It turns out that my Christmas yarn suppliers DID send all of the yarn I ordered! When I opened the bag, the missing yarn was easier to spot. I was very happy to see this and have mentally returned Knit Picks to their rightful status (excellent service). With that, I got started right away on a sleeve/swatch.
For my ongoing learning, I decided to try a seamless raglan sweater from the bottom up this time. One advantage already taken: the ability to start a sleeve with “best guess” cast-on and needles and use it as a swatch. If it HAPPENS to be perfect, you can just sail onward! It didn’t. I had actually already done a small quick swatch to get a first guess on the needle size. What I wanted from the sleeve was a) a bigger swatch to confirm the stitch and row gauge, b) an eyeball of the color combination and c) a sanity check against the model sweater. Stitch and row gauge were fine, but the other stuff? Not so much!
I was using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s percentage system (EPS) for a sweater with a 44 inch body and my gauge. It’s described in both “Knitting Without Tears” and “Knitting Around”, although the raglan instructions (not needed until you get to the top of the sweater) are only included in the former. I followed the recommendation of casting on 20% of the stitches for the sleeve on smaller needles for the ribbed cuff. I did all of the increases and then compared the sleeve to the model sweater. Eww! I believe these instructions will produce a fine sweater for someone who likes a form-fitting look. Some guys do … but hubby does not! So, back to the drawing board on the pattern.
I also decided I didn’t like the color combination. It’s OK, but the lighter purple doesn’t contrast enough with the main color. It looks kinda muddy. Funny thing is: that yarn is left over from my Coin Cable Raglan. It’s very nice on its own. I looked at it closely (it’s a heather) and picked colors I “saw” in it to make my yarn choices for this sweater. Just for your info, the original colorway is Knit Picks’ Wool of the Andes “Claret Heather”. The colorways I chose are “Dove Heather”, “Black Cherry Heather” and the main color: “Blackberry”. I was puzzling over the color quandary when I remembered a big lovely hank of Cascade Eco-Wool Plus in the “Spruce” colorway. It’s a tad heavier, but will be fine in the small quantities I intend to use! Oh yes, MUCH better!
I looked through my books and found “The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns” by Ann Budd. She also has instructions for a bottom-up seamless raglan sweater and (yay!) it looks as if they’re written for a baggier look. After studying this book yesterday morning, I made several design decisions. First, I have eliminated the ribbed cuff. If hubby likes the sweater loose, why bother? The above picture shows a purl hem. Same technique as for the picot edging on the Esther Socks, but a straight purl at the folding point instead of the eyelet stuff. Second, I plan to increase the sleeves at a slightly quicker rate so I have more room to knit straight at the top. I have plans to put some decoration there.
Third, I was worried all along about the collar because hubby has a big head. This book has instructions for a v-neck, so what the heck! And a shawl collar, so there. I made a v-neck this past summer (just remembered) so that problem’s definitely solve. Finally, the book has instructions for whole-number gauges only. That is, for 4 stitches to the inch and 5 stitches to the inch, but not 4 1/2 (my gauge). I don’t care to swatch again because I’m happy with this fabric. No prob. The book includes instructions for handling this. I wrote out the whole program and double-checked my written work with the final stitch-count after all of the raglan decreases. The instructions don’t include any short rows at the neck for a better fit. I may go back to EZ for that, we’ll see. OK, time to get knitting!