Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Gauge the Situation: The Fingering Sweater Revealed!

Don't you feel it gives some ballast to your titles when you add an exclamation mark?

OK, don't want to drive you crazy with anticipation :-) so here's the sweater I chose:

The Princess Jumper
 And here's a little preview of the knit, so far:




Remember, it's unblocked and this yarn really needs blocking (as my gauge swatch revealed). It's not this fuzzy or uneven seeming when blocked.

A word on the yarn:

I'm using Jade Sapphire Mongolian cashmere in 2-ply. It's a light fingering and those plies like to untangle on a regular basis. This is not the easiest yarn I've ever worked with. It's as princess-y as the sweater it's making. For starters, it comes in hanks which, I've read, are not machine windable because this yarn snaps like a bitch. I can confirm that it breaks pretty easily as evidenced by the fact that, after laborious, 2-person hand winding (my husband acting like an umbrella swift and I taking on the role of the skein winder) I discovered that you can't pull this yarn from the centre of the ball. Instead, I'm working from the outside, which is kind of a pain.

I'm a fairly loose knitter so I haven't had any problem with the yarn snapping as I knit, though it's challenging to keep my tension even given a) the small needle, b) the very light as well as thin yarn and c) a concern about being too tough on it.

I haven't got to the upper chest of the sweater front, as yet (the part with the TW4 pattern) but I hope that I'll be able to keep that nice and even as it involves knitting 3 stitches around a fourth stitch which takes a certain amount of tension on that 4th stitch. I've done it on the back placket and it seems to be working fine, though more practice will improve my outcome, I hope.

Happily there are no mid-ball yarn joins to worry about and given that one ball is 400 yards of yarn, there's very little mid-knit joining of any sort. Not that it's difficult with this yarn.

Elizabeth Zimmerman said that, if you want to save money knitting, you should knit in fingering-weight. For starters, it takes a long time to get through any project with such skinny yarn but for another thing, fingering weighs less than just about anything else. It's cost-effective. Of course, it's not so cost-effective when you spend $150.00 on pure cashmere (on 40 per cent off sale?!) but Cascade makes a yarn called Heritage which is part merino and part silk which is very affordable and quite lovely. Springy and tight, not too drapey from what I can tell. You could make this sweater for 40 bucks using that yarn, at full price!

I have wanted to use pure cashmere since the day I started knitting, and I only just feel ready for the challenge. Thing is, I'm not sure if I love it. Really, I can't say as yet. I might like something less plied or more robust a bit better than this 2-ply stuff. And, given that it's kettle-dyed, I'm knitting small variations of grey throughout the fabric. That's not really my thing, a variation on variegated, but I'm trying to see it for its artistry rather than its rustic-ness.

It depends on how this thing hangs when it's all put together - and it's a 4-piece seamed knit so it's going to be a while before I know.

I do believe that the delicate yarn is strengthened by the knitting, so I'm not concerned about wearing it.

My rationale for knitting the Princess Jumper:

I've been considering which sweater to use the cashmere on since the summer (when I bought the yarn online). I do LOVE vintage sweaters, especially those re-interpreted by Susan Crawford. My Jan Sweater, the second thing I ever knit, was a Susan Crawford pattern and I love it, if not on me. Note: Since I made the Jan I've learned a lot of things about knitting and sizing and fitting and fitting with knits etc. So I don't recommend the Jan for someone short-waisted and busty. But it's just a gorgeous design...

Anyway, while it didn't excite me, on first glance, as much as some of Susan's other patterns, the Princess Jumper kept coming up when I considered making something sleek and fitted and "pin up" but with an edge of work-place conservatism.

Though it's super-fitted, I like that the "cables" are above the fullest part of the bust. (Pam - you called it when you said I would avoid the Sun-Ray because of the boob-attention it would provoke.) And I really love how the shoulder shaping is tight. I have small, narrow shoulders and reasonably slim arms and it looks good on me when a sweater really fits in that area.

Furthermore, the photo of this sweater makes it look as if it's been knit with a yarn that has similar properties to my Jade Sapphire. In fact, I suspect it was knit using Susan Crawford's rather less-delicate yarn, Excelana, which I've tried (and love for it's vintage colours) but which isn't soft enough for my fussy tastes.

So, what do you think of my sweater choice, given my rationale? Do you like the fabric or is it too rustic for you? Have you worked with this yarn and, if so, what are your thoughts. Let's talk.

12 comments:

  1. Perfect - I think this one suits your figure the most! Wow! Cashmere....my dream yarn....I like all of it. Once I can actually knit a garment this is the first yarn type I'm going for. . . I'm never have used the two play. In RTW, I would say that I only wear 100% cashmere or occasionally 100% merino - so I agree this is a totally wearable yarn (especially in Northern areas!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You really called it! And, since I wear it so often in RTW, I figure I can get with the splurge on yarn.

      Delete
  2. Well, I can't say anything about how the yarn knits up, washes, wears, or whatever, but looking at it makes me want to snuggle up with it, so take that how you may. ;-) I also love the color, but grey is probably one of my top 3 fave colors (after teal and emerald green). Can't wait to see the finished sweater! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! It's like a little kitten!

      Delete
  3. I'm drooling over that yarn...so gorgeous. And your knitting is so beautiful and even. This is going to be just lovely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Evie. I am really enjoying petting it. :-)

      Delete
  4. Yummy! 100% cashmere is just yummy! It's been a few years since I've knit with it (Fleece Artist in a sock/fingering weight and in a worsted -- socks, scarf, and sweater). What you've knit so far looks lovely, not rustic at all, and it looks as if you're going to have some really pretty definition on the cables. Can't wait to see it done and modeled on you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How did the socks hold up in cashmere? Were they too delicate to be worn day-to-day?

      I'm glad you don't think it looks rustic! I think it will block with nice stitch def. I hope!!

      Delete
  5. i'm so glad it was this one you choose! I'm also making it but spending so much time analysing the fit changes I would make that I've myself completely confused. Looking forward to seeing how you dealt with fitting the pattern. Did you decide to leave it finishing at the waist? I've gone back and forth on this myself, does it change the look to much if you lengthen it or would I be more likely to wear it more often if it was longer, I just can't decide and I've spent the last 3 weeks thinking about this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eithne: How do you pronounce your name? Are you on Ravelry?

      I have lengthened the sweater at the ribbing by about 2 inches (and shortened it above the arm pit by about an inch). I need to ensure that my stomach is entirely covered by the ribbing and I have a bit of profile there I have to work around :-) I don't expect that it will look longer, just that it will be longer to accommodate my particular dimensions.

      Also, I'll get into this in more detail, I suspect, but I made the 34 - not the 32 I originally imagined I"d make, given my feelings about too much ease. Though I still had this perspective after I swatched, when I did the hem ribbing at first I sensed it would be too small. Then my idea was to do the hem in a 34 and the rest in 32 but really, Susan C seems to have actually applied the premise of negative ease. The 34 is to fit a bust of 36 (mine is 37-37.5), but that's 1.5 inches of neg ease I have to consider based on my fabric, not 5.5.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your response. When I initially started this before xmas I added about 3" length to it. I'm was also using the size 34" but having reached the increases before the underarm I'm contemplating only doing those for a 32" as I have a very narrow back. I did contact Susan regarding sizing before I started and she has indeed accounted for negative ease in the pattern I think. I can forward on the information she provided if you like?
      I really appreciate the in depth fitting posts you do with your knitting projects- they have been so informative. I took a knitting class with Ysolda Teague on fitting sweaters but your posts, as you work through fitting sweaters, has really cemented the lessons learnt in that class for me.

      Eithne is the Irish version of Etna- pronounced exactly the same as the italian volcano Mount Etna.

      I am on ravelry (sam7992)but sadly I don't really put pictures up of anything I make even though I know it would be great just for my own record.

      Delete
    3. Ah, that's the pronunciation! I've seen it spelled out before but never heard it spoken.

      I considered reverting to the 32 after the bust / at the underarm and going up but I opted to stay with the 34. Only time will tell if that was the right choice on my frame. You know, it's always a certain amount of educated guessing :-)

      Thank you so much for this lovely comment. To even be put in the same sentence as YT is very inspiring and I'm so happy if my ramblings actually provide others with usable information. I am so happy when I'm looking for perspectives on creative projects and I find ones that work for me. So I'm very pleased to be able to contribute to that experience for you. xo

      Delete