Zipper Installation Time

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The knitting is done!  Woohoo!  I’ve also secured the steek, cut it and bought the zipper!  I even wove the ends in!  The only thing left to do is sew the zipper in!  Naturally, this means I’m second guessing my design decisions.

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As a pullover, this sweater fit perfect.  I like pullovers with positive ease.  Only problem…it’s a cardigan.  I like my cardigans closer to zero ease.

My first thought was to re-steek the front panels to remove an inch from each side.  That’s two more steeks though…why do twice the work, when I could just trim one front side and have an asymmetric look.  Then I thought, why cut it again at all?  What if I abandoned the zipper and went for a double breasted look?

Big decision.  I’m totally undecided.  And this weekend is Stitches West, which means no time for such focused work.  I’ve got plenty of time to sleep on it.  In the meantime, I’m still wearing it…shawl pins work just fine on sweaters too!

FO Friday – The Lopi Sweater

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After many unplanned creative diversions, the sweater I started in November is finally finished**.  It’s entirely my own design.  It was a circuitous path but it was worth it.  It’s comfortable.  It fits well.  It’s close to what I had in mind when I started. Best of all, it looks good on!

The construction is both top down and bottom up.  The pieces met in the middle and were grafted together.  The body and sleeves were done bottom up and steeked.  The yoke is a top down raglan.  Not what I originally planned but it totally worked!

The yarn is Lett-Lopi, direct from Iceland!  It’s perfect for steeking!  I reinforced my stitches with a simple backstitch before cutting it open.  Picking up stitches for the button band is another layer of reinforcement.  That’s all I’m going to do to it.   Being a sticky wool, the loose ends are perfectly happy where they are.  I’m not worried about slipping or unraveling of any sort.  I’d certainly never attempt this with superwash.  No, this is Lopi in it’s glory.  This is what it excels at.

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You can see my reinforcing stitches on the right hand side…the little row of light green yarn.  And you can see my cut ends, just chilling there on the edge.  Before I added the button band this sweater kicked around for 2 weeks.  If it didn’t unravel then, it’s not going to unravel now.  Lopi is magic.  Plain and simple.

I thought about a decorative bit of ribbon to hide the mess but meh.  I don’t think it’s necessary.  The sweater hangs so well.  Nothing flips up or curls in where you don’t want it too.  I don’t think the inside will be seen often.  Everything lays perfect and flat.

Speaking of perfect and flat, check out this awesome button band…no puckering, no gaping, no unintentionally ruffles.

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And it only took one try!  It turns out, math totally works.  I’m just as amazed as you are!

I love the sleeves.  They’re long.  Worn cuffed, they’re long.  Worn with the cuff unrolled (thank you seed stitch for being lovely AND reversible!), the sleeves fall almost to the end of my fingertips…No need to carry fingerless gloves if you’ve got long sleeves!  This is the sort of personal touch that I love about knitting my own sweaters.

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The only thing I forgot to do was short row shaping at the back of the neck.  I wouldn’t mind a little bit more coverage at the back of my neck.  That’s a minor detail.  Maybe next time.

I have a feeling I’ve found my next favorite sweater!  Now…time to start plotting the next one!  It’s gonna be more green…


** My finish proclamation totally gets an asterisk.  The observant among you, and the OCD, may have noticed the stripes don’t match up.  D’oh!  My perfect button band apparently is not spaced evenly.  I put my buttons at regular intervals, not thinking to check if the stripes lined up.  Whoops.

As luck would have it, I was debating changing the buttons anyhow.  I think the antler buttons are too busy.  I should have gone with the wood buttons.  They’re birch branches from Iceland, they really belong on this sweater.  I bought they from a farmer on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.  Icelandic buttons definitely belong on an Icelandic Sweater.

So, this weekend, I’ll take the antler buttons off and put the birch buttons on and I’ll end make sure the stripes line up this time.  THEN, my sweater will be “done”.  In the meantime, I still plan to wear it…crooked stripes and all!

Work in Progress Wednesday!

Now, with actual progress!!

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Last you saw, I had hastily steeked my sweater, decided I didn’t like it and then cut it into even more pieces!   This weekend I set about to replace the circular yoke that was the deal breaker.

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The plan was to replace the bottom up circular yoke with a top down raglan and graft the pieces together in the middle.  Sounded easy enough, yes?

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As far as design choices, it took me a while but this is what I settled on.  Ultimately, it’s for the best.  I was throwing the kitchen sink at this sweater, at the risk of being too busy.   At least now it’s got one cohesive idea.  There’s still a lot going on with those stripes but less than before, and that’s a good thing!

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Ta-DA!  It looks like a sweater and I didn’t want to take it off once I put it on.  That’s the true sweater test for me.  It finally fits right!!

Now, about that button band…


An Impulse Steek

The beauty of steeking a sweater is the fast, no-purl cardigan that results.  Unfortunately, ripping & re-knitting slows the process incredibly.  After 3 tries at this circular yoke (and 3 failures), I couldn’t take it anymore.  Maybe cutting my sweater open would improve the fit?  (Ha!  Right!)

Yeah, I kinda knew I wasn’t solving my problem but I went ahead and did it anyhow.  I wanted forward momentum, even if I hit a snag.  Standing still gets nothing done and that’s where I’ve been with this sweater for weeks.

So, before I could stop to think about making a rash decision, I did it.  Reinforcing the steek was easy.  I went with a simple backstitch.  The yarn is Lett-Lopi, the classic Icelandic wool.  Lopi is, quite literally, made for steeking.  Reinforcing the stitches prior to the cut probably isn’t even necessary.  The backstitch, while not the most sturdy reinforcement, is more than enough in this case.

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Also, it’s very fast.  When making impulse decisions, fast execution is imperative.  No need to let logical and rational thought catch up. It only gets in the way.

Before I knew it, my reinforcing stitches were in place and my pullover-cardigan metamorphosis was complete.

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Sadly, my cardigan did not emerge as a beautiful butterfly but rather a lopsided moth.  It’s beautiful in its own way and it could lead a lovely life, for a moth, once it learned how to fly with lopsided wings.

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It doesn’t look too bad in the photo.  It’s got all the pieces we recognize a cardigan to have.  It’s still not quite right in the armpit though.  It’s simultaneously gaping and tight.  It’s not a comfortable sweater.   I’m blaming the circular yoke shaping.  It just doesn’t agree with me.

So, New Plan: save the sleeves & the steeked body, discard the circular yoke portion and replace it with a top down raglan portion, grafting the old pieces onto the new one.  BAM! Perfect cardigan!

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My deconstructed sweater

It’s almost like starting a new project…new cast on, new design choices to make! I predict a smashing success! (I also predict, my next sweater…I’ll just follow a pattern) (maybe) ;)