If it looks like a sleeve cap…….

……it must be a sleeve cap.  All those calculations must be pretty well correct!  Well, one sleeve completed, blocked and fitted (with the aid of safety pins).  It seems OK!  The blocking has made an enormous difference to the piece.  When I’m finished the second sleeve, I’m going to photograph the blocked one and the non-blocked one side by side, to demonstrate the difference that blocking makes.  And this isn’t forceful blocking, it’s just laundering the piece as the finished garment will be laundered, and laying it out while still damp.
As usual, as I’m drawing to the end of one piece, my mind is jumping ahead to the next design.  DD2 has expressed interest in some arm and leg warmers.  I’m thinking about what yarn and stitch pattern to use.  I’m thinking of using the same stitch pattern on each, but to a different scale.  I’ve got a few ideas.  It will be the absolute wrong season to be working on these, but what the heck.  It’s nice to be asked for something, instead of knitting for myself all the time.  I’m loathe to knit items for people, unsolicited, as I don’t want to be pushing my interest onto others.  I’m very happy for people to ask for something.

A new project

Such is our family schedule, like most others, that it hasn’t been possible to even make a date to go shopping for some lining fabric for the trellis bag. So I’ll move on to another project that’s been on the back burner. Way back in June, I knitted these tension squares. The yarn is Sirdar Juicy DK, 80% Bamboo and 20% Cotton. It’s beautiful and soft and has a lovely drape to it.

My idea is to make a summer pullover in two different lace patterns. One will be for the sleeves and top half of the body, the other for the lower half of the body. The “squares” were laundered, dried and then hung overnight to determine any drop. I didn’t weight the squares as they hung, as the garment is intended to be close fitting, and therefore will be supported more by the wearers body than the rest of the fabric.

The above was written 12 days ago. In the intervening time I’ve had a crisis of confidence about my tension squares. After hanging, they dropped a little, as expected. However, after being put away for a couple of months, they seem to have retracted to their original size. Aaaaargh! What does it all mean? Does this mean that all my calculations based on the hung squares will be wrong? After much worrying, I decided to hang them again, out of curiosity to see what would happen. They dropped again, but not as much as the first time. I’m wondering if I was hallucinating when I took the first batch of measurements. After seeking advice from fellow fledgling designers on Ravelry, I’ve decided to go for a “split the difference” approach, somewhere between the two measurements, which isn’t huge anyway.

In the mean time, I’ve finished all my calculations, written up the pattern, bought yarn and actually begun knitting. It’s my first attempt at designing something with sleeves. To me, working out body and neckline measurements seems pretty much common sense, but armholes and sleeve caps are what have mystified me. In the absence of a convenient class to teach me these things, I have resorted to scouring knitting design books. Some of the instructions for working out shapings have seemed a little on the vague side to me. My most recent book purchase, though, has shed a lot more light on the subject. “Knitwear Design Workshop” by Shirley Paden has clear specifics which I’ve been able to comprehend. It remains to be seen whether I can convert this into a successfully designed garment. I remain hopeful.

Also, since I began writing this post, I have managed to drag DD1 to Spotlight to choose some lining material for her bag. In the next week, I plan to make up the bag and lining and get the pattern close to ready for publication. Exciting!