Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sweater-Along: Hourglass Update

March 9, 2011
I'm sorry about the sad quality of this picture, the light is too soft right now to get a hard focus (please note, I do not know what I am talking about).  So this is my Hourglass en-route. The end is in sight, and hopefully I'll have it done with enough time to wear it a few times before the weather changes.  I'm so happy with the yarn! The Berroco Ultra Alpaca is definitely addictive, and I've been planning more sweaters using it and it's siblings, Ultra Alpaca Light and Ultra Alpaca Fine. But I've got to get this one finished first, that was the whole point, right? I've got half an arm left, then I'll block it to establish it's final dimensions. After that, if it is too long I'll rip back a bit, them fold the collar and cuffs over, seam them down, and finito!  Currently, the only problem is that it's too big to knit on the subway.  I'm so proud of me! :-)

Addenda: March 10, 2011
Last night I pushed through, finished the arm, and wet blocked!  The sweater is currently drying at home and is no other alterations are needed should hopefully be ready to sew down the cuffs, collar and bottom band.  

If you are curious, the reason I chose to wet block the sweater is because A. I like the texture of the fiber and don't want to lose that by Ironing, B. eventually I will have to wash it to keep it clean, and C. the yarn is 50% alpaca, which drapes and stretches, so I need to figure out it's actual, final shape before doing the finishing. The sleeve length is my greatest concern, I made the sleeves a bit short on purpose to accommodate a little stretch, but I won't know how much until blocking is finished and I try it on again.  I did the same thing with the shaping in the torso, starting the shaping at least half an inch early.  

Additionally, I added at least a cup or two of vinegar (a serious 'glunk') to the water when I first submerged the sweater, to stabilize the colour, keep it's intensity and keep it from running. To maintain the colour, I will add vinegar every time I wash it. After the sweater soaked in the vinegar for 5 minutes, I added some Eucalan.  Eucalan seems to contain a bit more lanolin than Soak (which will be in April's issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine), and the lanolin tends to loosen up the fibres, which will give me a more accurate idea of how it will fit normally. 

Oh, and I weighted it this morning and I think I've used approximately 5.5 skeins (1100m) of Ultra Alpaca, which is about right for a medium sized sweater.  

So, how bored are you now?  Total snoozefest, I know, but the details are so important!  ;-)

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