Saturday, September 26, 2009

Behold! Sleeves!

It took some wrangling with numbers and some frogging (if only I'd taken my own advice that lifelines are not just for lace), but I have finished both sleeves for Louhi.

It would have been easier if I hadn't done that last little pretzel-y arch, but it's such a great detail. There are no schematics, and no pictures of the whole sleeve, so I'm not sure, but from working through the numbers, the pattern doesn't seem to result in a normal sleeve cap shape. I haven't taken any pattern rows out, so the height of my sleeve cap is the same as the pattern's, but the width is much smaller. This means I'll have to calculate my armscye shaping, of course, but that should be okay. I just hope the wide, short sleeve cap will seam into the armscye okay and won't look too weird.

Now, the bigger problem. When I first got this yarn, it was in with a bunch of other yarns- most memorably bags and bags of muppet pelt mohair- and I swear I counted 20 skeins and a few pieces of an almost-finished Aran jumper, done in the same yarn. Now, however, I can only find 14 skeins of the yarn, and no sign of the jumper. I can only guess that everything else was lost in the move from Surrey. Since this yarn was from the '80s, I'm pretty sure I can't get any more.

Okay, I used 4-1/2 skeins for both sleeves, so the 9-1/2 skeins left would normally be perfectly adequate for a sweater body. But I wanted a hip-length cardigan. So, to get as much length as I can, I'm going to knit the body of this sweater from the top down. This may require a radical re-interpretation of the pattern, in addition to the re-calculation of all the numbers I'd already signed up for, but there are a few advantages to doing it this way.

First, I'm essentially knitting the armscye first, so I'll be able to see if it fits the strange sleeve caps, and, if not, adjust it accordingly, without having the whole rest of the cardigan body to contend with. Second, the back of Louhi is taken up by a gigantic cable motif which, if knitted from the bottom up, requires prior knowledge of length and precise row gauge and then some charting magic. If I do it top down, I can stop the motif when I want, and just continue the rest of the length in normal seed stitch. Otherwise, I may merrily knit up to the back and realize that I have half a cable motif left, but no more back length, or that I'm done with the cable, but there's still inches and inches of back still to do, which would look weird at the top. Third, hmmm, I had a third advantage, but now I've forgotten it. Damn.

Anyway, yes, so now I'm working the left cardigan front from the shoulder down. It's interesting...


Liz said...

Looks like it might be kind of a mini saddle shoulder. do the sleeve caps look "normal" in the finished photo?

soknitpicky said...

You are doing some real mental gymnastics! I think the top-down approach is smart. Good luck!

Averil said...

Wow well we know you're not one to shy away from a challenge! Looking forward to seeing the progress.

WorstedKnitt said...

That's a challenge! The sleeves look great. Just keep us updated on the progress!