Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Is this a Blaze?

Just when you thought my spazzing days were over...

I mean, I managed to knit an entire project by following the directions completely and not making random changes without thinking first. I finished knitting Branching Out last night, but it still needs to be blocked. I couldn't stand it anymore so despite the fact that I still had yarn left, I gave up on the last 2 repeats that the pattern said I should have been able to get out of the Douceur et Soie and just bound off. My eyes were just itching too much. Anyway, I had been pulling at the lace to open it up the entire time I was knitting, so I'm not sure how much of a difference blocking will make. Now all I have to do is find some sort of surface to block it on. But anyway, here it is. Yes, I know, it's so long, you can't even see the end of it in the picture, but I can tell you it goes on to the end of my 7' couch.

And the closeup of the leaf pattern. I'll do an official FO entry once it's blocked.

But my point being, I now know that I AM capable of following instructions while knitting. It's just that I usually choose to only VAGUELY follow instructions.

For example, I've been eyeing Blaze for quite some time now. The softness of the angora and the seamless design... I just had to do it for my next project. So I looked at the yarn for it, Indulgence, and wondered if I could substitute something else a little less expensive. WEBS had Berrocco Pleasure and it was on half price sale, and if I got $60 worth of yarn, then they'd take an additional 20% off! Easily making this a <$40 sweater. Sure, the gauge was a bit heavier than Indulgence, but what the heck, I knit tightly at times and I can always play with the needle size to meet gauge. So in my cart it went and not too long later, it was in my hands.

Now that Ryan's allowed me only TWO WIPs at a time plus a mini project of under 110 yards, I have to choose wisely. I also purchased the yarn for Hopeful and was debating about whether to start this Hopeful or Blaze first. It was pretty clear that with other competing projects, a sweater for myself would probably be finished sometime in mid-winter and the next would be sometime next summer. Meaning that longs leeves first would probably make more sense.

So I started to swatch for Blaze. I could meet gauge, but I didn't like it at all. The zigzag design is way more effort into row counting than I would want to put forth, and it's on a background of mostly reverse stockinette. Don't like it. So I thought, hmm, I can just use a different stitch pattern. So I perused BW's Treasury of Knitting Patterns and found a mock-cable stitch that doesn't require a cable needle and doesn't require me to drop a stitch, hoping that I'll be able to pick it up later without it dropping down a row or 4. After trying a couple of variations, I settled on this. The picture is more grey than purple, but in real life, it's more purple than grey. I have to figure out how to photograph color better.

Great. Now I have a stitch pattern that I like, all I have to do now is just insert that into Jenna's instructions for Blaze and all of the work is done for me. It's still Blaze, just a variation, right?

Right, except that I realized that I didn't like the seamless yoke construction of the sweater because they can be a bit roomy in the yoke and I've heard people complain that it slides off their shoulder. Okay, so I'll just change it up a bit and make it a raglan. Oh, and the elbow length sleeves just don't seem to suit me, so I'll make them longer, more like 3/4 length. And my gauge is a bit off, more like 20 sts/4", so I'll just recalculate using my gauge. And my stitch pattern is a 9 stitch repeat, not 6 stitches, so I'll have to figure out my increases so I have the right number of stitches for joining the sleeves to the body and still be able to get my arms through. And of course I'm panicking because I still have 7 balls of yarn, but now I have a slightly different sweater. I'm hoping that by cropping the sweater a bit and decreasing stitches through the yoke, that will give me enough yarn for the extra length in the sleeves. And I'm counting on the bigger gauge to save me.

So now, I'm making a Blaze with a different stitch pattern at a different gauge with different sleeves and a different yoke construction. Does this qualify as Blaze at all?