Saturday, October 3, 2009

It's been awhile

I have been trying to fill in the holes in my wardrobe and one of the things I have been lacking is a neutral, all purpose (winter) sweater. So I knitted this one out of Lion Brand's Wool-Ease, which is a middle of the road kind of yarn, mostly acrylic with a touch of wool. I orginally made a cardigan out of it but was disappointed with the fit so I unraveled it. This sweater, however, turned out PERFECT. It is exactly what I wanted, a drapey, yet shapely knit that I can wear with jeans or belted with my black beaded skirt.

I did something you are "never" suppose to do with yarn. I ironed it. I stuck the iron right on the sweater (those of you who are "by the rules" - not that we know who actually made up these "rules"- might want to stop reading now) and steamed it till it the yarn gave out it's last dying breath (otherwise referred to as "killing" the yarn).

For those of you who don't knit, generally you don't put the weight of an iron on the knit for the very reason that I did it. It takes all the elasticity out of the yarn. The steam and weight of the iron gets rid of all the stretch, generally something you want to keep in, especially for those body hugging curves.

But I did it on purpose for several reasons. First of all, (and I am kicking myself for not getting a "before" picture), the yarn was a little kinky from the previous sweater I had knit with it. Ironing it evened out all of the stitching. Second, less expensive acrylic yarn tends to be a little bit on the scratchy side. Killing the yarn can create a soft fabric (now if you have a REALLY cheap acrylic, sometimes no amount of steam ironing will get rid of the scratch. It's just best to use that yarn for something else). Finally, I didn't want to create a second skin, I wanted it to be on the drapey side so that it would have a more elegant look and killing the fabric created a beautiful drape in this yarn.

When I tried this sweater on before I ironed it, it fit just fine but it wasn't exactly flattering. The ribbing pulled in (especially on the sleeves at the cuff) and the kinky stitches looked sloppy. It looked like a ho-hum, "homemade" sweater. After I ironed it, the cuffs flared out nicely (doesn't it look like I have monkey arms?) and the sweater skims my body, giving me some definition in the waist (I did build in darts) but not squeezing me like a stuffed sausage.

Overall, very pleased with my effort.

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