Steamy

 

Spotted while running: a carpet of brilliant yellow aconite against dead leaves, dead sticks, dead grass, and bare shrubbery. They look like they’re dancing!

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I finally saw a crocus in our own yard. Yesterday, the temps climbed all the way into the 60s, though we’re paying for it today with very dreary weather—cold rain and plummeting temps.

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It’s good in a way; I needed to stay in and get some work done. For one thing, I got the neck finish done on my Better Breakfast pullover last night just before bed. What do you think? (Those buttons are just pinned on because it wasn’t blocked yet; more on that later.)

I’m calling this one “The Mister’s” because it looks like something you’d grab from your honey’s closet to throw on and run around the house in (the better to keep it later on, my dear).

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First thing this morning before I even put the coffee on, I got on the computer to get some pickup numbers over to one of the tech editors.

I blocked my body pieces yesterday—first the back; I parked my schematic close by to remind me what I was aiming for as I pinned out the pieces.

Then, the front right on top of that. Isn’t it amazing how much better the fabric looks when it’s blocked? You might guess that the textured motif would be flattened if steamed or wet, but actually it really pops when the background is super smooth, even in a fuzzy yarn like Better Breakfast DK.

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Once I had the blocking finished and the pieces dried, I picked up all around the neck for the finishing band. This one is knit in the same pattern as the hems but back and forth in rows. My plan was to have a button detail similar to that at the sides of the hem, with an overlap at the crux of the v-neck.

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This also requires some shaping to make the band lay correctly against the breastbone, which has to be smack in the middle of the button tab to be right. I had to make up as I went along, hoping it’d turned out right. Fortunately it did, because I wasn’t really in the mood to fiddle after investing so much extra time on my Triticum sweater this week. I was a little worried that the shaping would look weird, but once you get the buttons on, it’s not distracting at all or even that noticeable (see top photo).

Of course, I couldn’t just walk away from it at this point—I fired up the iron and got down to the work of steaming that neckline into fine shape.

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First, I just laid it flat on my pressing surface to go all around, steaming that ditch where the pickup row makes a bump. From here, I like to work on a surface that allows me to shape some curves into the neck and yoke area.

For this, I like to use my tailor’s ham which is a curvy, ham-shaped piece of equipment that is endlessly useful for steaming and shaping sweater seams, necklines, darts, and armscyes. I did a whole post a while back about using a tailor’s ham for blocking hand knits—click here to check it out. I laid the back neck (which doesn’t lie flat) across the curve that fit best and steam-blocked that area.

Then, I lay the whole neck across the top so the ham can act as the “chest” to fill the space. It has the same, very slightly bowed shape as the human chest. I can lay the neck out to work on it with the iron and team cloth with no fear of pressing in creases that won’t come out.

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A few well-placed pins help the job along.

Next, I need to sew in my sleeves, add some buttons, and I’m done. At our company meeting today, we were saying how this would make a nice vest, too—something else to add to the pattern . . .

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I loved how these persian green bone buttons looked on the Natty Cap that I knit in January from Kent DK and which inspired me to start this sweater,

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I am sticking with them to the finish. I just wish I had it to wear today. It’s going to go back down below freezing tonight and tomorrow morning and that Better Breakfast DK would feel awfully lovely on my body instead of in my lap.

In between everything else, I have actually been motoring through the second front for my orange cardigan too, knit in Briar Rose Joyful. This is the matching companion to the the pullover.

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It’s going to look quite different in tone—where the pullover has more of a “boyfriend” fit, looser and slouchier. For the cardigan, I added some shaping and made the body a bit shorter (these are all options within the pattern). This fabric is a bit stiffer too, so the look will be more tailored and dressy. I’m on the lookout now for ten or twelve leather buttons in just the right shade of brown with a red or gold highlight. I actually feel like I have those somewhere but I need to track them down.

I’ve been making headway on my Triticum cardigan too, and I think you’ll like today’s progress shot.

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Right?? I love it too and it will look even better once it’s blocked and its silky sexiness can really shine.

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Here’s a shot of that collar extension wrapping around to the back of the neck, where it will eventually meet the one from the other side to get grafted and stitched to the back neck edge.

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Once I did get to put some coffee on this morning, I sat down and cast right on for the back piece while the pot perked on the stove. As I knit this piece, I can’t help thinking about the gorgeous lace yarns we’ll be rolling out in a few weeks and how beautiful a couple of them will be for this sweater. One of the nice things about our heavier lace weights is that their loft allows them to be knit at a gauge similar to this fingering yarn.

How wonderful does a laceweight sweater sound to you for summer?

 

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