Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Top-down road trip pullover

The sweater was knit top-down. We drove our hard top Prius from LA, CA to Boulder, CO.
This was intended as a hostess gift for our friend in Boulder, CO. It's a 16 hour drive so I hoped to have it mostly finished by the time we got there. Hah!

It did take ~15 hours to complete, but I didn't take into account pretty scenery and darkness. At least I was able to try it on the hostess and adjust the length to suit while the sweater was in progress. It will be mailed tomorrow.

It's a variation of the Lion Brand Yarn's free pattern for a top-down pullover. I substituted Dharma Trading's Andee (50/50 wool/alpaca) instead so I had to adjust the gauge. I made many other changes.
  • Because it is knit from the top down, I used a stretchy tubular cast-on from a crochet foundation chain (in a waste yarn).
  • I misread the instructions and knit a yoke for a size Small instead of the intended Medium.
  • That meant increasing generously across the body at the end of the yoke when switching to stockinette stitch portion. Fortunately, it doesn't show much.
  • The pattern has the front and neck at the same 4" height. The recipient wanted no more than 2" height. To avoid strangling her (we really like her and want her to stick around), I short-row shaped the neck to bring the center front 2" lower than the center back.
  • I added waist shaping. You can see that the waist shaping starts 2" further beyond the yoke on the back than in the front.
  • I shortened the sweater to fit the petite recipient. She likes things roomy. IMHO, a Small would have fit her just fine. But, this will give her room to layer a turtleneck underneath.
  • Not that she will need it because this alpaca and wool blend is WARM.
  • I added 3 garter ridges instead of the plain curling hem of the original pattern. I think it looks neater this way.
  • The body was knit with size 7 needles, the ribbing and garter bands with size 5.
  • The pattern has 3/4 sleeves. I lengthened them slightly to get full-length sleeves for a petite.
  • The pattern has straight sleeves. I decreased from 65 down to 45 stitches.
  • The sweater body hem wanted to flip up (until I blocked it into submission), so I decreased 3 stitches (from 45 to 42), evenly spaced, across the wrist hems to control the flip.
The yoke was completed between LA and St George, Utah. The sweater was divided for body and sleeves and the body was short-row shaped through Glenwood Canyon. We got stuck in a huge traffic jam when I-70 was periodically closed to move heavy equipment across the road.

Look at the water level of the Colorado river! It comes nearly up to the new highway and the railroad tracks. It flooded over the bike path and the old highway.
I was able to try the sweater on our hostess and plot the waist, hip and arm widths from her measurements. Then I finished the sweater body in Crested Butte and Mesa Verde, CO.

After lunch in Flagstaff, AZ, I started the first sleeve. It was just about done by dark.

Back at home, I finished the first sleeve and started the second.

During the drive to visit my in-laws in San Diego last weekend, I finished the second sleeve and wove in all the ends.

When I returned home, I washed and blocked the sweater. When I photographed it, I thought about where I was for every piece of the construction. It's full of memories. I hope she likes it.

This is a really nice, simple sweater. If I take another road-trip, I may make another.

I asked the recipient to measure a sweater she likes. It sounded too roomy but I went with her measurement. (When buying RTW sweaters, you pick the size that fits your widest point. If you are pear-shaped like us, then RTW sweaters are often too roomy around the shoulders and chest if they fit our hips. Custom-knit sweaters can be knit to fit the wearer's measurements and don't need to be so roomy at the chest. That's a subtle point that non-knitters might not realize.)

But I forgot to ask her the length. So I called her home as soon as we got out of Glenwood Canyon's cell phone dark spot and her daughter said I had just missed her. I recalled that the two are nearly the same height so I asked the daughter to measure her back and front shoulder to waist length.

She said that it would take her a while to go get the tape measure.

When she got back, she asked, "Do you want it in centimeters or inches?"

Spoken like a true daughter of a NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) employee!

Ravelry project notes.

1 comment:

  1. What a pretty sweater! I crocheted an entire twin size blanket out of super soft baby yarn during our drives from Southern California to Berkeley - it took five round trips, but that's a very long drive. I still have the blanket - my daughter uses it now


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