Hoo Boy. I’m doing it again. The things that kid gets me to do!
I read it somewhere, so it must be true: Intarsia equals love, period.
The concept, as drawn by me to specs by the kid. He wants fire, fake layers and hood, sleeves over the hands with thumbholes, and argyle diamonds (inspired in part by a Target arygyle cotton sweater and a hooded fake layered cotton shirt).
I recently knit a sweater in pieces and it took me a long time to finish the seaming, because my back was in bad shape for several weeks. (but I blame the seams?) I think I’d prefer to fiddle while knitting rather than fiddle after knitting, so I knit a swatch with intarsia in the round. Yarns: Koigu KPM and Lisa Souza Hardtwist Merino Petite (colour earthbirth).
Okay. That was a pain in the butt. I didn’t like the turn-around spots – too loose. But I washed the swatch to see if it improved. Not really.
And then I noticed the bias. The damn swatch biased something awful. Forget intarsia in the round – the results weren’t good enough for the hassle. And now I’ve got biasing to fix. Haven’t we all had one of those cheap t-shirts, that twists and twists and twists? Surely I’m not the only one who gets itchy thinking about it?
So, swatching. I swatched both yarns separately (flat, standard continental purling, nothing fancy), washed the swatches, and hung to dry on the clothes line.
I whined on Ravelry and was advised. (post stalk me, if you really want to read it. I love my Friends of Abby’s Yarns) Despite my automatic dislike of advice (I can dish it out, but I sure have trouble taking it, even when I ask for it), I steamed a skeinlet, let it dry, knit another swatch, and washed as before. Better, but not good enough yet.
In the meantime, we went to Lambtown. The poor kid worries that he will never get his fire sweater, and he’s tired of watching me fight with the yarn. We did a quick sweep of the vendors for fingering weight fire yarn. He decided these skeins were acceptable (peeking from the photo above), so I bought 2. In any photos I have, they look great – nearly perfect fire yarn (not quite perfect only because the earthbirth is perfect). In real life, one skein in particular is too pink and on the pastel side. They read as citrus, not fire. Lovely yarn, and I might make a couple baby things with them because the colours are so cheerful and bright and happy, but not right dang it. Somewhere in here, the kid said if this didn’t work, he doesn’t want the sweater anymore. I told him, “Too bad. You’re stuck with it, because I’m not letting this sweater win.” I started a swatch of the not quite fire yarn, but it’s just not quite.
I checked Lisa Souza’s website. Yes, she has another fingering weight yarn that would probably work, and I could order more earthbirth. And more yarn is good… Except, really, I don’t need more yarn, and spending the extra bit of money seems stupid in the morning.
So I ran a bit of the hardtwist through the spinning wheel to unply it a little. And washed the skeinlet. And knit a swatch as before, washed, dried. Oh. This will work. I have to work more, but I can do it.
Now I’m knitting another intarsia/stranded swatch. Next: remove plying twist from the rest of the skein. Figure gauge and measurements for the actual sweater. Chart the front of the sweater so the diamonds line up right. Knit the sweater body in pieces. Figure out the layered hems. Figure out the neckline and hood. Figure out the sleeves/shoulder shaping.
I’ll finish this by the Thanksgiving, right?