Friday, November 25, 2011

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!

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