I’ve been working on Nina in my very limited knitting time. I’ve finished the left sleeve, left front and back, left collar, and most of the back. It’s not a particularly portable project — one of the disadvantages of knitting a sweater (especially a largish jacket) in one piece is that it’s like carrying around a dead body. It’s just not that easy to drag around.
My camera is still on the fritz, but as soon as I can I’ll update with some photographs.
One of the advantages of having an embarrassingly large number of projects already on the needles is that you can go back to them months or years later and feel as if you’re starting something new, but that you have a head start. Nina, a sweater designed by Debbie Bliss, is one of those projects.
I liked the notched front of this sweater/jacket and its length. When I started knitting it, however, I ran into several obstacles. First, I could not get the recommended gauge (nor am I sure I would have wanted to). The sweater was designed in Bliss’s Alpaca/Silk, which has a usual gauge of about 17-18 stitches over four inches using a U.S. 7 or 8 needle. According to the directions, the gauge for Nina was supposed to be 20 stitches over four inches of pattern using a U.S. 8. The pattern is a kind of “false” rib; K1 p1 on the right side and purl all of the stitches on the wrong side. In my experience, this pattern does not draw in the way ribbing does. As I swatched, I was getting closer to 16 stitches over four inches, even using a 7. I decided it would be difficult for me to get 5 stitches to the inch, and I was concerned that the fabric might feel too heavy and dense. There was also a second problem: the length, according to the directions, was only 24 inches. Say what? Is that model extremely short? To me, this sweater was going to have to be at least 28 inches long in order to have the “look” I wanted. That meant — given the gauge issues and the difference between how the sweater looked and how the directions were written — that I would have to rewrite the entire pattern. I would actually have to think, especially given that this sweater is knitted from cuff to cuff (sideways).
So, I knit one sleeve and then abandoned it until early this week when I remembered how pretty the yarn is. I made my calculations and forged ahead — and it felt “fast” since I already had the left sleeve finished. Here’s a photo. The color does not resemble mine in the least. (My camera is having “issues” and I used my husband’s.) The true color is a deep steel blue. I’ve finished the sleeve (note the strand of Koigu yarn running up and down one side to mark the increases) and cast on what will become the side seams. I used a provisional cast on (that’s the red yarn you see) so that I can either graft the live stitches later or do a three-needle join at the side (the way you would knit together a shoulder).
Here’s another view, which I’ve included because the color is a little bit truer.
I just have a few more rows to knit before I’ll start some shaping for the back neck. My only fear now: running out of yarn.