeves, I had the sneaking feeling that the sweater was going to be unwearable for the recipient. So I’m glad I made the decision to turn them into leg warmers and re-start this project with soft yarn. Well, that was an easy answer! A few rounds of mindless ribbing and this can become an FO!
3. Bottoms Up: I actually have made some progress on this. Right now, it looks like a floppy model of the female reproductive system. But alas, I had to put it aside again. It’s the combination of stiff mercerised cotton, worked at a fine gauge on tiny metal needles. And millions of twisted stitches, worked back and forth. Despite the delicious colour, I actually cannot bear to work on this more than a few rows at a time. Maybe I’ll finish and wear this in 2013. I have a sneaking feeling that 1×1 rib might be hideously unflattering on my torso. I shall repress that feeling for the next few months.
4. Delysia: I haven’t started this, but really want to make it. It’s simple and elegant and I have a mod idea to make it more wearable (ie, wear it without the annoyance of a strapless bra). And I have the most decadent red yarn for it. The only reason this is nagging me is that I created a project page for it without starting anything, so that WIP tagged project box is mocking me. Right, the last sentence makes me sound really demented. I’m off to remove it from my project page and back into my Queue. I cannot believe I actually dedicated an entire paragraph to this thought process.
5. Nanook: This is almost done! Only pocket linings left to go. I love the pattern, love the yarn, love the mods I made and it fits really well. Who wants to bet how much time it’ll take me to finish two 6″ squares of knitting?
6. Dahlia: My dear, dear, Dahlia! Currently, you’re the only one justifying the P in WIP. Therefore, I shall reward you by dedicating the rest of this post to describing how I mod-ded you.
Let us commence Dahlia Analysis!
See, the back of this cardigan is just gorgeous. And the construction is so intriguing! You first make that lovely lace square. In the final round, you BO opposite sides and keep the other two sides live. Now you provisionally CO along a line that goes down your spine from nape to the top of the lace square, and knit to the right side edge of the square. Then, you separately CO another provisional line of stitches, that lie along your spine from the bottom of the square to the bottom of the cardigan, and work these straight to the right side edge of the square. Then you knit one long line, from the bottom of the cardigan, across the live stitches of the square to the top piece. From this point on, you just knit a long rectangle (leaving a slit where arm stitches will be picked up later) to the front edges. The whole process is mirrored on the other side. Finally the BO edges of the square are sewed to the fabric next to them. Looking at blocking pictures, this construction is most obvious: it is just a rectangle with the arms sticking out of the plane.
However, reading through all the project notes, there are so many complaints about the front of the cardigan! The construction makes a beautiful back but a really uncontrollable front. Without shoulder shaping there is a huge amount of fabric flopping at the top. The unstructured armscyes slip all over the place.
Now I don’t know about you all, but I am not really such a Pied Piper of the masses that I can afford to look good from the back and not the front. Neither am I in the habit of ending fights with stamping my little foot, pirouetting on my dainty heel and walking off, leaving admirers with a stunning view of my back. So this cardigan definitely needs to look as good in front as the back.
Step 1: Fix the back shoulder. Short rows, duh! Keep the neck small and the other edge long enough to match up with half the lace square. The green yarn is the waste yarn which holds the provisional CO from nape to lace square.
Step 2: Fix the bottom. This isn’t a problem, but I wanted a longer cardigan. So I just CO more stitches. And added some mild short-rowing for butt shaping.
Step 3: Shape armholes. Instead of leaving just a slit, I bound off to form the vertical edge; then working only the bottom of the cardigan decreased one stitch at the armscye for 3 rows, then knit about 2″ plain to form the bottom edge, then increased and CO stitches to mirror the shaping for the front. Here’s the shaped back shoulder, shaped bottom of cardigan, and the shaped armscye. In the next row, I will CO stitches to make the front vertical edge of the armscye.
Step 4: Fix the front shoulder: Short rows again, duh! Mirrored the shaping of the back. That’s where I am right now. This picture looks complicated, but it’s just the cardigan from the front. So you can see the WS of the lace, the armscye along the side and the shaped shoulders (front folded on back) at the top.
Next, I plan knit each front piece longer than the pattern states, and gently curving the bottom edge. And pick up stitches around that nicely shaped armscye, and shape the sleeve cap with short rows.