Recently in Rogue Category

Rogue Gets A Hood

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I am taking my sweet time with Rogue.  On Saturday evening I finished up the hood cabling (Claudia is right... the hood eats up a surprising amount of yarn!) and set it down hoping for a sunny Sunday on which to use the good light of day to graft the two cable panels together.  After digging out my Montse Stanley book (Knitter's Handbook : A Comprehensive Guide to the Principles and Techniques of Handknitting ) and reviewing the process of grafting when there are knits and purls to deal with I tested it out on the first couple of stitches and then promptly backed it out and did a three needle bind off instead.  My rationale was threefold:

  1.  The grafting is fussy and I am impatient -- especially given that even a good nap time only gets me three hours.
  2.  If I am not wearing the hood, no one will be at all paying attention to the seam.  And, on the rare occasion that I have the hood up, most people will not be staring down on my head, and, thus, also not paying attention to the seam.
  3. The three-needle bind off results look quite good and don't (in my humble estimation) detract from the loveliness that is the cable work on the hood.
This seam does bring me to the completion of all the major knitting work.  Now it's on to the finishing.  And for the cardiganized Rogue, there is an extravaganza of finishing.  Left to do:

  • Graft the back of the head stitches to the hood cable band.
  • Block the body of the sweater out.
  • Set in the sleeves.
  • Attach the applied I-cord edging to the front edges.
  • Sew in the remaining ends.
  • Order and sew in the zipper. 
At the moment I'm in no real rush.  We've still got at least a week of unseasonably warm weather ahead (60 and 70 F weather in Chicago in November qualifies as unseasonably warm in my book -- not unwelcome, but definitely unseasonable) which means the pile of warm wool that is Rogue will not be welcome in my lap.   I've also become mildly obsessed with making toys... there will definitely be more discussion about that later this week.

Flattened Rogue

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The Rogue, she is coming a long.  I've moved past the point where the whole body of the sweater can be worked at the same time and now have the back and left front completed.   It's interesting to see the sweater spread out like this.  I don't think I've ever done such a large sweater ths way.  I will say that it's a lot of wool to have in your lap at the end of a very warmish September. 

So far, this sweater is progressing very quickly.  I know it doesn't seem like it from my posting schedule, but when I get time to sit down and work on it, it really does feel like it's just screaming along.  At this point, I'm just a right front and a hood away from having all the main knitting done (I did the sleeves before casting on for the body) so I'm beginning to feel like the home stretch is near.  Once I get the right front done, I may do a little blocking so that I can take a good measurement for the zipper.  Then I can order the zipper (it will definitely be one of those nice heavyweight two-way  zippers) so that it can be on it's way to me while I work on the hood. 

At this point, unless the hood takes up way more yarn than I think it will, I should have no concerns about having enough yarn.  After the right front is done, I should still have two full skeins of the Bartlett's ready to go, so I won't have to spend any time being concerned about undoing swatches to eek out that last little bit of yarn I need for the I-cord edging.

Thank you to everyone who left such sweet words about Z and her Circles sweater.  I am totally biased, but I just think she keeps getting more and more adorable every day, especially now that she's finally getting some hair in.  She is transforming from a baby into a little girl right in front of my eyes.  It's an amazing thing to watch, but I keep wishing she'd slow down a little bit since I'm enjoying her at this age so much. 

The Rogue Gets a Pocket

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Rogue has definitely been on my "hard to put down" list when it comes to knitting projects.  As I've mentioned many times before, I love projects where there is some cable work surrounded by a lot of simple knitting.  I get the fun of working with some texture, but the product knitter in me gets the sheer joy of watching something large come together quickly.

20080911_RogueProgress.jpgNow that I've got the pocket attached, I'm getting to the point where I can imagine wearing this sweater.  And while the weather is still more like summer than fall here in Chicago, the colder weather is just around the corner and it would be really lovely to have a new sweater to welcome in fall (and to celebrate the fact that my post-baby weight loss efforts are paying off).

20080911_RogueSidePanel.jpgI know many of you are already very familiar with this cable, but I am so happy with how this yarn shows them off that I just couldn't resist another picture.

Return of the Rogue

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So what is this this great source of inspiration that I found amongst my unfinished projects?

20080828_RogueBody.jpgIt is none other than Rogue, whose sleeves I completed before I got pregnant with Zosia and who was then left to linger when it was clear that a fitted cardigan would be unlikely to be a part of my life for some time to come.

This turns out to be one of those times when having blog archives was a very good thing indeed.  Otherwise, I would have been baffled as to the gauge and needles for the project. As with the sleeves, my row gauge is pretty close, my stitch gauge is somewhat closer to 4 than the 4.5 stitches/inch required.  I've decided to go forward with that, working the smallest size because then I get the benefit of a somewhat shorter sweater that is somewhat wider (but not as wide as it would be if I had gotten stitch gauge and was knitting the next larger size up).

I'm using the instructions for cardiganizing Rogue beecause it is clear from my sweater wearing habits that if a sweater is not a cardigan and not made out of soft wool it gets almost no wear time.  This wool is solid stuff, but not soft enough for a pullover.  Rogue cardie here I come!

So far, it remains a very pleasant knit. The cables add just the amount of interest I need to keep it fun, but there are not so much of them that I feel like I can make no progress in an hour or two.   So far, the instructions are also quite excellent and easy to follow and I had no problem working out the changes needed for splitting the kangaroo pocket for the caridganization process.

Now the only thing that remains to be concerned about is the ever present issue of "having enough yarn".  So far it looks good and, in any event, it will be hard to tell until I get a good deal farther, so at this point, it's full steam ahead!

Still Life With Sleeves

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Rogue Sleeves in the Early Morning Light of My Fiber Room

Interestingly enough, I didn't feel so trapped on Sleeve Island while working the sleeves as the upfront part of the project. In fact, these sleeves just seemed to breeze by. Perhaps it was having the nice bit of cabling to work through? Bigger yarn? It's not clear. But both sleeves are now complete and I'm thinking about getting the body of the sweater started. (In case you would like to know, the second sleeve is the one on the left side of my blocking board).

The last time I talked about this project, I had decided to wash my yarn after finishing one sleeve with unwashed yarn. There was some concern over whether I would run into changing gauge problems, but that doesn't really seem to have become an issue. The guage measurements I was working from were from a swatched that I knit from the unwashed yarn, but then washed and dressed before taking a final gauge reading. It was clear to me when I made the gauge swatch that the yarn made a significant character change. It seems in this case that by washing the yarn, the character change occured before the knitting and I didn't see that much more change after that. Granted, it is a somewhat unfair test because I blocked both sleeve pieces into the size and shape I wanted them to be, and with the swatch I let it dry without any tensioning.

At any rate, I think everything is good enough to proceed to the next step. Rogue is going to be a cardigan, so I am going to knit the body of the sweater using the cardiganization instructions that Jenna published along with the pullover pattern.

Rogue Sleeve

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Rogue Sleeve Finished

It's been so long since I worked on a sweater project that I've sort of forgotten that completed sleeves do not always make for an exciting blog post. This is my first sleeve for Rogue, really meant as a big swatch. It is also confirmation that my original swatch was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. My gauge for the swatch and my gauge for the sleeve are pretty much the same thing.

Since I'm knitting the smallest size, that meant that the sleeves were just about the right size in terms fo circumference. I added a few extra rows after the final increases to get them to be the length I thought they should be. And my skein of yarn ended just after the sleeve cap did. So at this point, all's well with the Rogue.

I really do like doing cables this way... a simple but stunning motif set off by a good deal of stockinette. I can respect all over cabled sweaters, but I don't have the patience to actually knit them. Sweaters like Rogue give me a few good moments of cable goodness without delaying the "wearing the sweater" gratification too much.

For anyone else considering using the Bartlett yarn, I highly recommend giving this yarn a bath before you start knitting with it. I was commenting to Bonne Marie that while I liked the color, the stuff was almost painful to work with because the yarn felt so rough against my skin, but that my bathed swatch was respectably soft. Bonne Marie suggested what should have been obvious to me on my own (especially since I would never knit with handspun that I hadn't given a bath): why don't you soak the hanks before you knit with them? It worked like a charm. The yarn poofed out and gave up a good deal of dusty gunk. I expect the remaining hanks will be much more pleasant to work with.

Onto the next sleeve!

Following Directions

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My Dad can be a hard act to follow. He messaged me this morning to tell me he enjoyed reading the comments so much that he might have to adopt some new children. Just remember... the line forms behind me. Grin.

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Rogue Sleeve

This bit of sleeve is my testimony to the fact that I am not very good at following directions. Oh, there's nothing wrong with it, but I had almost the entire cable motif knitted up before it became clear that I was leaving out one set of increases. Yes, reading all the instructions for a particular section, not just the first paragraph, is an important knitting skill.

I decided to start with a sleeve for Rogue because, in reality, a sleeve is just a really large swatch. It seemed like the easiest way to see how my row and stitch guage issues would play out in a larger piece of knitting. I think it's a bit to early to say anything about that (it wouldn't be, of course, if I had read the freaking instructions), but I do find myself rather enamored of the cable and how it shows up in this yarn. I don't really consider myself someone who loves to take on aran sweaters, but I do like the visual and general knitting interest from having a bold cable detail that is easy to understand and read.

I've made another decision as well. I'm going to knit Rogue as a cardigan instead of a pullover. I must admit to having zipper trepidation, but as I look through my wardrobe, it becomes clearer and clearer that my cardigans get more wear than my pullovers. In no way should this be seen as circular swatch knitting avoidance....

A New Sweater and a Conundrum

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Let in never be said that I am too hasty in the use of my stash yarn. I bought Jenna's Rogue pattern in early 2004 like many people in the knitting blogiverse, but didn't really have the right yarn in my stash for it. In October of 2004 I found yarn at ThreadBear in Lansing that I both liked and felt was in the right price range. I brought it home with the best of intentions -- it was October, after all, and a perfect time for contemplating a new sweater -- and promptly buried it, lured by several other projects that have turned out to be wardrobe staples, including Cerys,Butterfly and the Fitzgerald sweater I knit for John. So at least Rogue wasn't ignored for regrettable projects.

Now it's two years later, and I am once again thinking about making a new sweater. I want a warm outerwear sweater that can go shopping with me or hang out in a bar. Something that's comfortable and casual but does not resemble a formless sweatshirt. And that's when I remembered Rogue. And the stash of yarn I already had set aside for it. Perfect, no?

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A Pile of Bartlett Yarns 2-ply, Color Larkspur

The more I spin my own yarn, the more I appreciate a good tweedy wool. This yarn from Bartlett Yarns of Maine is a 2-ply yarn that reads purplish-blue from a distance, but when you get up close to it, shows off some prominent red and turquoise highlights. Knit up it reads out an almost denimy color.

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Swatching with the Bartlett

Now that I've done some spinning and know more about yarn construction and what types of yarn do best in which kinds of projects, I probably wouldn't select a 2 ply for a sweater that was going to feature cables. But this yarn is surprisingly lofty for something that feels relatively scratchy right out of the skein. And it gets much better after it gets a bath. Certainly not against the skin soft, but it's at least as soft as Kureyon or softer, and it lacks the VM that I usually am constantly picking out of Kureyon or Silk Garden. Definitely fine for the outerwear garment that I want Rogue to be. And lofty enough that I think it will still make cables stand out pretty well.

So what's my problem?

Gauge.

Rogue's gauge is 4.5 stitches/inch and 6 rows/inch. When I started knitting on 5.0 mm needles (US 8) it became clear that I was getting 4 stitches/inch or less, so I switched to 4.5 mm (US 7) needles. Before a good soak, I got about 4.3 stitches/inch and 6.3 rows/inch. Not perfect, but I liked the fabric density.

And then I washed my swatch. I've learned from experience not to trust a swatch that hasn't had a bath. And I checked my gauge again...

4.2 stitches/inch and 6.8 rows per inch. Sigh.*

Going down another needle size would probably get me closer to stitch gauge I needed, but it would get me farther away from the row gauge I needed. Going up a needle size gets me better row gauge, but doesn't improve the stitch gauge situation. And I still like the fabric density on the 4.5 mm needles.

If you think .2 stitches/inch can't possibly make any difference... well, Rogue at 4.5 stitches per inch is 35.5" in the smallest size. Rogue at 4.2 sitches/inch is 38" around. As it turns out, this is probably not a bad thing for me. Rogue's smallest size at guage is a little too fitted for me (I've got a 34" bustline measurement), but the medium at gauge (39") is a little too loose. But since most of the pattern is written out using numbers of rows instead of actual measurements, it means that I'm going to have to do some refactoring before I can get started. And I haven't even done my in-the-round gauge swatch yet.

And I was so hoping that I could start this project quickly and without having to use my calculator. Clearly some delayed gratification is going to be required in order to ensure a succesful outcome. Good thing I bought that extra skein of yarn...

* Right now Claudia is probably thinking to herself, something like: "See, I told you, swatches lie... don't make the mistake of thinking that the gauge of that swatch will bear any resemblence to the gauge the yarn will knit up with when you get to the sweater. Some sacrifices to the knitting gods are going to be necessary, especially since you have no hope of finding more yarn in the same dyelot as you bought two years ago." Only she would have expressed this in a much wittier way than I.

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