Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Finished: One Annoying Sweater (Preview)

Work travel craziness continues here at casa Clio. Sewing is at an all time low, but I seem to be knitting up a storm. Travel has that effect on my creative output.

I finally finished the sweater that I began knitting during my epic fail weekend back in December. I've come to call it my "annoying sweater" because it's taken so long and, well, there were multiple annoying things about it.


This is Kirsten Johnstone's Amime sweater, a "Wonderfully light, open weave knitted texture – perfect for popping over a tee, dress or blouse. Knit this generously sized top down with unique wide neck with raglan sleeves for minimal finishing." The pattern is easy enough, so I really wasn't expecting trouble. But trouble there was. Here is my list of petty grievances - not with the pattern but mostly with the yarn...

First, one of the two called-for yarns is Habu Textiles' Kibiso Silk. It feels like barbed wire when you knit it. I can't imagine how it would feel on. I promptly decided not to continue with this yarn.

Next, I replaced the offending yarn with a Shibui 60% silk/40% mohair blend yarn. I thought it would look nice, yet somehow I missed the apparently well circulated memo on mohair: it is near impossible to frog or unknit. I learned this the hard way. 

Another lesson I learned the hard way is that the other called-for yarn - Habu Textiles' silk with stainless steel core - has no stretch or give whatsoever. I knew this, but did not quite appreciate the implications. Even though my neckline rows were on gauge and had plenty of mechanical stretch, the cast on row was so inflexible that it wouldn't stretch to fit over my head. Thankfully, I learned this only 10-14 rows in. Awful frogging ensued.

Additionally, this sweater was knit on circular needles and I failed - again - to recognize the impact of the non-stretchy yarn. It knit just fine, but after snaking around the cable of the circular needle, it was impossible to get back onto the needle part to knit the next row. I solved this by knitting the stitches with the correct size needle, but using a smaller needle to knit the stitches off of. Thank goodness I own an interchangeable circular needle set. 

Penultimately, because of my cast on problems, I used the stretchiest bind off in my repertoire. It was still too inflexible. So, I had to unpick the bind off, get the stitches back onto the needle and bind off again, deliberately keeping things very loose. This is an awful job.

Finally, now I think my bind off is too loose. 

Here's a better picture of what the stitches look like.

Aside from my knitting issues, I'm not sure I really blocked this sweater well and it's totally my fault. I set it to soak and walked away for 20 minutes which turned into several hours. I only remembered the soaking sweater at past-my-bedtime and hastily pinned it to my blocking mat. We'll have to see once I decide to wear it.

Have you ever had a project that was incredibly annoying and yet somehow you got thru it?  Did you end up liking it in the end or was it forever a black sheep?


Clio said...

Habu is definitely for the product knitters rather than the process knitters. The specialty yarns are not easy to knit and mostly lack elasticity. Then they droop. Yet, they droop with a certain je nais ce quoi that makes me forgive them.

Clio said...

So true. I do like how this looks. I'm just not quite over the annoyance.

Clio said...

Oh my gaaawd you have some amazing perseverance -- I am positive that I would have chucked it somewhere around the no-stretch neckline. But I wouldn't have ended up with this *awesome sweater* as a result, so congrats on plowing through. I hope you're able to overcome the annoyance!

Clio said...

I think knitting while traveling for work helped - when the choice was knit an annoying sweater or do nothing, I chose the sweater. But I did take a lot more hiatuses from it than a normal project. Usually I plow thru.

Clio said...

I end up either frogging or throwing away, it has happened to me a few times. At this point, after hearing from you and others - I don't think I'll ever knit with Habu. Sure they have a gimmick - but I doubt it will end up in a project I would actually enjoy.

Clio said...

Oh, I've been there. I've had annoying projects that I got through that I never could stand to look at again (cuz they really didn't work well). I've had annoying projects that I got through that I love. And I've had the ones I'm totally ambivalent about. I don't think you can know how it's going to work till you get home, unpin and try it on. But let us know!

Clio said...

i know very little about knitting, but this does sound like an annoying project. good for you for completing it!

Clio said...

At first glance, I thought this was made of steel wool! You know, as one uses to scrape off the horrid bits of food burned onto the bottom of every pan you own ... perhaps you don't have this problem as often as do I. Anyway, yes, sometimes I power through a project that annoys and disgusts me, and then give it away: to unsuspecting thrift stores, or to persons to whom I am obligated to give a gift but whom I don't particularly like. Last night I took the blouse which was completely done and fitted well except for the sleeves -- those damned sleeves never never never turned out right or even wearable, even after removing all the french seaming and re-shaping the armscye and re-inserting the sleeves auuuuggghhh -- and donated it to my trash can. I did not even salvage the button.

Clio said...

LOL - I'm going to have to remember to "donate" projects to my trash can every so often - a peace offering to the goddess of wadders.

Actually, since I swapped out the Kibiso silk for mohair, this sweater is actually very very soft and not at all steel wool-like. That kibiso silk was like steel wool.

Clio said...

I have lingering doubts. I could have saved it! It's still there until trash pick-up tomorrow morning ... Pray for me. I have been known to hoard unsalvageable goods.