Andrew has a sweater!

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Andrew in his new sweater, side view

It’s done! I finished the finishing work yesterday, wove in all the ends, and gave it a good bath, and after a full night drying in the bathroom with our box fan blowing on it, it was ready to be buttoned up on my darling husband. I’m so delighted with how it turned out, especially after the disaster that was my first attempt at a sweater for him.

Here are the details:
Ravelry Project Page

All Posts on Andrew’s Sweater
Pattern: My own, using Elizabeth Zimmermann’s “Seamless Hybrid” construction
Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers, just shy of 7 skeins, in “Aporto”
Buttons: One-of-a-kind wooden buttons, from Wooden Treasures
Needles: size 8
Time to knit: slightly over one month

And here, for your enjoyment, are a couple more photos. One from the front:

Andrew in his new sweater!

And one from the back:

Andrew in his new sweater, back view

I so love the way the shoulder/back shaping worked out! And I’m just tickled with how nice the narrow columns of garter stitch along the button bands look, and all of the little touches I put in the finishing just make me so happy. Doesn’t my husband look handsome in it, too?

it’s a new year.

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So let’s start with an “old” project! Here is my darling husband’s sweater, so ridiculously close to completion it isn’t even funny:

all but done.

All that’s left to do is some end-weaving (the ends are more numerous than you’d expect, given that I spit-spliced wherever possible!), a little bit of buttonhole cleanup, a good blocking, and putting the buttons on. But since the buttons aren’t due to arrive in the mail for a few days, there’s no big rush. I want to make sure I documented the finishing work before I forget what I did, so here goes:

closeup of collar treatment

To make the collar, I picked up stitches from the neck opening, and knit 7 inches in garter rib. I then folded the ribbing, and bound off, knitting the stitches together with the backs of the picked up stitches in the process to get a nice clean edge. I love the way this makes for a nice squishy collar.

Button Band & Steek Facing

After I steeked and knit the collar, I picked up and knit stitches for the button band in my main color, using EZ’s trusty 2:3 ratio. Then I knit 7 rows in stockinette (making 3-stitch button holes on the side where that was needed) before knitting a purl turning row. I then switched to smaller needles, and my contrast color, and continued in stockinette to make a facing for the button band. (EDIT: I also made corresponding button holes in the contrast color to line up with the ones I made in the main color, on the button hole side).

At the very end of this, I switched back to my main color, and knit the stitches together with the backs of the stitches in the pick-up row, but did not bind off. Instead, I continued knitting in my main color, to create a facing to cover the steek stitches. Once I’d knit five more rows, I bound off by picking up stitches from the far side of the garter stitch column that borders the button bands, knitting them together with the stitches being bound off. This process took forever but made for a beautifully finished edge, with nicely covered steeks, so that my husband doesn’t have to worry about them.

Button Bands, front view

I’m so delighted with how nicely this sweater has turned out. I can’t wait to show it off in all its finished glory, once I do the last bit of finishing work. It is going to look so good on my husband!

I have a new project on the needles now, but I’ll save that for another post. Perhaps later today, even! Happy New Year, everyone!

steeked!

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Now here’s the sweater, in all it’s post-steeking glory:

steeked!

For the crochet-reinforcements, I used Knitpicks Palette, in “Sky”, which was the only fingering-weight non-superwash wool I had in my stash that came close to being appropriate, color-wise. It’s not quite the same color as the Patons Merino I’m using on the hem facings, but it’s pretty close.

I have to admit, I was actually more stressed out by the crochet than I was by the cutting! I am just very awkward at crochet, at least right now. I did figure it out about halfway through, though. The resulting crochet-reinforcements looked pretty cool, almost like a zipper:

ready to go!

Here’s a closeup:

closeup of crocheted steek

And here’s an even closer-up, where you can see how the crochet wraps the stitches on either side of the central ladder (which is what you cut):

crocheted steek

And here’s the moment of truth, in which I take scissors to my own knitting:

moment of truth. [365.205]

Pretty exhilarating! Next, I’m going to knit up the collar, and then the button bands. I’m so close to the end! Just like 2008 :)

so close!

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I finished the main part of the knitting on my husband’s sweater this morning! Here it is, in all it’s yet-to-be-steeked glory:

So close!

Some knitty-gritty details, mostly for my own reference: My saddles were 28 stitches wide, plus an edge stitch on either side. I left 18 stitches (9 on either side of the steek) unsaddled in front. To finish the back, I bound off 14 stitches from the front end of each saddle (because I forgot I really had 30 stitches!), and then bound off another stitch on the front-edge twice after that to make it so that I actually had 14 stitches. I saddled towards the center on both sides to use up the rest of the back stitches (but wound up kitchenering the saddles together more towards the left shoulder than the center).

Now that I’ve confused everyone who is not already familiar with the Seamless Hybrid construction, here is a pretty closeup of the result of the shaping:

Closeup of Seamless Hybrid Shaping

And, just because I couldn’t help myself, here’s what it looks like when I put it on over my Bohus Yoke sweater:

I just had to do it.

There’s plenty of room leftover, but since I am rather small, and my husband is average-guy sized, it should be fine. Hooray, math!

So now all that’s left is the steeking. I am going to reread a few tutorials on steeking tonight, and make sure I can find my Knitpicks Palette in a similar light blue to my contrast hems, to use for the crochet reinforcements. And then tomorrow, I will celebrate the end of this year by slicing through my own knitting! Eeeek!

all together now

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Yesterday morning, I joined the sleeves to the body of my husband’s sweater, and started happily knitting the Seamless Hybrid shaping. Here, for your enjoyment, is a picture of how it looks with everything on the needles:

all together now

(My apologies for the terrible photos lately; there’s only so much I can do when the sun refuses to shine brightly enough through the window!)

The rounds seem to take forever now, which I suppose is hardly surprising, given how many stitches there are between the body and the two sleeves (281, to be precise). But they’re going faster and faster as I decrease, so I’m hoping I can finish this part of the knitting soon! Then there’s the steeking, which still frightens the heck out of me, and then (assuming I don’t destroy the sweater in the process of steeking) I’ll put on the collar and button bands, and he’ll have himself an awesome sweater!

how I spent my Christmas Day

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Watching an all-day Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon on the SciFi channel

a good day. [365.199]

while knitting the second sleeve of my husband’s sweater. And yes, I really did knit the entire second sleeve. Here’s proof:

two sleeves!

So now I am all set to join these to the body and start making the Seamless Hybrid shaping. Except that I can really feel in my hands and wrists this morning that I did a bit too much knitting yesterday, so I probably won’t tackle the next stage of the sweater until at least tomorrow.

a snowy Solstice

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We had a very snowy Solstice (see my flickr set here for pictures!), and we’ve both thoroughly worn ourselves out with all of the shoveling we had to do. So what better time to update the blog?

Mai asked on my last post for me to explain a little bit about the Solstice. The Wikipedia articles on Solstice and the Winter Solstice do a pretty good job of explaining the astronomical background as well as the ways in which various cultures have celebrated this event. For us, celebrating the Solstice makes a lot of sense; we’re not religious (and thus don’t feel tied to any of the religious holidays celebrated this time of year), and we already have a custom of celebrating our marriage each Solstice and Equinox (we were married on the Spring Equinox in 2005). And I simply can’t imagine something more worth celebrating than the return of lighter, brighter days!

I had hoped to be a lot more prepared for the Solstice this year. I wanted to make stockings for each of us, and to have a few handknit goodies finished for my darling husband. Alas, life has sort of gotten in the way, but I did the best I could:

Andrew's Solstice "stocking"

I made him a “stocking” out of construction paper, crayons, and a set of penguin stickers I found in a drawer, and filled it with miniature construction paper representations of the handknit goodies that were not yet finished. At least the dark chocolate orange wasn’t made out of paper! I was quite tickled with my “pseudostocking”, and he enjoyed it as welll.

So, what are those two handknit goodies he has yet to receive? The first one is pretty obvious, since I’ve been blogging about it for awhile: his Seamless Hybrid. I made good progress on it over the weekend, and am nearly done with the first sleeve:

andrew's sleeve

The other handknit goodie hasn’t gotten a mention here on the blog yet, because I haven’t even started them! I realized a few weeks ago that I had been promising to knit my husband a pair of mittens for quite awhile now, but had never gotten so far as to even pick out a pattern. So we sat down together and looked through some mitten patterns on Ravelry, and he picked out Adrian’ gorgeous Fiddlehead Mittens. Here are the yarns I’ll be using:

andrew's mittens

Cascade 220 in “Chocolate Heather” and “Celery Heather”, with Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light in “Pea Soup Mix” for the lining. They’re going to be awesome. You know, when I get around to knitting them!

I also have another fun project that I’m waiting to unveil for the New Year…stay tuned!

I hope all of you have a wonderful midwinter celebration, whatever it is that you celebrate!

a sleeve for the snowstorm

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We are having some crazy snowstorms here today, so I’ve been camped out inside all day since getting back from our last-minute run to Wegmans, because we were totally due for groceries today, anyway. And guess what?

sleeve!

I started a sleeve! I reached the end of the body last night (at least, I think I did…I can always add a few more rows before I join the sleeves, if we decide it needs a little more length), so there was nothing to do but start the sleeve. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my size 6 dpns (or perhaps never had any to begin with, though I’d find that hard to believe!), and since I needed to knit the facing on smaller needles than the sleeve, I was stuck knitting the facing flat.

It wasn’t too terrible, though, and soon I was able to switch to my wonderful size 8 KnitPicks Harmony dpns and go flying in the round. I did the same knit-in hem as I’d done for the body, casting on in the main color, then switching to the contrast color for 8 rows, then back to the main color again for one more row, and then the turning row in the larger needles. I just love how the hem facings look!

I’m already contemplating the finishing on this sweater. There’s the steeking, of course, which I have to admit I’m still slightly terrified of doing. But after that, I’ll need to put on a collar, and a button band. I’m thinking of following Kristen’s lead, and doing the same fold-over hem sort of thing with the button bands as I’ve already done on the bottom hems. Wouldn’t that look cool, with a contrast color on the inside of the button bands? The only thing I worry about is whether it would be too heavy. I’m also thinking of doing something similar for the collar; my tentative plan is that it will be in garter rib (incorporating that narrow column of garter stitch that is currently on either side of the steek), but that it, too, will fold over and be lined in the contrast color. What do y’all think?

progress on all fronts

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The stash sale/Heifer International Fundraiser is still going strong. I’ve shipped off all of the yarn that’s been purchased so far, and after shipping costs, we’ve raised $210 for Heifer International already! There’s still a fair amount left, so if you’re interested in taking some of the yarn I can’t knit with off my hands and supporting Heifer at the same time, click on that link and take a look.

I’m making progress on several other fronts, as well. On the academic front, the semester is all but finished here; all that remains is grading the 93 final project reports that are due by 5pm on Sunday. Tutoring is done for the semester, and so is Symphony. And I’ve now got subjects running in a new study, and a tentative timeline for some important stuff like comprehensive exams and such. Yay!

I’m moving right along on my husband’s sweater, too:

Andrew's Sweater

I’m getting quite close to reaching the underarms, at which point I’ll set it aside and knit a pair of sleeves. The sleeves should be fun, since the increases will give me something to pay attention to. The lack of shaping in men’s sweaters makes for very easy, but somewhat boring knitting!

And finally, there’s this:

test mittens

I’m test-knitting Pam’s new mitten pattern, in the most predictable colors EVER. As has already been pointed out to me, these are the exact some colors as I used for my Cobblestone Sweater, except this time the yarn is Cascade 220. What can I say? I like blue and green. These are going to be some very bright, happy mittens. And who doesn’t want bright, happy mittens when Winter is being dark and gloomy?

Speaking of Winter being dark and gloomy, I am very much looking forward to the upcoming Solstice. The Solstice is the holiday my husband and I celebrate this time of year. I can’t think of anything more worth celebrating right now than the return of brighter days! I hope that y’all have wonderful mid-winter holidays, whichever ones you choose to celebrate!

moving along

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progress!

As you can see, the Husband Sweater v.2 is moving along quite well. At first, I was getting frustrated with how long it took me to finish a round, but then I reminded myself that I’m used to knitting sweaters for me. And I’m a pretty small person. For Andrew’s sweater, I’m aiming for a circumference of about 44″ (he’s bigger than me, and likes a fair amount of ease in his sweaters). My standard sweater-circumference is 35″ (which gives me 3.5″ of ease), so that’s an entire 11″ more worth of stitches every round on this sweater compared to what I’m used to. No wonder it’s taking longer to knit one round!

I’ve made peace with the longer trip around the needles now, though, and I’m quite enjoying this knit. Cascade 220 is such a nice, basic yarn, and I love how it feels running through my fingers. Soft, yet sturdy. And the color! I’m using “Aporto”, and it is just the most gorgeous heathered blue, with a tiny touch of green. Here’s hoping the rest of the project can remain as blissful as this.

back in the saddle

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Andrew's sweater, take 2

As you can see, it didn’t take me long to dust myself off and get right back to knitting a sweater for my husband. All it took was some more measuring and some negotiations on the matter of what would constitute the “perfect” sweater. The conclusion is that this will be a fairly plain cardigan, based on Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Seamless Hybrid design. I’m knitting it in the round, so as to be able to finish it faster.

Andrew's sweater, take 2

cardigan + knitting-in-the-round = STEEKS!

That’s right, I’m going to be cutting through my own knitting for the very first time with this sweater. I’m slightly terrified, but am well-armed with tutorials on the matter, so I think I’ll be fine. As you can see in that picture, before joining the sweater to be knit in the round, I did do some flat knitting. We had decided that turned hems would look more flattering on this sweater than ribbing, and my husband thought it would be fun to have a contrasting hem-facing, just like my Bohus Yoke sweater. It turned out that the very yarn that I used for my hem facings in that sweater looked great with the yarn I’m using for his sweater:

Andrew's sweater, take 2

Here’s how I did this, for anyone who’s never knit-in a hem before: I cast-on, using backwards-loop, onto smaller needles, in my main color, and then switched to the contrast color for the next row. I knit 8 rows of stockinette in the contrast color, and then switched to the main color again for one more row. Then I knit a turning row (which would be purled on the right side, but I was on the wrong side, so it was knit), and then switched to larger needles for outside part of the hem. When I’d knit enough rows on the outside of the hem to be able to fold up the inside of the hem and have the cast-on row be even with the current row, I knit each stitch together with its corresponding cast-on stitch (this is why backwards loop works so well for the cast-on!). When I got to the end of that row, I cast on 7 extra stitches (for my steek; 2 purl stitches on either side of 5 central knit stitches) and joined to knit in the round.

The sweater itself is going to be fairly plain; it will have a collar, and will almost certainly be finished with a button-band. As much as I’d love to go hog-wild with cables and detailing, that’s just not what this sweater needs. I’ll knit something fancier for him down the road, if he’ll take it. The lone detail (at least so far) on this sweater is a simple 2-stitch column of garter stitch, separated from the steek by a single knit stitch:

Andrew's sweater, take 2

I think it adds a nice little touch. So anyway, that’s what I’m up to. We’ll see how quickly I can knit this one up!