Last week (Wednesday, to be exact) I started swatching for Rosamund's Cardigan with my lovely birthday yarn, Mirasol Sulka. The yarn gauges were similar for Sulka and the yarn the pattern called for, Tahki Rio. In fact, the Rio's label calls for a slightly larger gauge than the Sulka.
Regardless, I dutifully set up my size 6 (4mm) and 8 needles (5mm) needles and cast on for the swatch.
The pattern calls for a gauge of 19 stitches and 26 rows = 4 inches in reverse stockinette on the size 8 needles. Ok. I cast on 19 stitches, knit a couple of rows and have a swatch of about 7 inches. Obviously not getting gauge. I try again, this time on the size 6 needles. Not only is it damnably hard to knit with such a big yarn on size 6 needles, it only reduced my swatch to six inches.
At that point I gave up. I was questioning my own sanity. What is the point, after all, of knitting with a bulky yarn if you're knitting at a worsted weight yarn's gauge? Why not knit it with worsted? Why knit such a lovely garment out of drapey yarn (the Rio is alpaca, merino and silk, much like the Sulka) at a gauge that completely negates the drape? My swatch on size 6 needles felt stiff.
I really wanted to knit something with the Sulka. It has been burning a hole in my pocket (so to speak) since I bought it in July and it's such a lovely yarn. So I hit upon this as a solution:
It is the highly sexily named 103-1 Jacket. I am making it with long sleeves instead of the shown 3/4 length. I don't think I've made any other pattern modifications, but we shall see.
It is a free pattern, and if you haven't looked at the huge free pattern library at garnstudio.com, I highly recommend doing so now. As of today there are more than 36,000 free patterns on the site. Ravelry only has a fraction of Garnstudio's patterns up.
I am glad that I did not attempt to make this pattern when I was less experienced. It is the first large garment that I am knitting in pieces, and the pattern is not as explicit as most of the other patterns I've worked from. Which is awesome, because it's giving me a bit more confidence in my designing abilities. I have made EXTENSIVE pattern notes for this one, and I'm quite proud of myself for being able to follow the instructions for this pattern.
Ordinarily I would have converted the pattern to be from pieces to knit in the round, but in this case, with the drapiness of the fabric I feel like the seaming will give the jacket some stability. Unfortunately my seaming skills are... non-existent, since I haven't seamed a project since my very first sweater for Georgia nearly two years ago. I sewed up the shoulder seams last night and it looks crappy. I'm going to have to rip out and try again.
All that said, I'm almost done with it. This is a super fast knit. I've done both sides and the back. Each piece has only taken me an hour or two to knit, which is awesome. I'm expecting to be done by Wednesday or Thursday. This might be my Rhinebeck sweater.
Also, I sat down this morning and drew the designs for two sweaters and had a third pop into my mind. I'm kind of excited. The first two sweaters are men's and I'll have to wait until Bruce gets home this evening to do the math for them, as I need his measurements. The third is a woman's sweater and I can't wait to start in on it. YAY!
Other other news:
Beezer is doing great. He's a fun little fellow. Here's a series of pictures of him attacking Georgia's Easter basket.
Bruce sent off his first batch of query letters regarding his book! I'm very excited for him.
Georgia is still enjoying kindergarten and tomorrow is her birthday! She's going to be five. It's hard to believe.
It's gotten cold enough here that I've been able to break out the sweaters and shawls! I wore my Travel Shawl all morning yesterday, and my Villane in the evening. I know my Villane is not popular due to the variegated yarn and cables and stuff, but I love it. I love the bright blueyness of the sweater and all the colors and the cables and piffle to the rest of the world for not loving it as much as I do.
Still need to buy buttons for it. We went to Tender Buttons on Saturday and that was insanely expensive. I couldn't find any buttons there for less than $2.50 per button. Gorgeous buttons, though.