Today is a red-letter day.
Today is the day that I can finally say I have made myself a "vintage", slim-knit, 100% pure cashmere sweater. For some, that might be simply an interesting occurrence. But for me it is a culmination of so many loves: knitting, fitting, cashmere, ultra-soft textiles, an era gone by.
In truth, I finished it yesterday and it's still blocking (drying in shape). Apologies for a horrid blocking photo, but one that shows you that a) I really do wear shearling slippers all the time and b) I seem to be getting a lot of use out of those much-maligned, handmade socks.
What are my final thoughts about the Princess Jumper?
- It's a very nice sweater that shouldn't be too onerous if you don't decide to fuck with the armsyce length.
- I made the 34, though that was designed with the appropriate ease (so says the designer) for a slim-fit on a 36 bust.
- It would have been way too big in the bust if I'd made the 36 - probably the more "accurate" size for my 37.5 inch full bust circumference.
- Once again, if you're narrow, I have to recommend that you go for a minimum of 4 inches of negative ease in the bust.
- The shape of this sweater is beautiful and the sleeves are surprisingly easy to insert (once their length is determined).
- I recommend that you find some Knit Klips (which are no longer manufactured, but still able to be found on sites like eBay) to facilitate set in sleeve sewing. Apparently they keep everything together with precision and easing is much easier. Can't confirm that yet, but I have bought a packet for the next time.
- I know that many knitters back stitch when they do their final seaming. Gotta say - and it took me 7 hours to finish this thing, so maybe you want to reconsider my advice - but mattress stitching the seams together (vertical i.e. side seams, horizonal i.e. shoulder seams and combination i.e. sleeve curves) creates a beautiful finished product that, due to the thread weaving, has a maximal amount of structural integrity.
- I'm always amazed to read about the unwillingness of knitters to mattress stitch at the end of a project on the basis that it's too fussy or scary or hard. I can assure you that it is fussy - but in a fun way that will appeal to your OCD, it isn't scary - once you make your peace with it and you set up the seams carefully before beginning and it's sure as hell is not hard. If you can knit a freakin' sweater, you are more than up to seaming it well.
- Seriously peeps, there are SO many free online resources to get you through the finishing phase that you will be amazed. If you've been a back-stitcher to date (and I do know there are times when that stitch is the most appropriate one), make this the year that you switch it up.
About the yarn?
- Oh, cashmere, it is a wonder to touch. Alas, 2-ply yarn, knit on US size 1.5 or 2 needles is a challenge. I'm not going to lie.
- Fingering weight projects take too fucking long, IMO. I can assure you, after the 6 weeks I toiled away on this, I'm going for something worsted next :-) Or at least DK.
- The Jade Sapphire 100% cashmere is delicate. It does develop integrity via knitting, but it's very easy to break it with a wan tug. If you are a tight knitter, I don't think this is your best choice.
- Happily, there were no knots in the yarn so I didn't have any mid-knit joins for that reason.
- However, somehow there were so many loose ends, it took me an hour to weave them in. And that was not easy given I was working with soot-coloured yarn having teeny-tiny stitches.
- I recommend this yarn and I think the finished garment will be greatly enhanced for it, but I don't think it's necessarily worth the expense if you knit tightly or don't adore cashmere.
This marks the end of the Gauge the Situation knitting series, in which I discussed the merits and detractors of knitting 5 sweaters in 4 gauges (fingering, sport, DK and worsted).
I do intend to summarize my findings of this experiment - which weight was my fave, which sweater I like most, which I wear most, what I learned etc. But for now, let's just be grateful that I have finally completed a daunting - if utterly educational - task, with some fabulous wearable garments. Is is scary that I can't remember, off hand, what they are??
Here's hoping you can :-)
Today's questions: What was the subject of your last, crafting "red-letter day"? Which weight of yarn do you prefer to work in? Do you always knit sweaters in the same weight?
I'm so hoping that this will dry by tomorrow - it takes a while in the cold - so that I can wear it in the world for the first time. No doubt, photos are to follow. I'm psyched about this one.
*Props to those of you who know this reference on another red-letter day - that in which 30 Rock's last episode will air.