Friday, July 16, 2010

Wash's Sweater Revisited -- The Body

When I was first trying to make Wash's Sweater, I would watch the scenes where the sweater appeared over and over, freezing the picture and trying to count the stitches. I worked hard to make my pattern come as close as possible to replicating the original costume piece.

That's one of the reasons why my pattern doesn't have good sizing notes, saying only, "For alternate sizes, add or subtract stitches from the sweater's Double Moss Stitch panels. Body and sleeves can be knit longer or shorter as desired."

As I said in the last post, for my Fisherman's Wool version I need to add 46 stitches to the circumference of the sweater. I put purl stitches on either side of the cable charts, and then dumped the rest of the stitches into the double moss panels. Ultimately, to make the double moss look like I wanted, I added a couple more stitches, bringing my total up to 232.

So in the last round of ribbing, I distributed 24 increases around the sweater, then started working the body pattern like this:
Work Double Moss Stitch over 62 sts; p1; work Rope Cable (Chart A) over the next 10 sts; p2; work Serenity Cable (Chart B) over the next 28 sts; p2; repeat Rope Cable over the next 10 sts; p1. Repeat to complete round.

And this is where I am now, 10 inches past the ribbing, working up the body. I'm not really very happy with it. The decorative cable panel is just too narrow, and too much of the sweater is now the double moss filler. I'll need more repeats of the cable in order to reach the correct length.

I'm convinced that the sweater needs to be made on a bulkier yarn than Fisherman's Wool -- maybe something like Cascade's Eco Wool, which is the second most popular choice for the sweater on Ravelry. But I started out trying to make the sweater work for people who wanted to use the thinner yarn. I think my next step is to try revising the cable.

Rather than completely frog my work, I gave it to knittingbrow, who might make it into a vest.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Wash's Sweater Revisited -- Gauge

In 2008, I recreated a sweater worn by the character Wash in two episodes of the TV series Firefly, and then worked out patterns so that other knitters could make their own. My prototype used a bulky handspun yarn, so my patterns called for a similar heavy worsted wool. But yarn like that is not easy to find, and I noticed many knitters were using a finer yarn, like Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool, to make their sweaters.

But Fisherman's Wool doesn't make a good fabric at the gauge my pattern called for -- it's too loose and open. So when I recently decided I wanted to make another of these, I thought I'd try the popular choice, and suggest some ways to revise the pattern for thinner yarns. (Also, I want to suss out a way to work the sleeves and chest together seamlessly).

So the first step is gauge. My original pattern called for 16 stitches to 4 inches in stockinette fabric, or 15 stitches to 4 inches of double moss stitch. I swatched the Fisherman's Wool on both size 7 and size 8 needles, which gave me 20 and 19 stitches per inch respectively in stockinette. After washing the swatch, I preferred the look of the fabric from the 8's.

I wanted this sweater to be 45 inches around at the chest, and at 4.75 stitches per inch, that's 214 stitches. Back in 2008, I calculated that I need to add about 16 stitches to make up for the cables. So my "key" number for the sweater is 230. I cast on 90% (208 stitches), and began knitting the 1x1 twisted rib that makes up the bottom of this sweater.

After 3 inches of ribbing, it was time to increase up to my key number for the body of the sweater. But before doing that, I would need to figure out where I was going to put the additional 46 stitches, because my original pattern is 184 stitches around, and this sweater would need to be 230. My solution is coming up in the next post.