Hello, hello, hello! I've been gone, but now I'm back :-)
Over the weekend, we went to Upstate New York to visit Hubby's youngest brother and his wife and our littlest niece, aged two and a half. Such a cutie! We were lucky with the weather on Saturday, and they drove us to Vermont, which I was surprised to learn is only about an hour from where they live. They took us to Hildene, the summer home of Abraham Lincoln's son. This beautiful Georgian-style home was completed in 1905. The house and grounds are just gorgeous, even at the tail end of winter:
Robert Todd Lincoln was president of the Pullman Car Company, so there was also a beautifully restored Pullman car on the site. I love trains, so I was pretty pumped about seeing that!
We returned yesterday morning, and as you can imagine, I had a lot of things to take care of. But I crashed mid-afternoon, so I decided to spend some time with my Geno/Ghia sweater. The sleeves on this thing have been giving me fits!
One of the downsides of watching Netflix while I knit is that I don't pay as close attention to my pattern as I ought to. In this case I just forged ahead, following the instructions without really thinking about what I was doing. I knew the sleeves were meant to be gathered, but I didn't realize until I was a couple inches in that the increases which doubled the stitch count were all happening at the side seams every single row! Here's how it looked when I stopped to actually analyze what I was doing:
At that point, I'd only done about 8 of 26 increase rows - look at that steep angle! What this means is that all the volume of the sleeve would end up right in my armpit. Call me crazy, but I don't think that's the most flattering look!
So I ripped it all out and rewrote the pattern to evenly distribute those increases just after the ribbing. And then I forged ahead again. It took me a long time to knit that darn sleeve - there were twice as many stitches as there were on the front! I had an inkling about half way up the sleeve cap that this one wasn't going to work out either, but I decided to finish it to see. I followed the pattern instructions for the shaping of the cap, which has you work 2 stitches together across the last couple rows to do even more gathering at the top.
Hmmmm. That's a lot of sleeve. Here's how it looked arranged next to the body:
Napoleon Dynamite, anyone? Just not digging this look either. I may be alone on this, but I think that after a certain age, super puffy sleeves just aren't appropriate any more. And I think that age is about 6.
So yesterday, after all my chores were done and I was ready to sit down with some knitting, I rewrote the sleeve pattern with the help of Maggie Righetti's Sweater Design in Plain English. What I came up with is a lot more wearable for me. And because there was so much less fabric to make, I was able to make the sleeve in about an hour and a half.
Next to the sweater:
Now that's more like it. I'm going to post my sleeve instructions on my Ravelry page for this sweater rather than write them here, since I don't really think it's a thing of general interest. My instructions are based on my gauge and the way I wanted my sleeve to fit. But what I wanted to say here is that Maggie Righetti's book made it pretty easy for me to figure out how to do this. I've had this book for a few years but haven't actually read it yet. I'm thinking that maybe I should! I did read Knitting in Plain English, and while I didn't agree with everything in that book, I did learn a lot of neat tricks from it. I think both of these books are great additions to any knitter's library.
Have any of you read either of these books? What did you think? I didn't read the sweater design book because, let's face it - I don't really have any original ideas! But now I'm thinking it may have tips to help me problem-solve other knitting patterns.