Finished Object: Improv #1

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And… clocking in at just under four months of knitting, my (first) #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 Improv sweater is now done! I couldn’t be happier. It does have some quirks, like those not-quite-100%-symmetrical pockets, but I refuse to let my perfectionist tendencies destroy my pleasure in this accomplishment. (I’ll… revisit those pockets someday, haha.)

There is so much to love here: a snug (perhaps even a little sexy?) fit (#sweaterpuppies); the splash of pink in the pockets; the firm and crunchy but not itchy fabric; the graceful curve of the collar. Now that this sweater is done, it reminds me a lot of my beloved Stanny–the texture of the Jamieson & Smith wool, and the feel of the knit fabric, is highly reminiscent. Except that this Improv is so much cuter!

When first planning this sweater, I considered copying this cute pink sweater worn by Chelsea Peretti as Gina on Brooklyn Nine-Nine:

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But as I thought more about what I really needed in my wardrobe, I realized that what I should knit was a new-and-improved copy of a grey Joe Fresh sweater in my closet that I had worn to death.

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I wanted a better fit, long sleeves, and a sturdier, less pill-y fabric, and I think I achieved all of my goals. But I also didn’t want to lose sight of Gina’s no-fucks-given-endlessly-confident attitude, hence the little pink pockets.

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And so, as Gina would say: “Oh dang!

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One little detail I particularly love is my decision to do split hems on the sleeves as well as on the body. I am constantly pushing my sleeves up, and having that little notch on the cuffs means that they look nicely fitted when the sweater is pulled down to my wrists, but there is plenty of space for my forearms when I push the sleeves up.

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And… I am SO PROUD of how well my rolled and sewn down collar turned out. It looks perfect on the outside–and perfect on the inside! I just love how the cast-off edge of the collar snugs up so neatly against the little ridge that was created when I picked up the collar stitches.

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So good! Such a success!

And I loved using KT’s Improv tutorial to make this sweater happen. It is full of excellent advice and techniques… Right now I have a little bit of a “my knitting is forever changed after this” feeling, having learned so much about fit and construction.

My project details can be found here on Ravelry.

And… I am still working on my second Improv sweater. It is, at the moment, less than perfect. In retrospect, the long silhouette of my inspiration doesn’t suit my body type, and my planned sweater doesn’t fit into my wardrobe all that well. So there will be some frogging, and on-the-fly re-planning, but I’m sure I’ll get something wearable out of it. (At least, that’s what I’m telling my internal perfectionist accomplishment monster…)

Improv #2, Take 2

After writing the other day about the start of my second Fringe and Friends Knitalong sweater, I pretty much immediately scrapped the first few rows I had knit. I worked another two rows, and realized that my raglans were looking like the dog’s breakfast. I was adding Irish Moss stitches on the front, cable stitches on the sleeves, and different cable stitches on the back. It was a mess.

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So after a quick check to see that I liked my chosen number of cast-on stitches, I pulled out the needle and started to rethink things. The problem was my decision to centre my cable layout on the sleeves and back–so how to rethink the placement of the layout?

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I ended up inputting my cable layout into Excel (the different colours representing the different stitches, of course), and printing off a few copies to play with. The solution was to cut the cable layout in half, and then insert the required number of sleeve stitches (and back stitches) into the centre.

I did consider adding additional cables in the centres of the sleeves and backs, but instead opted to just work more Irish Moss stitch (the pale green). Since this is a sweater for me to wear at home, I feel fairly relaxed about the back: no one’s going to see it, so I might as well take it easy back there, lol.

But–if I did care more about the back, I think an even better way to approach the design of the cables/ stitches on a raglan cardigan would be to design the back first. Then you’d just have to cut it in half to get your two fronts. And then, to get the correct stitch count on the sleeves, just remove stitches from the centre of the sleeves. This way, your stitches would line up nicely along the raglans, and things would be pleasantly symmetrical.

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I am much much happier with this second take on my second Improv sweater. In addition to looking much better, it is also easier to knit.

Despite this progress on Improv #2, I am not neglecting my first Improv sweater.

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Yesterday morning, I cast off the hem–leaving just the pockets and sleeves to knit, plus the faux seams to sew up and all the ends to weave in. I have decided to finish the body–pockets, seams, ends–before proceeding on to the sleeves, so that I’m not left with a ton of finishing work to do at the end.

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I knit the HOT PINK!!! pocket lining last night, and am going to take advantage of the daylight now to weave in some ends.

On Ravelry: Improv #1 and Improv #2