Sunday, June 8, 2014

Summer Crafting: A Finished Object

Don't get too excited. I can't show you a photo of the Aisance (my latest finished project) till it's done blocking, which won't be for at least 36 hours, what with the humidity, yarn properties and dimensions of the garment.

Mind you, I can tell you about my experience in this post, and wow you with the photos in the next :-)

As a reminder, here's what the cardi looks like:

Oooh, pretty back shaping!
But first let's talk about the yarn...

Shibui Staccato
I like to think of myself as the ambassador for Shibui Staccato, cuz it is fine. I think it's fair to call it silk blend perfection, which is high praise coming from someone who doesn't like silk yarn.

(Side Note: I hate it when I have to concede that my long-held opinions aren't founded. Well, apparently I don't hate it that much, cuz somehow I do it on a regular basis.)

In fact, I was so psyched by the yarn (and the swatch really spoke for itself), that both Sara and Andrea opted to work with it on this project as well! A propos of this, the Aisance is another of those projects that Sara, Andrea and I will make together (but separately) as a knit along. Sara finished hers last week. Andrea is still waiting on her yarn (and is exceedingly occupied doing serious work on a new home in the County) and, well, now you know where I'm at.

The only thing I don't like about this yarn is that, in flat-worked stockinette, it's challenging to tension. I'm not one of those knitters who observes a difference in tension between knit and purl rows, but with the Staccato, it was very tricky to keep the purling as firm as the knitting. That's a feature of the slippery texture of silk (along with metal needles and cold weather) and my own skill as a knitter. I certainly wouldn't avoid it for that reason - unless you struggle with tension on a regular basis.

Staccato (like any silk yarn) does grow a bit (though not as extensively as other silks), particularly length-wise, when blocked. This is a consideration when making a cardigan with long front panels that are weighty.

Which takes us to a review of the sweater itself:
  • I went down a needle size to get horizontal gauge (after blocking). I didn't even try with vertical gauge, I adjusted that on the fly.
  • Nonetheless, the pattern is very large - it's drafted for 0-2 inches of positive ease - but I could easily have made the smallest size, on a smaller needle, and got a well-fitting garment (particularly after blocking). However, I made the second smallest size (32.5) for the body and the smallest size (30.5) for the sleeves, and it seems to be fine. To clarify: I went down 3 sizes in the body and 4 sizes in the sleeves and it fits, potentially slightly too large. Again, post-blocking will be the real test but I planned for some growth of the yarn as it sets and blooms during drying. Sara feels that the sleeves are oversized, as written, and suggests sizing down.
  • Furthermore, the pattern suggests WAY more yarn than one requires at size. I used 400 yards less than the pattern calls for. That's an expensive pattern glitch, dare I say it. I spent 40 bucks more in yarn than I needed to. I used 6 skeins, vs. the 9 I was advised I'd require.
  • Quince patterns aren't badly written, but they're not my fave. They're no Brooklyn Tweed. Perhaps the most annoying element of the entire construction process was using the errata correction, in the back shaping set up, only to discover - after the fact - that it's wrong?! The errata is in errata. Not cool, people. I have a booboo on the back body that I couldn't fix after the fact without seriously fucking up the tension. It's small, but it irritates me.
  • As I wrote in a previous post, this isn't a difficult pattern, but I would change things if I were to make it again: I hate provisional cast on and I'd prefer a true seam at the back neck (vs. the weirdness the pattern suggests). This sweater has an easy way about it, construction-wise, but it does turn into a stockinette slog (and then a stockinette meets rib slog) once you get to the point that you put the sleeves on waste yarn. Having said this, the end result is a substantial, if simple, sweater with architectural lines.
As mentioned, shortly I'll post photos of this when the blocking is done - maybe even photos of me wearing it (gasp)! I do hope that I like it as much as I did when first I saw the pattern photos.

So, today's questions: Have you made this sweater? If yes, how do you feel about the end result? Would you make this sweater? Thoughts about Shibui Staccato? Let's talk!


  1. Haven't made the sweater, but it has potential and I therefore may tackle it. I love Shibui Staccato even though I've only used it in a scarf, not a garment. I would definitely use the yarn again (and again).

    1. It would look very nice on you because it's designed for a tall woman - and of course both you and it are very chic :-)

  2. I'm so glad I will have your and Sara's notes on this cardigan once I get to it... if my yarn ever arrives! I do think I will go with your suggested seam at the back neck and will definitely shorten the front bands. Also, pictures please?

    1. Yeah, has it happened yet? Where is that yarn??