Recently in Rainbow Dyed Pullover Category

I had a really lovely weekend. Friday night saw the completion of the first sleeve of the Bonkers RDP and the casting on of the second sleeve. Having those little cables running up the side of the sleeve really helped to diminish the feelings of severe boredom I usually have when I tackle the second sleeve, as did the prospect of having a new sweater.

As part of a little pre-victory celebration, I placed an order to Colourway for a bag of Kid Silk Haze in the color "Chill" -- which looks to be a light blue/grey/purple shade. The ten skeins in the bag is a perfect number -- 3 skeins for Birch and 7 for a lacy little cardigan that calls for Douceur et Soie (which appears to be almost identical to Kid Silk Haze in all the particulars I could find). Since the color is being discontinued, it is almost a guarantee that one of these projects will need more yarn than anticipated. But I'll deal with that when I get started. Soon, you'll all get to see if my interaction with Kidsilk Haze goes better than my experience with the Plymouth Fusion. Sorry, Becky, there won't be any ruffles to watch me work through, but I suspect that casting on 300 stitches for a lace project will be equally entertaining/daunting.

I finished up the second sleeve on Saturday after a wonderful shopping trip with Julie. It was a good time to go shopping as I found a number of good end of season deals, though I was unable to find a suitable companion for Siena. Here's the sleeves, blocking in preparation for sweater assembly. The second sleeve was a quicker knit because I only had one ball left to work from and didn't have to hassle with knitting from two skeins.

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BRDP Sleeves Completed

On Saturday night, before bed, I had enough time to seam the shoulders and pick up stitches for the collar. I opted to do the collar in the round instead of creating a seam up the side of the neck (which would have probably been an irritation), my only major alteration to the pattern. By Sunday, before breakfast (which is much later for John and I than it is for most people) I had attached the sleeves to the armholes and was preparing to take on the sleeves and side seams.

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Color Variation Throughout the Assembled BRDP

This picture is less to demonstratet he assembly than to show how the colors varied over the body of the garment. Put together, it's less noticeable, and is just part of the character of the sweater, but spread out this way you can see how different the 5 skeins I had were.

After the Super Bowl I completed the finishing process (including binding off the neckline a second time with a smaller needle to eliminate a slight ruffly quality) and got John to snap a few photos. This sweater really screams for an outdoor photo shoot, but it's not exactly warm enough, even armed with a nice wool sweater, to do that right now. So my victory shots are a little murky and don't show off the sweater or its lace/cable pattern very well.

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BRDP Completed

As you can see from the assembly picture and my model shot, this sweater has a very simple shape. It's not at all fitted, which I like, and the neckline is comfortable. The sleeves are a little more fitted and are constructed to end just above the wrists (it looks the same on the model in the picture on the pattern, so I am assuming this is a design element). Under normal circumstances I would have preferred about an inch more sleeve. But this kit didn't leave me with much yarn to spare, so it wasn't really an option. At least the sleeve won't get in the way when I am working.

You can see how it looks in profile by clicking here and what the back looks like by clicking here.

Unfortunately, none of these pictures give you a good look at the thing that makes this sweater a real winner. John did get one good picture but I couldn't scale it down to a reasonable size for the blog page and still keep the detail visible. So I scaled it down as much as I could. But since it's still a 50 kB image and it would distort my page, if you want to see it, you'll have to click here.

What did I learn?

  • The K1 P1 ribbing was done on smaller needles than the stockinette of the body of the sweater. Even so, it created bigger stitches than in the body of the sweater. I've done this for other garments and never noticed the difference. I'm assuming this is because moving the yarn back and forth as the K1 P1 occurs creates a looser, and thus, larger stitch. Definitely something to remember.
  • Executing SSK as slip one knitwise, slip one purlwise, but the left needle through the front of the loops and knit both stitches together makes a lovely left-slanting decrease.
  • A little detail work makes everything go faster for me. I love to see what is just around the next corner and I keep going as long as I can.
  • Worsted weight wool is a nice medium in which to play with lace. The stitches tend to stay put and you don't need quite as much blocking to see what is going on.
  • Lace and cables go well together. I'm not a big fan of all over cable patterns -- I tend to get frustrated with the counting and all the slowing down to deal with the cables (which is not to say I don't like the result, just that I am very much a product knitter and I get distracted to other things whent he process is too arduous). But the blending of the two means that I got to have more texture without much decrease in speed. I find lace knitting to be a speedier process, perhaps because it is still mostly variations on the knit stitch.
  • I'm tired of working from two skeins at once -- I like the result, but I don't like the lack of portability. In my next couple of projects I'm going to try to stick to one skein at a time.

With that last element in mind, my next project will be Banff. I have some lovely Manos del Uruguay yarn in a deep mauvey color that is just begging to be swatched.

Weak Resolve

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The First Sleeve for the Bonkers RDP

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I decided to cast on the first sleeve of the BRDP. Yes, I am weak willed when it comes to these sorts of things. Some days it's just all about me. Amazing how a little cable down the center of a sleeve can make the whole sleeve knitting process a lot more satisfying. I'm hoping to finish the sleeve tomorrow night and get started on the next one. With any luck I'll have a new sweater on Monday...

However, I am developing some concerns about having enough yarn. They aren't to alarmist proportions yet, but my fiber senses are tingling. Hopefully they are just being over sensitive.

I had a lot of fun at our KIP tonight. In addition to the usual suspects (Carolyn, Heidi, Mary, Elisabeth, and Bonne Marie) we were also joined by Rachael and Alice -- who was knitting a very neat sock using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock. It's such a blast to make new friends and I hope we see both of them at our next meeting in two weeks.

Mary was starting a sweater in KidSilk Haze. I've got lots of yarn to keep me warm right now (more on that on Monday, but suffice it to say that I when I finish the BRDP I am all ready to dance with Banff), but I have to say that the KidSilk Haze is really lovely and soft and inviting. Maybe I could tackle Birch? Hmmm....

Rainbow Dyed Details

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When I finished the sleeve on my Dad's LoTech, I celebrated immediately by casting on the front of the BRDP. I was pretty motivated to get to that pattern stitch, and that 3" of ribbing that seemed to take days on the back moved much more quickly on the front. By the end of Saturday, I was about 1/3 the way up the front. I got a little more work in on Monday night, and finished up the front tonight. Here's the milestone shot:

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Front of the Rainbow Dyed Pullover

Based on this picture, you might be wondering, "What pattern stitch?" And, unfortunately, the flash has obscured some details, but even in person they're still subtle. While I am enjoying both the yarn and the pattern, this yarn doesn' show off the cable details very well. But given how nice and simple this sweater is, I can imagine doing it in a different more simple yarn someday.

The picture above also gives you some idea how variable the dying in this yarn is. Even though I am alternating skeins, (and I worked with 4 different skeins in this piece because I finished up both balls I started on the back) you can tell where the changes occur. It's a little starker in this picture than it is in person.

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Proof of Cables

Just to prove that there actually is a cable motif in the center, I took a close up shot. You might noticed that there are both left and right leaning decreases in this project. Because I had done the first part using SSK's where I slipped both stitches knit-wise, I decided that this would be a great opportunity to see the difference between SSK's where both stiches were slipped knit-wise and SSK where I slipped the first knit-wise and the second purl-wise as suggested by Laura and Melissa in the comments to Monday's post.

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Top: knitwise, purlwise
Bottom: knitwise, knitwise

The SSKs in the top half of the picture were done with the slips going knitwise, purlwise. In the bottom half of the picture, both slips were done knitwise. Both produce and acceptable result, but I do think that the knitwise, purlwise slipping results in a more subtle decrease where the front stitch is less pronounced. I'll have to try this experiment in a project where the yarn doesn't obscure the results, but I think I've found "the way" for me to do SSKs. I'm looking forward to trying this out in a more sophisticated lace project where the blocking process will let me get a closer look at the details.

All that's left now on this project are the sleeves and the collar. I have to decide now whether I'm going to race to the finish and "cheat" on my agreement or whether I am going to go back and do one of the fronts on LoTech. It's going to be a tough decision as I am just dying to have a new sweater in my closet that I can wear to work, and this one now seems so much closer than it did before....

The Great Expanse

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The Back of the Rainbow Dyed Pullover

Well, it's not exciting, but it is finished. All the remaining pieces of the BRDP have cable and lace motifs to add interest to the knitting. I almost put it down a couple of times tonight but the thought of just having it finished spurred me on.

Before I have to contemplate another 3" of K1P1 ribbing for the front, I'll be switching to the Lo Tech Sweat that I am making for my dad. When last we left that sweater, I had just made the heartbreaking discovery that having the same number for the dyelot on all my skeins of yarn did not guarantee the same color. I almost started ripping, but then I talked with my mother, who reminded me that the point was for my dad to have something warm to go running in. Warmth was more important than subtle shading issues. So instead of ripping the back out, I put it into my armoire and let it simmer.

I think it's simmered long enough and now it's time to stir the pot. I've finished the back of BRDP so now it's on to the Lo Tech's first sleeve. The only drawback I see about knitting for men (other than the fact that the one I am closest to is very monochromatic) is size. Even a sleeve means an ocean of stockinette ahead. I try to keep reminding myself that once I finish the Lo Tech, I can go on to the Jo Sharp Vest that I am dying to start.

Heh. Or I can order yarn for something else that's been calling me. I thought Banff was kind of cute when I saw the pattern in Knitty, but I didn't really give it much more thought than that. But lately I've been watching Heidi and Carolyn plan for their Banffs in Manos del Uruguay. I thought I could resist, but today I lost the battle of willpower and sent an email off to my favorite supplier of fibery goodies. I'm thinking green... or maybe a deep blue or purple...

Slow and Steady

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Almost 9 Inches on the Back of the Rainbow Dyed Pullover

Tonight saw the completion of the ribbing and the beginning of the long expanse of stockinette stitch that lies between me and the completion of the back of the Bonkers Rainbow Dyed Pullover (which will heretofore be referred to as BRDP because I am too lazy to type the whole thing out). At this point, I am only two inches (and a little) from the armhole shaping.

I don't see myself flying through this project. The yarn is soft, but for the yarn, the gauge is tight, thus, it's putting a lot of strain on the tendons in my right hand. I knit continental, so my right hand does most of the needle manipulation work. The knit side is no problem, but the purl side is giving my hand some grief. This is probably an argument for spending some time learning how to do the combined knitting technique (I've been reading about it a little in Priscilla Gibson-Roberts Knitting in the Old Way and you can also find information about this technique on Annie Modesitt's site -- she has some great graphics to describe how it works). Or coupling this project with something a little lighter.

I was asked in a question I got via e-mail (Hi Larisa!) why I have been knitting from two skeins for Siena and for this project. If I was working with Cascade 220 or Lamb's Pride, I wouldn't. But both of these projects involve hand dyed yarn. And no two skeins of a hand dyed yarn are going to be exactly the same, even if they were dyed together. They are lighter or darker or contain more of one color than another. I don't know if it is clear from the picture above, but the skein on the right has a lot more white or lightly dyed areas in it than the skein on the left.

If I knit with first one skein and then the other, these differences would show up in the garment as if I was working with skeins of conventionally dyed yarn from two different dye lots. You would be able to see where I switched skeins because suddenly there would be more light stitches in that area of the fabric. By alternating two skeins as I work up the back of this sweater, the differences are blended and minimized and it's much more difficult to distinguish where one skein ended and another began. This technique also has the extra added advantage of minimizing pooling, because it is unlikely that the repeats in any two skeins of yarn will be the same.

The drawback of this situation is that you always have to work around two skeins that are both attached to the garment piece (I carry the yarns up the side). This makes the project less portable. It also means that you can spend a lot of time untangling crossed strands until you figure out which way to turn the project to keep the strands from twisting.

Turquoise Rainbow

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I finished up Siena Sunday morning before breakfast (which for John and I is around 1:30 pm). This gave me plenty of time to contemplate what would come next. Since it's pretty chilly in Chicago right now, I wanted to knit something warm and comfortable.

At first, I thought I should finish up my Bullseye Pullover... and then I started ripping. And then I started wondering why I had ever decided to make a mohair sweater. And then my frustration level grew high enough that I figured that I had better stop before I completely shredded the yarn. I still haven't finished ripping the front of the darn thing. If I ever manage to finish the ripping and I reknit it, it's just going to be a simple drop shoulder pullover without the Bullseye in the center.

Sitting next to the pieces of the Bullseye in the armoire was a kit I picked up at the Michigan Fiber Festival from Traci Bunkers and her company Bonkers Handmade Originals. I liked the simple cable and lace motifs in the Rainbow Dyed Pullover and found a colorway that was compatable with my skin tones. Bonkers yarn is beautiful, but most of her colorways have strong yellow undertones which don't do very much for me. Turquoise is a lovely color because it complements those of us who look better in the blue range of colors and those of us who look better in the yellow range -- words of wisdom from Maggie Righetti.

To calm my mohair addled nerves, I balled up a skein of the Bonkers yarn with the help of my trusty swift and swatched on the suggested needles. After working with the ribbon, it was kind of nice to get worsted weight wool back in my hands. This yarn is very soft and has thicker and thinner areas that give it a lot of character.

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Bonkers Worsted Swatch

Digital cameras, I am told, have difficulty with vibrant colors. In real life, this swatch is much bluer. I think the stitch definition is lovely. I knit to gauge on the recommended needles, and the fabric is quite dense. For a more detailed closeup of the stitches click here.

I blocked the swatch a little and let the swatch sit overnight while I started another quick scarf project. I almost stopped at this point. Why? Because, once again, my love for hand dyed yarn means that I have to knit from two skeins at once and carry a strand up the side. I really wanted something simple that could be ported from place to place. By Monday night, however, my desire for another warm pullover overcame my issues with portability, and I cast on for the back of the sweater.

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Rainbow Dyed Ribbing

The color in this picture is much closer to real, but is still not quite on target. This is the not so impressive beginning of the back of the sweater. Three inches of K1P1 ribbing and then the rest stockinette. The back is likely to be nap inducing, but that makes it good to get out of the way first.

I may use my desire to complete and wear this sweater as a means to motivating myself to finish a sweater that has been lingering in my to do list since summer -- the Lo Tech Sweat for my Dad. I'm going to try to alternate between the projects. Finish the back of the RDP, finish the sleeve for the LTS, work a RDP sleeve, finish the other LTS sleeve, etc. Maybe this approach will result in a sweater that my dad can wear this winter...

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