Betsey Do

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sweater From the Top Down #1

In which I discover the sweaters coming up in Thrift Shops to frog and reuse. Then start to knit my first top-down raglan sweater from the pattern pictured above.

Last month, I had picked up a couple of sweaters which were both hand knitted in the round at the Thrift Shop. I'm beginning to think that this might happen more and more with so many people knitting in the past few years; which is a little sad to think that so many hours of knitting get donated to the Thrift Shop by, I'm guessing, people who received things as gifts and didn't realize their value, or maybe a knitter who didn't realize they could frog the sweaters for other projects.

It's bittersweet thrift hauling. I've found some gorgeous gorgeous yarns knitted up into scarves not quite right, that I've frogged for other little one skein, or less, wonders.

One recent purchase was of a great, large off-white sweater in a worsted weight yarn. the yarn is a really nice wool which feels it has a little mohair, just for that "Black Sheep" feel. Another sweater purchased, a snug little green number that felt and looked like it was made from some Debblie Bliss cotton/angora type of yarn. The frogging and reusing potential was just too good to pass up for the $2.00 price of each!

Each yielded more than enough to make some sweaters of my own. Very psyched am I.

So I've frogged them both. The green has been sitting in different dye baths for some variegated yarn. It knits up nicely into a swatch with #8s and I'm just short of a ragland sweater planned of it, so I'll search for a couple of comparable skeins to incorporate into said planned sweater (more on this in a few weeks I hope).

The off-white is being worked into my first ever top-down raglan sweater using the Merry-Go-Round sweater pattern featured above (sans any color change in the yoke). After trying to find Ann Budd's indespensible, I found said Merry-go-Round Sweater pattern in a really sweet book written by Mary Rich Goodwin:

Children's Sweaters and Hats - Knitting Seamless Raglan Top Down. Children's Sweaters and Hats - Knitting Seamless Raglan Top Down. It is discontinued so gratefully I have it from the LAPL for the next few weeks.

This little grassroot-type of a book has alot of basic ways to knit raglans from the top down, in both cardigan and pullovers. Even though it's written for children, I'm pretty "small boned," so I'm hoping to just change things a little for the one I'm trying: Ring Around the Cardigan.

The instructions show variations for Chest circumference from 24" through 39". It calls for #8s with a gauge of "4 to 5 st" to the inch. Really, this leaves alot for error, so I'm just plunging in with my off-white wool which gauges at 13 stitches to 4-inches and knitting up the size for "33" chest, hoping that I can let it be somewhat large on top and then "slim" it down into the torso section. I plan to keep the sleeves at 3/4 length as well. After all this, it should also be longer for my much longer torso than the standard 33" chested child!

Yes, this is a project to explore, take notes and see what happens.

Oh, and I didn't refresh the yarn by rinsing, so I plan for a really bumpy ride in this piece - going all out for the "first sweater" ever made look. But that's me. I really can't stand things tooo smooth and perfect.


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