Finally finished, the purple Vignette needs just a final blocking and it is ready to wear as soon as the snow flies.
by Amy Herzog in Knitty.com
Yarn: Lambs Pride Worsted by Brown Sheep Company Inc
Colour: Clematis # M56
Yarn Quantity: 4 1/2 balls at 173 M per ball.
Happiness Level? Time will tell. Right now, not 100%
What Did I Learn? Certainly, I became much more aware of the fact that I do not enjoy knitting sweaters in pieces. I much prefer knitting in the round. Either Elizabeth Zimmermann's favoured method of bottom up, or Cabin Fever's preferred method of Top Down suit me better than knitting in pieces. For me, unlike many knitters, it is not the sewing up that I dislike. I can execute a masterful, mattress-stitch seam and am proud to see one well finished. The issue for me is the surprise.
Not until the last minute do I know if the sweater will be a success for me. Does it fit? Does the style suit? Does it have any funny lumps and bumps? With a knit-in-the-round sweater, I can try it on and hopefully become aware of any negative issues long before finishing. To rip out a solid piece of knitting with no seams is easy peasy. A seamed piece? Not so much.
Vignette not only had the normal pieces - fronts, back and sleeves - to be sewn together, but it also has the front bands. The bands, knit at the same time as the sweater, stop at the front shoulders. Once the back is knit and sewn to the fronts at the shoulder seams, the bands are picked up, knit to centre back ("they fit when stretched slightly". You know how well that works) then sewn to each other and to the sweater body. Talk about fiddly! It took me three times to get that 'Until it fits when stretched slightly' thing right.
The entire knit-in-pieces method seemed to me to be slow and very industrial age, cottage industry kind of old fashioned and out of touch with current knitting trends. Sorry Amy.
Besides the 'I Hate Pieces' thing I had going on, I also have issues with the front bands. Knit at the same time as the sweater, they are, of necessity then, knit with the same size needle and the same number of stitches. Normally, in a K1, P1 ribbed band, a smaller needle and fewer stitches are used to produce a band that fits perfectly. That is, a band that neither sags nor pulls.
IMO, there is too much band in this sweater. If you lay the sweater flat on the bed as I did in the photo below, with front and back bottom edges even, somwhere up the front, there is a glob too much of ribbing to be had. Take a look.
But if you let Vignette lay naturally on the bed and do not adjust the back and front bottom edges to be even, you have a ribbing that falls below the sweater length. It drapes. I have knit sweaters with a drapey front - on purpose. But Vignette is not one of those. It is supposed to hang even.
Having said all that, Vignette does fit me
I made the 38 1/4" size for my 38 inch bust. Looks as if it could use a bit more blocking to get it to meet in the middle. If that doesn't happen, I will not sew on any buttons. That way I can pretend it was meant to be an open sweater.
Next Time? Should there be one, it would most definitely be knit in the round. Vignette is a V Neck sweater, with 3/4 sleeves and a lace panel up either side of the front bands and down the centre sleeves. Easy enough to do with any bottom-up or top-down sweater. Next time.
The one other thing I might do next time is to use a lighter yarn. I have become used to knitting a finer yarn at a larger gauge for a lighter-weight sweater. My yarn was exactly the gauge called for in the Vignette pattern but with it's combo of wool and mohair, it will be a sweater suitable for only the coldest days.
But it does look great with my black, boiled-wool skirt with the purple trim. Which was, of course the whole idea. So, perhaps the wearing will be easier and bring more pleasure than the knitting. I hope.