Wrapping up

There are a number of projects I finished last year that we never got around to photographing in modeled pictures. I think there are some projects that I never got around to photographing, period. I’m trying to remedy that now, and as we’re finding time, we’re taking pictures. One thing I’d love to do this year, actually, is go back to a lot of old projects and let you know how they’re holding up. It’s a good way to review yarns and see if the projects I chose for them were appropriate. (I don’t think a yarn is poor just because it didn’t hold up well. That can mean that it was simply badly chosen for a given project.)

This project is Francis Revisited, which is a free project from Beth Silverstein on Ravelry. I loved the look of this sweater from the first time I saw it, and a spate of excellent finished projects had me very eager to make a Francis of my own, but finding the time proved harder than expected. This is a fast, easy project, knit in the round with worsted weight yarn and oversized needles. Nonetheless, since I was knitting it between other projects, my progress was of the leaps and bounds variety.

When I finished, I actually wasn’t sure if I liked it. The pattern was quite good, but I felt like I’d made a few poor choices. My seed stitch looked sloppy to me. I didn’t like my bind off. I felt like I ended the sleeves at the wrong point. I felt like I should have gone down in gauge for a different fabric. I had four skeins of Cascade 220 in a magnificent green, but I ended up using only two and a half to make the sweater, so the possibility of ripping and beginning again was real.

Then I actually wore it out a few times. I may have been unsure about it, but the sweater was drawing compliments right and left. I’ve knit a good few things that I wear regularly, and most of them go uncommented upon. There’s nothing especially bad about that, but the fact that people noticed and liked the sweater made me think that maybe it was OK as it was. (Also, the prospect of ripping and reknitting didn’t sound like much fun.) I’m keeping it.

We did double duty in this picture and got a shot of the Side Slip Cloche from Boutique Knits that I made after Stitches West 2010. It’s knit in Toots Le Blanc Alpaca/Jacob and since I was talking about how yarn holds up, this has held up like a dream. I wear this cloche all the time when it’s cold, and not only is it incredibly warm, it doesn’t show any sign of wear at all. It’s one of those sheepy yarns that gets softer with the wearing, too. I remember that when I was knitting the hat, I was a little worried that the yarn felt scratchy, but the perceived scratchiness lasted only as long as I was knitting.

A couple of thoughts on both patterns: Francis is a good, simple, top down raglan. Were I to knit it again, and I might, I’d make the sleeves a little bigger, and I’d make both body and sleeves a little longer. I think I might still consider working in a tighter gauge, as well, though I’ve liked the loose gauge better as wear has changed the drape. I’m ultimately happy with this sweater, though, and having been getting a lot of wear out of it. The yarn is exactly what Cascade 220 always is: a good workhorse of a yarn with fantastic colors.

The Side Slip Cloche is a clever, well thought out design, but I found it a little lacking in two areas, both of which have been noted by others. One was the schematic. It’s a little unclear when it comes to joining the ruffle band. I had to join it several times before I felt happy with how it looked. The other part relates to the band as well. As written, the sizing is on the small side. I have a small head, but I had to lengthen the band to make it fit. The other cloche that I made from Boutique Knits tends toward the large side, so it’s good to pay close attention when knitting from this book. That said, the pattern is very cute and the changes needed are not hard to figure out. Other than those two issues, it was well written and clear, and the end result is one of my favorite hats ever.

Oh, and I got a much needed haircut! I feel a lot happier with the state of my head now.

6 Responses to “Wrapping up”

  1. willyg Says:

    The sweater looks great on you, and it goes beautifully with your haircut. Kudos!

  2. Jodi Says:

    Francis Revisited is really cute! I love the color, and the fit looks flattering. Sometimes we knitters end up being too critical of our own work.

  3. orata Says:

    Adorable, all three!

  4. Trisha Says:

    You are so cute! Love your new look.

  5. Amy Says:

    Your haircut is *adorable*. And I really like the sleeves on Francis! They draw attention to your lovely waist. The neckline is fantastic, too–a very successful knit!

  6. WS Says:

    That’s a very lovely pullover! Thanks for sharing. I want to knit one now!

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