Monday, December 31, 2007

Mr. Greenjeans Sweater, Attempts I, II & III

In the last three weeks, I've completed two mr greenjeans sweaters, frogged one and am about to start number three (which is actually a remake of number two). I love the look of this sweater, the clarity of how the pattern is written, and the fact that it is knit in one piece, from the neck down. I am determined to have a mr greenjeans sweater that I am proud of and comfortable in and that I will wear.

Here's the backstory: I started version number one with yarn that I've had in my stash for a while, Plymouth DK Encore Colors, an interesting red-based tweed. It is a lighter weight yarn than called for in the pattern, but hey, that's never stopped me before. I worked on the sweater for a few days, taking it with me up to the mountains, and then I started thinking that maybe the lighter weight wasn't really going to work. Within a day, I had convinced myself that it wasn't working and that I needed new yarn to start another version.

I found that my local yarn store had just gotten in a tremendous selection of Cascade 220, almost too many colors to choose from. But I chose and started right in on mr greenjeans number two. The yarn worked up beautifully and the knitting just sailed along. Before I knew it, the sweater was finished. I tried it on and discovered that the sweater just didn't fit me right--the stockinette stitch part of the sweater was just too much, too baggy, there was excess fabric under the arms and around the chest.

The beauty of today's knitting world is the Internet: I found a multitude of blogs and KAL's and, most importantly, photos of other people's mr greenjeans. All the sweaters that were well-fitting were modeled on women with boobs. I don't have boobs.

So I went back to the first version that I had abandoned just after picking up and starting sleeve number one. It didn't take long for me to finish both sleeves, and today I finished the buttonband/neck ribbing. I think that the lighter weight yarn, which made a tighter fitting sweater, will work on my shape. Right now, the sweater is pinned to the guest bed for a little bit of blocking. Tomorrow I can try it on and see whether it fits the way I want it to or whether it will find its way to the bottom of a large trash bag.

This afternoon, I frogged the entire Cascade 220 mr greenjeans and re-wound all the yarn. I think to make it fit my body, I need to make the sweater smaller. Whether this means scaling the entire sweater down or just the yoke/sleeve area remains to be seen. I also need to take another look at what needles I'm using. I used a size 7 and found that I really ended up with three different gauges: working back and forth on the yoke gave me the loosest gauge, the sleeves worked on a circular needle gave a slightly tighter gauge, and when I switched to dpns to finish the sleeves, it was an even tighter gauge. I need to look at the pattern and crunch the numbers and also really pay attention to gauge.

The other thing that occurred to me was to make the sweater as a pullover--that's another interesting thought that I'm going to explore.

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