Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Looking Back: Sweaters I Have Loved

I have a history of making really bad yarn choices. And bad pattern/body type compatibility choices. Often both on the same sweater. Knitting was my first craft; I never did sewing or anything that would give me a foundation in garment construction. Since I adore my Gathered Pullover, which is also the most recent sweater I've made myself, I'm hoping I've learned from my mistakes. But for that theory to work, one has to ignore my attempt to merge Tussie Mussie with Rowanspun 4-Ply and convince myself the gauge was okay and then and tweak the pattern to remove most of the interesting features. I'm okay with that, actually - I cast on before I was active on Ravelry, and now I check Ravelry for pattern/yarn compatibility AND modifications (the only reason I love Gathered Pullover, which I would have hated without the mods). And I'm definitely more of a process knitter, so it's not a great tragedy to me when I don't like the result. Whatever, I had fun knitting it. However...I've knit myself ELEVEN sweaters. And only one gets a lot of wear. This is on my mind, because in the fall, I start to take cold-weather clothes down from the closet, so I have a stack of sweaters I don't wear. Poor, sad, unloved sweaters. Instead of being hard on myself for making mistakes, I thought I'd go through my sweaters and think about the positives: what I liked about them and what I learned.

Pin-Up Queen: This is actually a pretty nice sweater. It's from the Stich 'N' Bitch pattern, but I modified the sleeves to be a long stockinette bell sleeve (which I quite like). I used Cascade 220, which is a nice strong yarn that still has softness. It's a blue-green color that I like a lot. It predates blogging, so I don't have a picture. I really need a camisole to go under it, though, so I don't wear it much. The layering thing is something I really haven't mastered. I'm sort of a one-shirt-at-a-time girl, but I'm trying to embrace the versatility of layering. Hey, maybe I should go shopping...

Belle Epoque: The yarn (RYC Lux) was nice to work with, and the pattern was interesting to knit. However, an empire waist is not the best look for me, and I didn't like the elastic band method of forming one anyway. So it's more or less a comfy sack-shaped garment. Again, not the best look for me. If a pattern shows up that would be perfect for the yarn, I will definitely frog it and turn it into something wearable.

Tubey: This was a process knit. Everyone on was all excited about the creative structure, and I was, too. And it was interesting to knit. But I should know better than to knit something tube-shaped (I am NOT tube-shaped) and the design means an uncomfortably high neckline in the back.

Tempting II: This one I'm blaming on design. Sure, it's quick and easy, but an off-the-shoulder sweater pretending it's not one by using a buckle at the neckline...meh. I also lengthened the cap sleeves a bit, and I don't like the look of the longer sleeves. I do wear it sometimes, because hey, it's Rowan Calmer, which is always nice. This is the knit that made me start scrutinizing patterns more, and not just assume designers are right all the time.

Picovoli: This was fun because of the picot edging. I also added short rows, which was a great experience. I will NEVER wear this tank top, though. I followed directions exactly, which makes for a too-short, too-high-necked tank with no give (I used Knitpicks Shine, which I won't use again for sweaters...nice yarn, no stretch).

Marie Louise's Lace Sweater: I love this sweater. I haven't actually worn it in public, though, because it's quite open and I hadn't found a tank to go under it. I have a white one I think works (see above re: layering issues), though, so when it's cooler, I think I will start wearing it.

Somewhat Cowl: I like this one. Good yarn, good pattern. I ended up with a bit of a ladder at the center, though. But I realized...I don't think I've done actual blocking on this sweater! So I'm doing that today. I'm also on the fence about the short sleeves. It makes it not that practical. People who know about layering stuff: can I wear a long sleeved t-shirt under this?

T-Twist: This one is SO not my fault. The design incorporates center decreases that make a poof that looks like a third breast. It WAS fun to knit, though. Frogged.

Hourglass: Despite its name, this one is pretty sack-shaped. It was a fun knit, though, and I learned to do a sewn-edge hem, which I love. I also learned that Jo Sharp is some scratchy wool.

Simple Knitted Bodice: This was really fun to knit. I love the shaping method. Next time, I'll pay attention to the cup size of the model before casting on, though. And remember that I have a long torso and should just automatically lengthen every pattern. Another sweater I haven't actually attempted to block, though, so I'm doing that today!

Gathered Pullover: And my favorite, the Gathered Pullover. Thanks to Ravelry, I thought through the pattern and modifications that would make it a sweater I want to wear.

Ha, Holly, the Twist and Shout model totally looks like a mannequin :)


Holly said...

yeah, my hourglass still sits in the closet too. Didn't like the look on me and I made the sleeves too long. However, it was my first adult-size sweater and a GREAT learning experience. So we'll chalk it up to that!

I think you could get away with layering a long sleeve tee under the somewhat cowl. It's at least worth a try. Not sure I'd do white, but maybe gray or black...a nice brown?

Anonymous said...

Agreed - layering with a long-sleeve tee would look great with your Somewhat Cowl. I've finally given in to occasionally wearing long-sleeve things under short-sleeve things. I guess enough 14-year-olds were setting the trend that it felt safely within reasonable fashion boundaries.

Nice review of your accomplishments. The third-boob one made me laugh.

Twist and Shout is going to be a raging success to add to this list, I know it!

YarnThrower said...

Fun to see that one of the sweater photos features a view of Lake Monona :-)

I've seen several vest type garments being worn over long sleeves this year, so I think you could wear a long sleeve tee shirt under your cowel short sleeves without violating any fashion police rules. In fact, I think it would look very nice, though I'll qualify that by saying I'm not a fashionista by any stretch. However, I almost *never* wear a sweater without something under it -- I guess I'm a bit of a delicate flower that way -- so I almost always have either a tee-shirt, dress white button down shirt, or long sleeved tee under all of my sweaters. (Also, saves on washing them all the time...)

Have a great weekend! (I might catch up with my blog reading, but then again, I might not...)

Mary said...

What's funny about the T-Twist, is that even with what must have been some aggressive blocking, the pic of it on Knitty definitely still has the third boob if you're looking for it :)
And you definitely need to layer, all the shirts they seem to sell nowadays are either made for camis, are sharing a bit more with the world than I'm comfortable doing :)