One done, and onto the next!

Hello again, fellow knitters! Since my last post I have successfully completed the Clear Creek Pullover designed by Carol Feller for Knits Fall 2013. Aside from having a lovely new wardrobe item for this fall and upcoming winter, I learned several techniques through the process of completing my first hand-knit sweater. I learned how to make lifted increases, how to frog (which I had to do twice), and became aware of many new kinds of bind-offs.

When I finished the sweater and tried it on for the first time, I found the body's bind-off was much too tight, and blocking did not help to loosen it. The sweater fit me just fine, except it was very tight at the bottom of the body, sort of cutting into my hips (not a terribly pleasant experience). After having spent so much time knitting and frogging and knitting again, I wasn't going to let this tight bind-off be the end of my sweater. I went to human knitting encyclopedia, Amy Palmer, the editor of Knitscene, for some advice. She recommended to simply go up a needle size or two for my bind off and said it would probably be plenty to create enough space for my hips. She also handed me a Knitting Daily workshop entitled 45+ Knitted Cast-Ons & Bind-Offs featuring Ann Budd. I had no idea there were multiple bind-offs that could be so stretchy! The video taught me about the decrease bind-off, which is done through ssk decreases across the entire final row. To start, knit 2 stitches as you would for a standard bind-off. Then, knit 2 stitches through the back loop. Continue in this fashion – knit 1, knit 2 through the back loop, etc., until the row is finished. I tried this new approach on my sweater, and it turned out to be so loose it was too much! Finally, I went back once more and took Amy’s advice to increase my needle size. I went from a size 7 to a size 8 and it worked perfectly! The sweater fits me very well now, all over. So, while I did not end up actually using a new bind-off technique, I learned that there are many out there, and will refer to this video whenever I need help with a new cast-on or bind-off method.

We learn yet again that Hannah could never be a model

This is what I loved about this pattern: as someone who has always been intimidated by sweater patterns, it was simple enough for me to understand and complete, yet it included some tricky places that challenged enabled me to learn more about the craft of knitting. Because of this pattern, I am a better knitter. Going forward, I'm diving right into another sweater pattern without giving it a chance to frighten me. Whatever obstacles I will come across I will treat as opportunities to once again to use my resources and strengthen my knitting abilities.

The Tara Jacket, Knitscene Winter 2013

"What is your next sweater project, Hannah?" you ask, right? I’m joining in on the Knitting Daily Tara Jacket Knit-Along. I really wanted to knit this sweater once I saw it in the Knitscene Winter 2013 issue, so the Knit-Along was an extra motivator to get me going on it. Louisa, the assistant editor for Knitscene is also going to knit this jacket, so we've initiated an inter-office knit-along! We both ordered our Berroco yarn for the project, hers a lovely midnight blue and mine a dark charcoal gray. We are looking forward to casting-on at the same time, neither of us having done a provisional cast-on before. Here comes some more learning from Amy and Ann! Hopefully they've got some good tips on attaching zippers to hand-knit garments…

How is your knitting going? Are you a part of the Tara Jacket Knit-Along? What are some new techniques you've learned recently? How about some challenges you might be having? How do you go about solving tricky puzzles you come across in your work? Whatever might be on your knitting plate at the moment, I hope it is not frustrating and stagnating, but refreshing and inspiring! Happy knitting to all!


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