Knitting Journal (4)

I’ve made two new tops since the last post, from the yarn that was meant for the Denali Sweater (see here).

First, an exploration in sleeves, body shaping, and hems with the teal top. I made a short-sleeved top very loosely following this pattern that included some decreases then increases going up the body. I followed instructions for a knit hem from the Purl Soho along the bottom of the shirt and arms. I don’t love how thick these hems are, especially the arms (and sometimes they sort of flip up, which I’ve now read is a common problem). I would change to a thinner yarn on the inside of the hem or just a thinner yarn overall if I were to do this again. A thinner yarn for just the inside means you have to figure out gauge so the height/width of the inside still match the outside, and that sounds like more effort than I’m willing to put in currently.

Here are a few progress pics of this top:

As you can sort of see in the second of these , the hem around the neckline is something that gave me quite a bit of trouble. I wanted to finish it the same way I did the bottom and sleeves (double hem), but it did not look good – it sort of wanted to turn out to be perpendicular to the body of the shirt. My next solution was to make an i-cord and just sew it on along the edge. I thought this was good enough and even wore it once this way, but you could still see the uneven teal edge, and I wasn’t completely happy with it. In the end, I redid it using this tutorial for an attached i-cord from the Purl Soho. In the end, I don’t think I’ll make another top like this. I don’t love the shaping in the body, the thick hems along the arms, and the stripes are kind of boring compared to all that’s possible when you’re making your own clothes.

The teal top used basically all of two skeins of We Are Knitters yarn and almost all of the leftovers I had of green We Are Knitters yarn from previous projects.

The second top in black and natural is my new favorite! I Frankenstein-ed another Purl Soho tutorial for pattern from the mosaic blanket (pattern repeated only 1.5 times as shown in their swatches) with my already-modified Slushies Top pattern and a few additional modifications to adjust the fit and account for the pattern repeat on the mosaic pattern. The top was 75 stitches wide, started with a long-tail cast on rather than trying to get fancy with the hem, was around 20 (?) rows longer than my previous variation on the Slushies Top, and obviously didn’t have all the diamond-shaped yarn-overs. I did have to do some ripping back because I didn’t make it long enough the first time. This was partly because I wasn’t totally sure that I would have enough yarn to make it as long as I preferred, so when I saw that I did have enough, I went back and added more rows.

A handy trick I now use for evaluating how much more yarn I’ll need is weighing the remaining yarn and project so far on a kitchen scale. In this case, I had knitted the back, decided it was too short, ripped back to the beginning of the shaping for the armholes, weighed what I just took out so that I would know what I would end up needing after adding rows, and set aside the same amount for the front (the front neckline is lower, so it should use less yarn, so this was a conservative estimate). Then, I divided the yarn available to add extra length to both front/back in two so I’d be able to add the same number of rows to each. In this case, my yarn was already in lots of smaller balls because of having previously been knit into the Denali top, but you could use similar strategies by weighing your fabric as you go, as long as you take into account that sometimes you knit tighter/looser and future-you might need more yarn than past-you. It ended up not being an issue at all, though. I have quite a bit of black and white yarn left over. So this top took (less than) two skeins of white yarn and one of black.

To finish this top, I used the attached i-cord around the neckline, left the bottoms of the shirt open for a different style, and picked up stitches around the open part of the sides and along the arm holes then immediately bound off (following the instructions I used for the neckline of my original Slushies Top). This made the arms and neck substantially tighter than before, which was ok in this case, because they were bigger than necessary, but I would think about adjusting this in the future to not change the fit as much.

I’ll definitely be thinking about more mosaic knitting in the future, because it was awesome! Immediate future knitting plans include: finding yarn that is similar enough to the expensive sock yarn I bought to knit a pair of socks with (getting the fit of socks right sounds like it’s a whole thing), making a decision about some other really cool hand dyed yarn I bought while on vacation — am I going to try to find something that matches it and make a sweater, or just make another tank top? The tank tops are very wearable, but I do want a hand-knit sweater. Longer term future knitting plans include trying a garment with substantially thinner yarn/smaller needles, which will let me produce a thinner, hopefully drape-ier fabric, and give me a chance to explore more fun, graphic, colorful patterns.

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