Friday, November 24, 2006

FO: Courtney's placket sweater

This is my first completed hand-knitted holiday gift of the season. Yikes! I'm probably going to have to set my holiday knitting goals a little lower in order to preserve my sanity.


- Yarn substitution. This was my first experience with Tess' Designer Yarns, and I really enjoyed it. I bought this 570-yard hank of yarn at Brooklyn General with what was left of my gift certificate. I had been intending to go with RYC CashSoft DK, but they don't carry it at Brooklyn General. The nice woman who worked there suggested Tess' yarn, and it was love at first sight. The hand-painted color is beautiful and organic-looking, subtly variegated, and, I think at least, unusual in a good way for a little girl's sweater. (Courtney has so much pink and purple clothing already!) This yarn is soft in the skein, and I found that it gets even softer after knitting up and washing. I kept stroking the swatch and rubbing it against my cheek. It's superwash, unlike the Koigu Kersti suggested in a pattern. My only complaint with this yarn is that there were a couple of spots where it was a bit frayed. There were no knots at all; I guess it's acceptable to have a couple defects in such a giant skein. This yarn is light worsted, as opposed to the DK weight Koigu Kersti. My stitch gauge came out to 21 sts = 4" just as the pattern calls for, but I got 28 rows to 4" rather than 32.

- Added 1" to the sleeve length. Courtney just turned 2, and though she is small for her age, when I had knitted a sleeve to the pattern's specifications, it just looked too short (and I confirmed this by checking the baby size chart). I figure they can always be rolled up if they are too long.

- Picked up the 5 stitches for the placket, instead of using cable cast-on and sewing them on later. A cable needle helped to keep the two placket layers separated while they were too short to sit side by side on the circular needle.

- Added buttonholes and buttons. I found the buttons at M&J Trimming, which is just a couple blocks from where I work. They are clear plastic, with flowers painted onto the bottom -- they almost look like real pressed flowers.

- Reversed the placket. This was accidental, but it's my understanding that small children's clothes are meant to have the buttons on the other side anyway, since they generally do not dress themselves.

- Started seed stitch for neckband a row early, worked 6 rows of seed stitch instead of 8. I didn't want such a high collar.

- Upper body is a bit longer due to different row gauge. This should add some extra ease around the shoulders, which seems like a good idea for an active 2-year-old.

Note on Lion Brand plastic double-pointed needles: they rattle! I don't know why they didn't just make them solid. They seem to have some sort of core floating inside. I bought these at A.C. Moore due to lack of other options at the time. I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to buy these needles in the future. I also found them to be a little too slippery for dpns, which may have been part of the reason why I knitted the first sleeve super tightly. I had to rip out that sleeve and start over, thinking "loose, loose, loose" the whole time. A couple times my knitting slipped off one of the needles, but the yarn wasn't very slippery so hardly any stitches dropped.

Courtney's placket sweater
Started: Nov. 6
Finished: Nov. 22
Pattern: Child's placket sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, corrected version found here. Size: 1-2 years. See modifications above.
Yarn: Tess' Designer Yarns Superwash Merino, 1 skein
Needles: US 7 Denises (21" circular), US 7 dpns (Lion Brand plastic)

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