Friday, November 25, 2011

Go Vols - Hat!

I'm on a roll trying to finish some of the half-knit projects in my UFO basket. I sketched out the colorwork section of this hat and knit it last winter. The first go around the hat ended up being too small for my rather large head, so I frogged and reknit it. By the time I got the knitting done it was too hot to wear the woolly thing. All I did tonight was add teh pompom adn weave in the ends. Finished and ready for those COLD basketball nights. GO VOLS!!!

It's Basketball Time in Tennessee!

Mondo Cable Vest
Posted by PicasaIt's that time again - it's basketball time in Tennessee! And since basketball is played during the winter one must have some warm orange and white garb to wear to the games. I picked up a few things last year, but I knew I wanted to make some new things for this season. Since it can get mighty chilly gong back and forth to the games and a bit drafty in Thompson-Boling Arena I decided I needed to tackle a sweater this time around. This might not sound like a big deal for most knitters, but for this skinny yarn, lace knitter a sweater is a challenge!

So how did I get myself into this predicament? It all started the day my Best Fiber Friend (BFF), Paula, unpacked a huge box of new yarn at my LYS, The Yarn Haven. The yarn was Pacific, a new worsted weight washable merino/acrylic blend from Cascade. There were oodles of great colors, but when this Tennessee Orange came out of the box my mind started racing. I don't buy yarn on impulse anymore so I left the shop without the yarn but it didn't stay there long. I went back a few days later and bought enough to knit this vest plus an extra skein for some accessories.

I cast on Bonnie Marie Burns' Mondo Cable Vest right away and worked on it during the month while I was sick with a nasty respiratory virus. While I was sick I didn't care that the knitting was mostly stockinette and rather boring. For a couple of weeks boring was good, then it was awful! I thought the plain stockinette part would *never* end! The top-down construction of this vest sounded like a wonderful thing at first, and it is, but the execution of the design for the upper portion is terribly fiddly. I wasn't too thrilled with how the pattern was written/edited so I wouldn't suggest newbies try it unless they have a mentor to guide them through. The actual knitting isn't difficult, but following the pattern is a bit cumbersome IMHO. Maybe my negative attitude is because I'm used to the precision of lace patterns, but I expect more from self-published (not in a magazine) patterns.

The designer intended for this pattern to be either a vest or a shell. As such, I expected the armholes to be rather shallow for stand-alone wear. I knew I'd be layering my vest over a loose-cut turtleneck so I dropped the armholes by 4 rows. The fact that my row gauge was a bit tighter than the pattern called for contributed to my decision. In the end I needn't have bothered as the armholes would have been plenty deep without modification. Live and learn. The vest was written to end at the high hip and I wanted mine to extend to the low hip so I added one extra repeat of the cable motif. I could have added a few more rows, but I'm satisfied with the length as it is.

I choose to knit one size larger than I normally wear as I wanted plenty of positive ease in my vest. Who wants to wear confining clothes at a basketball game? Not me! I love the overall fit of my finished vest so I made the right choice for me. Even with the extra length added to my vest, I ended up using ~150 yds less yarn that the pattern called for. This surprised me, but 400 grams was plenty. Now I have 200 g to knit a beret plus something else, possibly mittens. Whatever, I am ready to show my Tennessee Volunteer Spirit, sing Rocky Top, and cheer on Coach Martin's Basketball Vols. Go Big Orange!