Tuesday, 8 June 2010

I think I can, I think I can....

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?

13 comments:

flamehair said...

I have the same reasons for not knitting myself anything. An adult sized project uses way more yarn (which is more expensive) and takes more time (which is precious.) But my husband has been pushing me to knit something I can enjoy for myself so I think I have finally settled on a hooded jumper. And I too have Ravelry to thank for it.
Personally I like the Hourglass jumper more but I think that is tempered by my preference for a simple neckline.

peskypixies said...

I love my tea leaves and wear it often.

I like the Hourglass jumper myself.

Maureen said...

Both sweaters are lovely but I'd go for the Hourglass. Having said that as a rather buxom woman I've always found those boat shaped necks a little unflattering (gives me the look of a shelf) but am ready to be convinced otherwise.

The mini manu is beautiful !

MildlyCrafty said...

Ravelry is awesome isn't it! I am totally impressed by the idea and the execution, it's made a huge difference to my knitting.

Kate said...

I vote Ingenue! I love the stitch pattern on the collar, the top down seamless construction, and that, because it has the wide collar, it a. doesn't matter what you wear under it, and b. has a bit more structure.
I have seen so many comments on ravelry about people being unhappy with their hourglass, especially the neckline...

Kate said...

Totally agree about ravelry - it really is so useful to see what everyone else has done and what they changed and what yarn they used. I cast on for an hourglass once, but read so many things about the neckline that I frogged it (I like to alter sewing, not knitting), but it does have a really nice shape.

Trash said...

Is this a hint of a birthday I hear in the offing? How exciting. Do you have plans to wear finished tea leaves somewhere rather lovely?

sooz said...

It is Trash, and I bloody well hope so. It's the bloke's job to sort the itinerary, so the pressure's on and there will be pouting if he drops the ball.

nikkishell said...

The only other garment i have knit for myself is the Hourglass(http://nikkishell.typepad.com/nikkishell/knitting/). Unfortunately when i washed it the sleeves stretched. I cried and now it's sat in my drawer waiting to be fixed. I've been thinking of doing that while knitting Tea Leaves.

nicole said...

If I was knitting it for me I'd go with the hourglass, because I couldn't deal with the neckline in the Ingenue jumper.
But I think the Ingenue neckline will really look awesome on you, you have some tops with stuff going on at the neckline (pin tucks and things like that) and those suit you really well!

Belinda said...

I like both jumpers, but have small issues with both -
the neckline on the Hourglass, and the length of the Ingenue, looks a bit short in the photo.

I think either would suit you Sooz, but the Ingenue looks a little more special, so why not go for that :)

angelasavage said...

Sooz, you already know my personal preference for the Ingenue, but I also agree with Nicole's comments and believe the Ingenue will suit you better. I can see you in it more easily than the Hourglass. Looking forward to seeing Tealeaves in the flesh/yarn.

angelasavage said...

Sooz, you already know my personal preference for the Ingenue, but I also agree with Nicole's comments and believe the Ingenue will suit you better. I can see you in it more easily than the Hourglass. Looking forward to seeing Tealeaves in the flesh/yarn.