Friday, March 17, 2006

Knitting with Noodles

I wrote in a previous post that I would be starting my second Blackberry (this time actually in black) as a present to my supervisor soon. Well, here is a picture of my first effort. This also happens to be my first completed (though not the first to be started) adult-sized sweater.

I don't know about you, but I really like cardigans, shrugs and boleros. Perhaps it's because I feel the cold so easily. When I was living in Hong Kong I'd catch more colds in the summer from air-conditioned rooms than I would in the winter. (There was a study published recently supporting what the Chinese have believed for centuries: feeling/being cold can weaken your immune response so that you are more likely to catch a cold.) When I saw the Blackberry pattern I knew I would be making it. Then I went to Smiley's annual yarn sale in Manhattan and got 4 bags (12 balls) of Lion Brand Kool Wool for $2/ball!

Pattern: Blackberry by Jennifer Thurston in Knitty's Fall '05 issue
Start Date: 1 December, 2005
Finish Date: 21 January, 2006
Yarn: Lion Brand Kool Wool (50% Merino, 50% acrylic; 1.75 oz/60 yds) in Ivory (#098)
I used 10 balls.
Yarn Source: Smiley's annual Manhattan yarn sale
Needles: 6.5 mm Aero single-pointed, Size 10.5 (6.5 mm) Denise Interchangeable Needles
Gauge: 11 sts & 14 rows/4 inches-squared in st st
Size made: XS

About the Yarn: This was my first time knitting with Kool Wool, but it probably won't be my last since I bought 4 bags each in black and a deep, wine red whilst at the yarn sale. It was a fun yarn to knit, kind of bouncy and noodle-like. In fact, with the cream colour I was using, it really did resemble udon-noodles! I've had a couple of months to wear the finished product now and, unfortunately, I have to report that Kool Wool pills an awful lot, even with gentle wear. It's a good thing that this was such a quick (and inexpensive) knit, otherwise I would be a lot more upset. I wouldn't use this yarn for any heirlooms!

The pattern: The pattern was very well written and easy to follow. I particularly like the extensive sizing (from XS to 4XL; good thing, too. My supervisor is rather well-endowed), and there are notes to help you figure out which size you should be making. I love cables, but find cable needles too fiddly (perhaps I've never learned to use them properly - they slow me down considerably), so I just cabled without a needle. Not a problem, with such a bulky yarn. This really was a quick and easy knit. Don't let me start and finish dates fool you. I was knitting gifts like crazy this last Christmas, I usually have quite a number of projects going at once, and I'm easily distracted for weeks on end by work, or good books, or something.

One other thing to note: the raglan sleeves and extra bulk added by the cables and bobbles probably isn't a good idea for anyone with broad shoulders. Moocow wanted a Blackberry, too, but after trying mine on we decided it wasn't really for her. Fortunately, I have my eye on a pattern in the Holiday 2005 issue of Vogue Knitting. I can't find any pictures of it online, so I'll have to snap a picture of my magazine later to show you.

My Knit-o's: Yes, I did make some mistakes on this one. I must not have joined the yarn correctly in the middle of a row on the back piece, because there's something that looks sadly like a hole. Just a little one. I let it go, since I'd already sewn the whole darn thing up by the time I noticed it.

I also didn't pick up stitches around the edge (for the ribbing) as evenly as I should have. I picked up too many stitches at the bottom-side edges, which has caused some gathering, which affects the fit. This is especially obvious if I try to wear it with the front edges closed with a pin, the way Jennifer models it. It's a good thing I prefer to wear it open!

I'll get it right the second time 'round! Stay tuned for more pictures (dare I show you a picture of the fuzz on my poor Blackberry?) and updates on my second attempt!
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Posted by Lana to Bumbling Bees - Girls with Purls at 3/17/2006 10:02:00 AM

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