Sunday, August 23, 2015

August Sweater

Hello, I'm back.
And with a sweater to report.

I know, it has been a while since my last post.  Truth be told, life is just so routine, which I rather enjoy as I'm get older.  I feel so lazy and uninspired to talk about myself and my routine life.

The one thing that's newly added to my daily routine this summer is hour long walk with Ritchie everyday. It's something we both look forward to. He has also been going on hikes with us that ranged 3 to 5 hours. Being a good trooper that he is, he just keeps trudging along with his short legs. He's more like a teenage boy compared to Cody, who was like a toddler. When Ritchie doesn't want to be patted or cuddled up, which is half of the time when he's napping, he would make grumpy noise or simply walk away. Seriously? Shih Tzus are supposed to be a lap dog that LOVE to be cuddled. But he does not likes to sit in anyone's lap at all! He's rather independent minded.  The only time he ever barks is when big dogs approach him too aggressively by putting paw on his back of sniff him for too long. He doesn't take crap from them whereas Cody would roll over submissively.  So, I'm just having a great time finding out his likes and dislikes and little antics of his, and every once in a while feeling rejected when he turns away as I am about to pat him.    

See, isn't it more fun for me to not talk about just me?
But I do have some knitting to report. So here we go.

This sweater was knitted top down in one piece from neck to underarm with raglan style sleeves. The front was knitted separately top down to underarm, then join the back in rounds from underarm to hem.  Sleeves were then worked in rounds after the body was finished.

Even though I designed some lacy sweaters and shawls, my personal daily style is rather un-delicate. So sometimes I'd design delicate stuff to satisfy my design curiosity, and other times, I designed things more wearable for me. This time I wanted something I'd wear comfortably. I was inspired by the monotonous use of textures in men's sweaters, and I wanted to design a sweater that's using the similar feel with a more feminine silhouette. After some thinking and swatching, I decided on combining 2 textures, 1x1 ribbing and twist stitches columns. And top it with the triangular, faux-shrug neckline.

The yarn I used Elann LE Lana Pura, a soft DK weight yarn from stash, and needle size #4.

It took quite a few re-dos to work out the front section, and that was not even the most frustrating part. Knitting the endless monotonous twist stitches was a big test on my patience. First, it was over 80 degrees out most of the time, and inside the house felt like 90 degrees in the afternoons if I forgot to draw the curtains earlier in the day.  And I'd been covered by bug bites the whole summer due to extra buggy this year in the woods.  Then the stitches were not exactly the fast going kind.  The twist stitches was so frustrating working with a yarn that is plied with hundreds strands (OK, maybe 50 strands.)  The yarn was great to work with in plain stockinette stitch or ribbing. But it turned in to a source of frustrating splittiness for twist stitches. Within 2 days I started to feel stress tension around my shoulders. Fortunately, I got into reading a book that I didn't work on the sweater for days. When I got back to it, I was a lot more relaxed. Somehow, the twist stitches all of sudden became tamed and flowed smoothly for the rest of the sweater.

The striping on the sleeves was an impulsive decision.  I was wearing my stripey pajamas pants while knitting, and the combination to the texture just seemed right, not to mention I was dying to do some stockinette stitches.

In the end, I really, really like this sweater. I like the way it fits, not too fitting as I gave it about 2" positive ease.  This neckline construction was experimental for me.  I'm very thrilled it worked out as I'd hoped.  Even though I doubt many knitters would want to knit endless ribbing plus endless twist stitches, I still wrote up a pattern for it, just because I really like this sweater.  I'm hoping to get it published later in Fall or Winter when it's not crazily hot to knit a sweater.

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