Sunday, February 8, 2015

Asta on the farm

Asta Sollija in action.

I wish the two yellows were more different and that the bright blue was about two shades darker, but there is to be no more crying over that. This is a nice sweater. I like it.


Okay, not so bad. I learned a few things, which is usually the case, and I have already worn it three times since it came off the needles, so it looks like Asta is here to stay. It's a great pattern and in case you're thinking of diving into it yourself, I can tell you I made only a few small modifications--I decreased by one pattern repeat at the yoke to reduce its dimensions, and I went down about three needle sizes at the top of the yoke and neck to keep it from flaring. My best stunt here, though, is this--you can skip ahead if you don't want a lecture and lesson about gauge--I did not use the recommended yarn for this project (you've already heard my laments about that) and thus I did not get gauge, and actually I did not care to get it. I know, hear me out. I feel that pressing a particular yarn--especially if I'm trying to substitute, which I almost always do--into a specific gauge is a recipe for heartache. In my experience, trying to "get gauge" by bossing my knitting into being 5.25 sts/inch instead of the 5 sts/inch it wants to be is no end of struggle, and will probably not even work. So instead of trying to make a square peg fit a round hole, I do this: I choose the yarn I want to use, select the needles that will make a nice fabric of it, and make a swatch. I have been known to wash and block the swatch, even, if I'm feeling uncharacteristically patient. Then, I measure as accurately as possible the number of stitches I'm getting per inch. Armed with that number, I measure as accurately as possible my own self around the hips (which is where the cast on for the body ends up) and do the math: inches around me x stitches per inch in gauge swatch = number of stitches to cast on for a neat fit. I look at the size options in the pattern, and pick the closest one. In this case, simply measuring myself and choosing a size based on that would have resulted in an enormous sweater that definitely would not have fit and would definitely have been unraveled by now. I might have to get even mathier when doing this with a pattern where row gauge is critical--which is what happened with the yoke last time, for instance--but I always enjoy an interesting challenge, and it allows me to use whatever yarn I want.
Yarn. This is Fisherman's Wool in Oatmeal, with Paton's Classic in Charcoal, Plymouth Galway in 190 (bright pale blue and 764 (heathered brown), Cascade 220 (egg yolk yellow) and a [very barely] paler yellow, hand dyed by me in a turmeric exhaust bath. I used US 7, US 5, and US 3 needles.

I'm happy with it, and grateful to you all for staying my hand and making me think about it a little more before pulling the trigger on the unravel. (But you see the robots, don't you? Maybe they're more like paper dolls?)

During this snowy photo shoot (and I am really not looking for reasons) I found a reason to bring a chicken into the house. Just for a little while. She stood in front of the blowing furnace vent with her feathers a-ruffling, and just gave me a look. It's hard to explain.

Not for nothing, this is the hen we call "Nervous."

27 comments:

  1. Yes - definitely a keeper, although you are a little disappointed with the shades, I think that they are absolutely perfect for this time of year :) Your hen had me smiling :) Our hens hate the snow and I suspect they'd like to stand near the heater too!

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  2. While I can spot the 'robots' in the fair isle I love your colour choices and am thankful that you've explained how to sub yarns as it has always baffled me somewhat bit finally I think I get it!

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  3. I absolutely love it and am SO envious of anyone who can knit anything...even more so- a sweater that fits perfectly. I really need to take knitting lessons!

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  4. Lovely sweater! I scrolled back and forth and back and forth to ensure you hadn't madly knitted for a day to produce another one because you had complained so much about it at first. We are our own worst critics. P.S. The chicken cracks me up!

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  5. your sweater is fab, it does fit so well and the colours / pattern are perfect. Thanks for sharing how you work out gauge, this is really helpful and interesting to me and I will try this method out (in a million years when I have a bit more knitting experience) Everyone I know who keeps chickens are completely besotted with them, but I have yet to feel compelled to get some. Sorry. Love your knitting though. Sam xx

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  6. Oh My oh my that chicken!!! She looks lovely. I always wanted chickens and maybe I will have some one day... Who knows what the future will bring to my life?
    The wearer is fantastic! Big Woop Woop for you! How I wish I could knit as I simply adore everything fair isle... You did a great job and your explanations of gauge and how you alternated the pattern are so in detail. Very helpful and even make sense for a crocheter like me. Thank you for sharing such lovely pics of you in that sweater. The bottom part is my favourite I have to say. Looks fab around the hips of yours. Have a lovely Monday.
    Xxx
    Annette

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  7. I've been searching for the robots, cannot see them. I think your jumper is great. Sorry I can't bring myself to call it a sweater! I use your gauge method for handspun wool it works a treat. I do enjoy your blog and love your sense of humour. Bernice from New Zealand

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  8. Love your idea of a swatch - I am sure that would have help me no end with some of the jumpers I knitted and it totally makes sense! Thanks for the tip.

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  9. It's a perfect sweater and fits you so well !!! your hen made me smiles ... she probably doesn't like the snow !! Have a lovely and creative week !

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  10. And you were going to unpick it???? You must have had some sort of winter brain freeze! It looks beautiful and the fit is wonderful! I'm a big fan of Kate's designs too and I don't even knit!

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  11. Well, I must say that it fits you wonderfully! I unravelled many projects myself (though not a sweater, cos I've never made one) and I know how hard it is - much better if you get to appreciate the item you made! : )
    Wish you a lovely week!

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  12. The sweater looks perfect on you, so all's well that ends well. How lovely to keep chickens, it made me smile thinking of it near an air vent. Have a great week.

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  13. Definitely done the right thing - I may need to actually finish my jumper of doom that I'm almost convinced I'll have to unravel... just in case it is ok in reality

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  14. I think it looks great on you, I like the colours and the snowy photo shoot!xx

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  15. I like the maths. I am gonna use that equation because I can never get the right size, it is a total lottery until the garment is finished. I rarely use the right wool for a pattern either so even more reason to take heed. Jo x

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  16. You jumper has turned out really well. I love working out the maths of a pattern and the yarn/needles and so on. Nice hen!

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  17. oh oh
    I'm glad you were chicken and did not unraveL your work.

    cozy, indeed—love your posts!!
    x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x xo

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  18. Kristen, your hen by the heating is a wonderful photograph...just a wonderful surreal juxtapositioning.

    Your new sweater looks fabulous! I like all the colors you used, and think having the two closely-hued yellows makes for an interesting effect. Your description of what you do via-a-vis guage calculating is similar to what I do. Yes, let the yarn be the yarn it wants to be, and make a few mathmatical adjustments as required.

    xo

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  19. I'm so glad you didn't unravel - it looks great on you! Now you can get started on something new (and I bet you already have).
    After seeing all that snow, I'm thinking Ms Nervous really enjoyed her visit to the furnace vent.

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  20. I admire your knitting *sigh*

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  21. I love the sweater. Looks good on you! And the chicken is lovely! Ours like to come in a well. And we call one 'miss nervous' too but then in Dutch :-)

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  22. I still haven't knit a sweater, but I will keep these tips in mind when i finally make one! It looks great!

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  23. Your sweater looks wonderful and thanks for the knitting insights-I never would have thought of changing needles sizes mid knit. And the chicken! As I type I have a recuperating duck nestled on my lap. We are both enjoying her visit. Annie

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  24. What a lovely sweater - do you know if it's possible to get hold of the pattern without buying the entire Yokes book? Thank you!

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