Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hayward for Safety

As part of my professional life, I try to knit from other designers' patterns as often as I can squeeze it in. I love making things for myself and I always learn something.  (Check out my Vym Socks by Rebekkah Kerner, the last pattern I knit from.)  

I've been thinking a lot about slouchier shapes lately, and when my knitting buddy, Kirsten suggested that we both knit Hayward by Julie Hoover, I couldn't resist.

Have you ever had that stash yarn that you're afraid to use because it's so incredible that the project you make with it has a lot to live up to?  I've had this sweater's-worth of Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in club color Flicker in my stash forever.  I finally decided that a plain Stockinette sweater would do the best job of showing off the gorgeous, gently-variegated color.

However, I've always been bad at Stockinette.  My rows were never even and it ended up looking sloppy and unprofessional.  It was okay if I worked only in the round, but back and forth in rows was a mess.  For years I've tried all the things to fix it - working with a smaller needle on purl rows, throwing, picking, wrapping my yarn the other direction.  In desperation I started just avoiding regular purling altogether by knitting back the other direction.  It worked!  I was really slow at first and was wrapping the "wrong" way so that my stitches ended up "backwards" on the next row, but working on this sweater let me really practice doing it right and now I'm pretty fast, I find it relaxing, and it actually looks neat!

Things I changed from the pattern:  
- I added ribbing to the hem because I didn't think the Artisan Sock would be willing to lay flat like Brooklyn Tweed Loft does.  I just used the tubular cast on instructions given for the sleeves and worked a couple inches in 1x1 rib.  (The tubular cast on given in the pattern is a really easy, great method that isn't finicky and comes out looking really nice.)
- My row gauge was a little bigger than the pattern, so my raglans are a bit longer than given, but I think it fits me about how it fit the model in the pattern photos, so I'm happy.
- I'm really long waisted, so I added about two inches in length to the body.  It probably wasn't necessary, but I like the tunic length I got.

Thoughts about the design:
- I loved working this in pieces.  There were very few "at the same time" instructions, which meant minimal brain power required.
- The seams really do add needed structure to this garment.  I think the shoulders would sag without them, and I'd be worried about the body stretching out of shape too.  Hooray for seams!
- The oversized fit with really long armholes is incredibly comfortable and cozy, though I'll admit it looks a little funny when I stretch my arms out.
- The pieces looked pretty silly when they were blocking separately.  The sleeves were like knitted orange traffic cones.  But it all came together beautifully.

Project Specs: 
Yarn: Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in color Flicker (club color) - about 1100 yards used
Needles: US #7/4.5 mm gauge needle, US #6 ribbing needle, US #4 tubular cast on needle - used Hiya Hiya interchangeable Sharps

You can see my project on Ravelry here, and while you're at it, check out Kirsten's version, worked in Loft.

Oh, and I called it Hayward for Safety because the color will be perfect as fashionable, high-viz gear for bicycling!

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