Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Lemonade from Lemons: Another Baby Gift

Just a quick post to show off my latest finished project. This cute little sweater is based on a Sirdar pattern purchased from Patternfish. (Have you heard of Patternfish? No? Check them out!)

I completed the body and edgings first, then started on the sleeves. This is not my usual order of business, but I couldn't wait to see how the ruffle would turn out. This was good, because I ran into some trouble with the sleeves fitting into the caps. I may have ripped the entire thing out in frustration if I didn't have a nearly completed sweater batting its eyes at me, waiting sweetly for its sleeves.

After a couple of days of research and thought, I ended up trying out an unusual technique of knitting the sleeves downward from the armholes. (I've done this several times with a square armhole, but it's much trickier with a set-in sleeve.) I followed the formula for "afterthought sleeves" in Wendy Bernard's Custom Knits, but I know a similar method is explained in Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top.

This worked great, except that it made a wider sleeve than intended in the pattern, which therefore required more yarn. Since I was working with a limited amount of yarn (cf. my "Yarn Out" Challenge), I decided to make short sleeves instead of long. To deal with the extra width, I decreased one-third of the stitches at the armband, resulting in a cute puffed look. (Yeah, I meant to do that all along.) Talk about lemonade from lemons! I may start doing this kind of sleeve on purpose for girls' spring and summer sweaters from now on.

Another "glass of lemonade" resulted when the buttonhole turned out to be too small. The size of button that would fit through it looked puny and insignificant in comparison with the rest of the sweater. I had the idea to make a snap closure instead, using the small button as the center of a sweet flower on top. Now that's more like it! Amazing how a project can turn out even better than the original when creativity and determination meet unexpected problems . . . . {Ravelry link}

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