Fancy Schmancey Delancey

delanceyI love this sweater. I’m not sure I picked up stitches at the shoulders for the sleeves in the neatest way possible, but otherwise, we’re in love. She is comfy (thank you, Sublime Baby Cashmerino Silk) and warm. I love the colors. Nearly white yarn might prove to be a mistake with a baby, but I’ll wear it judiciously.

delancey-5

I almost wish the collar had a few more short rows so it was wider and I could make it lay flatter. I might try to steam that into submission at some point. I love the fit. I went down two needle sizes to have a smaller gauge because I wanted to eliminate some of the length and I read over and over on Ravelry how much this sweater grows.

We shot these pictures twice. Matt is pretty squirrelly behind the camera. He makes me laugh, but we ended up with a bunch of weird looking shots the first time. And I made this face before I even knew my fly was open the whole first shoot…

delancey-2

That could also just be stress. Back to the comprehensive exams!

There are a few more details here.

The End (after I weave in all those damn ends).

delancey blockingDelancey has been washed and blocked. I finished her Saturday afternoon and immediately bathed her in some warm water with lavender Eucalan. Now I have about 40+ ends to weave in. Ah hahah. I think I’d rather seam all day than weave in this many ends.

As predicted, she grew with blocking. The size is good, the length could be a teeny bit shorter. I might use my test swatch and see how the yarn fares with a bit of drying. I’ll be satisfied either way.

You can see a few more details here. I ended up with a spare ball of each yarn, plus just a very few yards of the last balls I used. I’ll probably exchange the remaining balls for something else delicious one of these days.

Can I count this as finished on Ravelry if I haven’t woven in ends and sewn on buttons? I probably shouldn’t.

What’s wrong with this picture?

delancey prog-3I am chugging along at the Delancey Cardigan at a decent pace. The yarn is so wonderful to knit, and I love that Alexis Winslow provides detailed instructions.

However, there have been a few moments of user error. I sometimes forget to click the row counter and then have to count some rows to catch up. I have been speedily knitting and then I realize I was supposed to start the stripes about 10 rows back. I have also forgotten to decrease many times on the shoulder sections or back section and I ripped back for those because I don’t mind a little reknitting, and I’m a sucker for perfect decreases and increases. If it’s too difficult to just drop down a stitch and fix the mistake I riiiiiiiiiiiippppppppp with abandon. I have ripped back small sections at least 10 times now.

One night I was staring at the pattern, counting my stitches and decreases, and I should have had about 8 less stitches. I stared, I counted, I stared. Then I realized I was looking at the row for the smaller size. Um, highlighting or circling your size in the pattern is most useful for overly tired baby-doesn’t-sleep-enough-at-night-so-I-don’t-either brains.

One evening, after I had ripped back one of the shoulder sections at least 3 times that day, I put it down for about 24 hours. I started some plain stockinette socks to soothe myself. Many sites and books talk about the importance of babies learning to self-soothe. I don’t know how I did it as an infant, but as an adult it often involves some stockinette.

As you can see in the picture above, I managed to finish both shoulders and pin them to seam up until I noticed that I forgot to make the last set of stripes.

I may or may not be able to wear this sweater this season, but I will finish it and not abandon it until it starts to get cold next year, like I have with several other sweaters. But right now, I must frog a bit.

Oh stripes, I love you, but I’ll hate all those ends someday soon.

delancey prog-2
I have begun knitting Delancey in Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK. I chose the colors Vanilla for the main color and Buttercup for the contrasting color. So far I’m liking the colors. I had originally chosen a more pumpkin-orange for the CC, but I waited more than a year and a half to cast this baby on after purchasing the yarn, and Cynthia purchased the more gold color for the shop. This color is definitely more my taste so I exchanged them.

I’m enjoying this project. It requires barely any thinking, but is more interesting than plain stockinette. It’s tame enough that I can still gorge myself on French films on Netflix and pay attention to the subtitles. Last night I took it to Silver Linings Playbook, which I enjoyed immensely.

delancey prog

The yarn is sublime, you might say. Ha. It feels wonderful as you knit it. I believe it can be washed, but not dried. I tested that here and it seemed to be in good condition after a normal wash with a bunch of clothing. It feels much better than many other superwash yarns. I never mind the feel of superwash yarns in sock weight, but sometimes in a heavier weight they feel a little strange or too slick.

It looks small, and I’m doing it in a slightly tighter gauge than recommended (20 sts over 4 inches rather than 18), but it seems anytime I use a superwash it always grooooooows more than expected with a wet block, and many people on Ravelry have commented that this grows anyway. The author also notes that the cardigan seems small until blocking. I’ll press on and not worry about it.

I tried to make a Russian join using this yarn, but it seemed too slippery with too many plies for this to work neatly. I decided to just join a new ball at the end of the row and leave another couple of ends to weave in. By the end of this thing I will have so many, but I think the design is gorgeous, so it’s worth it.

I am working on this fairly monogamously and have gotten a good chunk done since I started last Friday. It’s going faster than I thought. I’m already ready to divide for the armholes.  Aside from this, I only have one pair of socks lounging on the needles! Those are mostly bus or walking knits. I was actually feeling pretty blah about my knitting inspiration until I got this sweater going. Now the mojo is coming back. Whoo!

Unadulterated sweater lust

I’m still dreaming of more sweaters. I think I may be becoming a bit of an addict now. I am swatching for the Delancey Cardigan in Sublime Merino DK. I even washed my swatch the way I wash all my other clothes (without drying it), and the yarn looks good as new. I’ve never tested a swatch like that (or even wet-blocked one), but it seemed like a good idea.

sublime swatch

I am getting gauge on a 7, but the fabric has a little more drape than I want. Sublime is also a superwash so although the swatch didn’t change in size, I bet a full-size adult sweater will stretch more when I wet block it. I’ve been perusing Ravelry project pages and many people have noted how much their sweaters grew, especially in length.

I always wet block because I don’t have good equipment for steaming and I love the way you can make the piece more exactly what you want with a good wet-blocking. I usually use some Euclan so I don’t have to rinse the item, and I let it soak for at least 40 minutes (or maybe just 20 if I’m overly eager) so the fibers get fully immersed. Then I place the item in a towel and roll it up and walk on it a bit to get out the excess water. Sometimes I use two towels. I don’t block everything, but sometimes it makes an average-looking piece look really polished, and sometimes I need to do it to make the sweater fit the way I want.

For the Delancey Cardigan, I think I’ll aim for the 36″ size with a size 6 needle so I can alleviate some of the expansion. I’m excited to knit this piece because many people on Ravelry talk about the unique sweater construction.

Other sweater dreams include Twigs and Willows from the Botanical Knits collection by Alana Dakos. I believe this is supposed to come out mid-February. I will snap it up as soon as it is available. She has designed many, many gorgeous pieces.

I’m trying to be good, and knit up some of the sweater-amounts of yarn I have in my stash. I will swatch with some Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed (classified as worsted weight on Ravelry) in Berry that was given to me years ago by my friend Lynda Jo. She’s not a fan of purple. I have had it lounging in my stash for about 6 years (yikes!) waiting to be something brilliant. This might be the sweater.

I haven’t forgotten about making Walpole out of the lovely Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock that Matt got me for Christmas, but I thought I should give my hands and wrists a break from another fingering-weight mile-long project right now. The yarn will keep.

I feel like I’ve done almost enough sweaters of different types to just design one for myself. I don’t know why this still seems so intimidating, but I’d like to accomplish it soon. Even though I love the mindlessness of top-down raglans and not having to seam things, I really love the polished look and fit of set-in sleeves. I may have to design something to knit for Matt because I have a man’s cardigan in my head that I haven’t found on Ravelry yet. But that will require a hefty yarn purchase…