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!