Friday, February 29, 2008

Bubble Pullover.

or, "Blocking is a magical thing."

Yes, I went over a month without posting anything, and even missed my blogiversary. I finished this sweater weeks ago, and also finished a scarf beforehand (and I wrote the majority of this post and the scarf post ages ago as well). I don't know what's kept me from posting...okay, part of it was waiting to take photos, then part of it was uploading said photos to the computer (that's right -- no more iSight photos! You can all thank my boyfriend and his digital camera). And yeah, I'm sure the winter doldrums have had a hand in this, too.


Nearly every time I knit a sweater, it grows ever-so-slightly in the wash. Maybe "grows" isn't the right term. The sweater doesn't grow so much as relax. It just fits better. This sweater, though....this took a leap of faith. For once, I have photographic evidence. This is what my pullover looked like before I pitched it into a bathtub full of Soak (that "Scent for Celebration" is awesome -- it took me awhile to realize that it smells like cranberries).

Note the horrified facial expression (okay, this was an iSight photo). Granted, I was watching Project Runway at the time (that would have been the wrestling episode).

This sweater did a little more relaxing in the wash than others. Probably because I gave it quite the massage afterwards.

Pattern: Bubble Pullover, from Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature, size Small (modified)
Yarn: Plymouth Suri Merino in Charcoal Gray, 9.5 balls (from Mom's stash -- thanks, Mom!)
Needles: KnitPicks Options US 6 (stockinette) and 4 (ribbing)
Buttons: 6 shell buttons, from JoAnn's (insert whining about missing Windsor Button here)
Date Started: December 25, 2007
Date Completed: February 6, 2008 (I took a few weeks off in January)

The major change was to use a lighter-weight yarn and smaller needles. There's no way a sweater with 14" of ease would look good on me (I have a 32" bust, the smallest size for this pattern has a 46" bust). While I would have loved it back in the late 80's/early 90's (that would be my "baggy clothing phase"), I prefer to wear fitted garments in the here and now.

Other modifications include:
SKP instead of SSK, simply because I think it looks better (just figured that one out)
5" of bottom ribbing (instead of 4.25")
3 buttonholes for bottom ribbing (instead of 2), 3 for collar (instead of 4) -- all spaced a little closer together than called for in the pattern
Added stitches to the sleeve ribbing (went one size up, but only for the ribbed portion of the sleeve)
Used a slipped stitch edging for the collar (would have done it for the bottom ribbing, but I didn't think of it in time)

This pattern was a lot of fun to knit. Until I got to all of that 2x2 ribbing. Blergh (says the girl who bought the yarn to knit the Seashell Shrug from Runway Knits). I'm pretty happy with the experience, though. I took some time off after knitting and sewing-in the sleeves -- the pullover, sans collar/bottom hem looked horrible, and I think I just needed to set it aside and build up the courage to finish it.

I'm very happy with the end result (I am also happy to have modeled my new sweater in a friend's bathroom, as you can see from the picture above). I coaxed an additional 4" in length out of the sweater body (!), and maybe 1-2" of width. The armholes are a touch tighter than I'd like, but not uncomfortable. It's warm, but not too warm, and I think I'll get a good amount of wear out of it. I adore the collar, and the clever construction.

I'll be posting soon about the scarf I knit while taking a break from the Bubble Pullover. Currently, I'm working on Raspy from Denim People, and have a touch more than one sleeve left to go. After all that denim yarn (I'm using Elann's version), my fingers are aching for wool. Literally.

Lastly, I'd like to thank those of you who nominated me for the "You Make My Day Award." How sweet! I think this has more or less run its course, though, so I'll pass on making any nominations -- though I read a lot of blogs, and all of them make my day!


Lauren said...

This sweater is beautiful on you... now I want one!

Virtuous said...

U are alive!! :o)

Happy Belated Blog Anniversary!

Fab sweater love the buttons!

Michele said...

That's gorgeous!

Elizabeth said...

I love it! Oh how I wish I needed more thick wooly sweaters. You did a beautiful job, as usual.

Octopus Knits said...

Great sweater - I love how it turned out : )

Ceylan said...

This looks fantastic on you! Love the sweater. And how awesome is blocking??!!

maitai said...

i love it! i've had my eye on this sweater for quite some time, and i think it looks really great on you. and i agree...14" of positive ease?!?! that's insane, and i'm even smaller than a 32" bust! :)

lekkercraft said...

You pullover is FANTASTIC! I love the mods you made to make it more fitted. It is so flattering on you!

Anonymous said...

The pullover looks great on you! I've been thinking of making this one for a while, but not sure about the 14" of positive ease... Kind of worried that if I use smaller needles the sleeves would be too tight. Can you give more details on what you did with the sleeves? Thank you!

Amanda said...

Thanks, everyone!

Anonymous, the only change I made to the sleeves was to add stitches to the ribbed portion: I went up a size in the stitch count. When I got to the stockinette portion of the sleeves, I only increased to the number called for for my size. I did check my gauge on the pentagons to make sure that the sleeves would fit. They are fitted this way, but it worked out okay. If I were to knit this again, I would probably do the same thing, but go up a needle size for the sleeves to make them a touch larger (more for the armholes than the actual sleeves).

orata said...

Very elegant! I love the fit.

Team Knit ! said...

The sweater looks amazing,a nd I know what you mean about blocking- I find that so many yarns really grow in the process, particularly finer gauge yarns. Your sweater looks amazing!! And I love that Knitting Nature book.

- Julie

melissa said...

beautiful! isn't it great when you take a chance with some mods and it all works out?

Susan said...

Glad to have you back! The FO is amazing. I have that book and really need to get a move on knitting a pattern from it soon!

tentenknits said...

what a great comeback! great sweater, really fits you well!!

jenna said...

It really looks perfect. And that wrestling episode of Project Runway WAS the worst.

Mandy said...

This is the first time that I've visited your blog and I just had to comment about your sweater. It looks great on you and I'm sure will help to keep you warm in the Chicago winter! And, on that note, welcome to Chicago! It's a great city and I hope that you are enjoying it...:)

itsjustmeghan said...

wow! blocking can make a huge difference, huh?
i hope the chicago-land is treating you well! i have yet another friend moving down to your neck of the woods. i bet it's just a great and fun place to live!
hope the job hunt is going well!

Becky-Dee said...

Your sweater is gorgeous! Happy blog aniversary!