Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A little personal knitting

Between my Etsy store and my sewing jobs, it is uncommon that I have time to do any personal knitting.  This holiday, I found myself with quite a bit of down time, though, so I thought that I would utilize it to get some knitting done for myself.  I have an overabundance of projects that I have accumulated over the past few years (thank God that I have such a basic taste or the patterns would go out of style before I made them!!) so I pulled one out and thought I would share a few of the steps at a time as it will probably be a year from now that I am done with it!

From: Indigo Knits book
My yarn: Denim Freedom by Twilleys of Stamford (which I assume is discontinued given price and my inability to find it online to link to) Shade 104 and 102 - Navy and Sky blue respectively
Needles:  US 6 (and as calls for in book)

The pattern calls for Elle True Blue indigo cotton and provides a gauge and specifies "before washing".
The yarn I am using has some "yearn characteristics" listed that were reasons WHY I was excited about getting this yarn, however, these "characteristics" are also concerns.  This top has stripes.  They yarn warns that there WILL be dye loss.  Not MAY be - WILL be.  It is made to "Fade like jeans" so I was concerned that there may be some color bleed, especially since the Navy color is SO dark.  It also notes that there is a considerable shrink in length - so much so that it gives before and after washing gauge measurements.  For all of these reasons, I did a swatch.

Swatch BEFORE washing
Now, I KNOW that everyone and everything says to ALWAYS swatch.  Yeah, well, I don't always swatch.  I USUALLY DON'T swatch.  A. I hate wasting the yarn.  B. My swatches never seem to be anywhere close to what I get on the actual garment.  C. I never know what to do with the swatch once I am done with it.  However, I was very concerned that the colors would bleed so I did it.  While I was also concerned about shrinkage, it was not enough that I would have swatched only or that.

Once it was machine washed and dried (this is how I will care for it so I wanted to make sure I did it at this point as well), I found that my gauge was smaller than the pattern but I liked the way the gauge looked.  I made the decision to make the next size larger (the right size knitted exactly would have fit a bit more snug anyway).  It is rare that anything ever comes out too big for me (if the pattern even comes in my size) but in the off chance it does, I can always sew it to alter it like commercially made knitted items are.  Also, since this top is for me, I am not going to sweat the small stuff.

Swatch after washing and hand after knitting for an hour
I have already knitted quite a bit of the back and I have a few notes on this yarn.  
It is BEAUTIFUL  - particularly once washed.  
It WILL bleach in the sun.  The skeins were discounted and had a defined line where the label was wrapped despite the store having UV coating on the windows.  It you have this in your stash, keep it in a closed container.  Personally I LIKE the color fluctuations so it isn't an issue for me but since I am unsure how much fading I will get with successive washes, proceed with caution. 
You WILL have dye on your hands for the duration of knitting with it.  I wash my hands obsessively and barely get it off before staring again the next day.  All of my clothes are dark so I don't know if there was any transfer onto my clothing so BEWARE.

I will have more on this project as it progresses but I will be picking up production work tomorrow morning so, as I said before, it will be slow going.  I also have a shawl that I ran out of yarn on that once I get to the store (I hope they still carry the yarn!) I will get to finishing.  Since I was about 95% complete, that should be sometime next week.  I hope your holiday was as productive as mine!

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