Thursday, June 12, 2008

you win some...

you lose...

Well, I can't exactly count this as a loss. It's finished. It's cute. Hopefully Carol and the cousins she's gifting it to will like it. For me, it's one of those "nobody will know but you" moments. Sure, but you will know. It's not about the seaming, I'm over that. I went to re-do it last night and found I was accidentally undoing the bottom band. I quickly stitched the sucker back up and moved on.

Natalie sold me on the buttons and she couldn't have been more right. I'd gotten lazy about the whole affair and was thinking red. When she picked these out, I thought Get on outta here, crazy gal. But the more I looked at them, the more I saw the genius.

As far as the pattern goes, it's great, if a little fussy. I was just so happy I could use the worsted yarn I had on hand that I didn't brace for the seaming, or how much eyeballing I'd have to do to make the sides, sleeves, and buttons even. Probably they're still off. I think if you're going to knit this, you should definitely knit an extra front panel or two. That's the fun of it, and why it's called Presto Chango. I just made Presto. I thought I might do the Chango, but no way.

Last night while sewing on the buttons, I wondered where my intense dislike of this sweater was coming from, and you know what? It's mostly the yarn. I used Dark Horse Fantasy, an acrylic with a smooth, soft feel, very nice to knit. But, alas, I must now own my true feelings about acrylic yarn (Fantasy is actually 50% nylon, but all the same). Me no likey. I like Plymouth Encore, but it's got the good sense to have 25% wool in its content. Smart move, Plymouth people. My heart bleeds for people who can't wear wool at all. I have some sensitivity to it myself, but bump that, I love the stuff. We should bow to sheep.

You can't block acrylic; I don't care what anybody says. It's mushy but not squishy. Sadly, I have the other sweater on hand for comparison, and there is none. Even superwash wool blocks well, has spring to it, and is very forgiving. I want to pet that sweater all day long; it feels that good to touch. Because acrylic has no memory or elasticity, it sings out nah-nah na nah-nah to every mistake you make. It was all I could do not to take the iron to Presto Chango to get it shaped and smoothed like I wanted it (people do iron acrylic, but I could see the sweater melting before my eyes). All that said -- Who knew there was an anti-acrylic crusade burning inside of me? -- Dark Horse Fantasy remains a good choice if you like or have to use acrylic. (But c'mon, must you?)

All the little pains, including the yarn and seaming, have combined to make this my least favorite of the sweaters I've knit. That's not so bad. I don't hate it, and you can't love them all.

Let's toss this one on the done pile and get on with more making.

Project Notes
Presto Chango
Size: Hmm. I'm not really sure, but it's pretty big, so I'm guessing 9-12 months.
Dark Horse Fantasy, #20, Cherry
Size 8 Denise Interchangeables
Buttons from Michael Levine's Fabrics, Downtown LA (Thanks, cool mama Nat.)
Thrill factor: Eh


The Happy College Knitter said...

Despite it not being your favorite, it looks adorable! Some baby(and mommy) will be very happy!

Ellen Bloom said...

I have learned that blocking acrylic can be difficult without melting. I recently discovered that washing the garment in the machine without soap, but with a capful of fabric softener, relaxes the sweater and puts all the stitches in place!

The sweater looks great. Those buttons are perfect!

Adrienne said...

Oh I love it!!!!

Stella said...

i think it looks great. and i enjoy reading this post.

i am stumped with this one.

i used cotton ease...and don't love it. next time i'll spring the xtra 2/3 bucks for a better quality yarn..after all , we're talking 1/2 skeins eh?

the arms were too big....and i didn't have the energy to pull it out to shorten the cast on. too wide as well.

rggh. i love this pattern, but it has been a total flop for me!!!

i feel your pain. in a diff. way.

this is beautiful though. don't beat yourself up over it.

woolanthropy said...

It looks great & I like the buttons. I hear you on the acrylic. Damn you Sridar Snuggly. You splitty nasty yarn! I couldn't get past the first row with it.

The J said...

Yeah, acrylic doesn't block well, but a few trips through the washing machine will even out the stitches, and if you want drape, there's nothing like a trip through the dryer - ask me how I know ;). Second thought, don't ask me! The sweater did survive, although it does seem to keep growing... HEY - perfect for a baby sweater!

But your final product looks fabulous! I know the emotions tend to get stitched into it, which is why it's great it's a gift - but I don't think the recipients will be disappointed.