This morning before I left for work I cast off the second sleeve for the tea leaves cardi.
On the tram on the way to work I wove in some ends and picked up the stitches for the first button band. Getting button bands right is hard so I am semi resigned to the likelihood I will have to rip back and do this at least once more.
Even with some setbacks built in I am pretty sure I will have this garment finished, blocked and ready to wear this weekend to celebrate another year passing. Which is very very exciting.
I am always very cautious to start knitting adult garments (especially plus size ones!) since it's such a lot of knitting and such a lot of yarn, and my confidence about ending up with a wearable and loved item at the end is fairly low, but this time I think I might have nailed it. Given that I started to knit this just under six weeks ago, I feel I may have turned a corner in my thinking on this subject.
At least in part I have to say Ravelry makes all the difference. The ability to look at other people's attempts at a pattern is a huge advantage, you can see who looks good in it, how often it comes out looking like the styled shots that come with the pattern, what people do that makes it look less than ideal. Looking through a gallery of yarn choices, degrees of ease, pattern modifications, common problems and mistakes all remove variables from the mix. One of the reasons I chose tea leaves for this project was the consistently good results people seemed to get.
I've also decided that unseamed garments, those knit in one piece, are generally easier to finish well, seem to knit faster, are easier to alter to fit and generally look better on. I'm telling my current lot of students that I think 'mastering' this construction style opens up a lot more options faster for beginners and generally results on better looking results and I really wish I'd worked this out long ago.
But I would also heartily recommend anyone who is feeling a bit nervous about adult garment knitting to read this excellent series about choosing garments to flatter your shape. And now that I really understand about gauge and ease as well as shape, I put a lot more time into preparation after pattern choice too. The right yarn knitted at the right tension and good garment sizing makes all the difference in the world.
So next up will be a mini manu cardi for Amy I think and then a good basic warm winter jumper for me (so I can finally pass on the enormous dropped shoulder boxy bulky one I've had since mum and I knitted it in the early 80's. Ouch!). I am thinking either the Ingenue or the Hourglass. Opinions?