Sunday, March 09, 2008

duchess raglan

Finally, I plowed my way through two plain stockinette sleeves, and I have a finished sweater.

Pattern: Duchess Raglan, a free pattern from Classic Elite
Yarn: Merino Bulky in Bordeaux, a nice fiery Project Spectrum color, just under four skeins
Needles: US 10
Started: sometime in January
Finished: March 6

For some reason I race through the bodies of sweaters but totally balk at knitting the sleeves. When I finally suck it up and get the sleeves done, I'm so happy to have a finished sweater that I wonder why I procrastinated for so long.

I made a few modifications to this pattern, the main one being knitting it from the top down rather than bottom up. If you look at the photo that accompanies the pattern, you'll see that the raglan decreases go all the way to the edge of the neckline. If you like that look, keep that in mind because the pattern will tell you to knit another inch after completing the decreases before binding off the neck. When I was translating this to top down, I first wrote down that I needed to knit an inch plain before starting the increases. I'm glad I noticed the error, because the main things that attracted me to this pattern were the slip stitch detail along the raglan lines and the raw edges. Adding an inch at the neck would have given it a different look.

Since the sleeve and bottom edges roll, I added plenty of length to both. I'm pulling the hem downward in both of the photos above. When left on its own it hits at about my mid hip. The sleeves are nice and cozy. I can pull them down over my hands or let them roll naturally up. I haven't washed or blocked this sweater yet, and I'm a little afraid the sleeves will grow too long. I'll just have to shorten them if that happens. I kind of just did my own thing with the sleeves rather than following the pattern. I didn't want them to be as tight as the sample sweater's seemed to be. They are comfortable the way they are now, but sort of don't match the body - very fitted body, loose sleeves. It's fine though.

I wanted to make sure I ended up with a wide neckline, so I cast on more stitches than the pattern indicated the finished neck opening should have. Every time I tried it on throughout the knitting, I thought the neck was still smaller than I had wanted. But, now that the sweater is finished the weight of the body and sleeves pulls the neck open and it is actually a bit too wide. You can see it about to fall off my shoulder in this photo. The neck is also quite low in the back. I've seen mentioned on blogs and message boards something about using short rows in the center back to bring the back neck up, but I didn't think of that until after I had finished, and wouldn't know how to go about doing it to begin with. That will be something to learn with another sweater.

I wore the sweater to work on Friday, the morning after I finished it, and I wore it around town to do errands on Saturday too. Other than the shoulders tending to fall down, it's very comfortable and wearable, and I especially like the length and shaping. It's so satisfying to feel good wearing something I've made myself. Sweater knitting is addicting. See?


LizKnits said...

Love the color of that new sweater... congrats on getting it done. Your new swatch looks pretty great too. Have fun with the new project.

Lolly said...

i printed out this pattern when I first saw it, but honestly, i forgot about it until now. yours looks so pretty! such a nice wearable piece. enjoy!

sam said...

Great color, and it looks great on you too.

I love sweaters like that. Very practical NW wear, but still beautiful. Nice.

Anonymous said...

i love your sweater! - alicia