Wednesday, January 30, 2013

OWL Proposal - Argyle!

Proposal - Post 1887

Yes, the Crazy got me again, and I decided to try a potions OWL. Now I've learned that an OWL has to be something I really REALLY want, so this time, I'm doing a very particular sweater. Here's the proposal:

Hello, Professors! This is CraftyGryphon of Gryffindor House. I would like to sit for my O.W.L. Examination in Potions this term. I will be taking Option 1: Create something using multiple strands of yarn or fiber in the same object. The intent of this exam is to demonstrate an ability to work with color and value. Knitters, this is an opportunity to go wild with stranded designs, double knitting, intarsia, etc.

I propose to make an Argyle Sweater. I was given a drop-dead lovely one for Christmas this year - and it was much too small. I still want the sweater, though (and go figure, it’s fashion, so of course it’s been discontinued - not that it would matter, it was never made in my size to begin with!). So, I need to knit one for myself!

Of course, I don’t’ actually have a pattern. I have a schematic, so once I had gauge (see below), I was able to figure out exactly what I was knitting. Since the sweater is fairly wide across, there will be a total of five diamonds across, front and back. I will also be doing some subtle waist shaping, as knitting straight leads to boxy, and “boxy” does not flatter my figure at all. I want an argyle motif on each sleeve, as well.

Photograph(s) of the yarn(s) and any unusual needles or materials involved.
Materials List:
3.5 balls off white, 3 balls black and 7 balls red of Paton’s Classic Wool
2 balls Vanna’s Choice in Silver
Size 7 bamboo needles
Yarn needle

Two or three sentences describing the planned crafting sequence and analyzing any areas of potential difficulty or new skills needed.

I’m going to be knitting the front and the back pieces of the sweater separately, checking sizing for each against my master schematic as I go, making sure the level of my diamonds match up, that the shaping matches up, etc. Once the front and back pieces are properly completed, I’ll block them, then do all the duplicate stitch. Then I’ll seam them and weave in the ends. Then I’ll do the set-in sleeves, top down, INSETTING AS I GO. (Yes, *with* Intarsia!) I’ve found this is the best way to (a) make sure the short rows are placed so the shoulder cap fits me and (b) I have no idea how this is actually going to work with intarsia. That’s part of the adventure, yes? Then the sleeves will be blocked, the duplicate stitches added to them, and all the ends woven in. Then the whole sweater will be blocked once again, just to be sure. And then I will FINALLY have my Christmas sweater, wooo!

The difficulty is (a) this sweater involves four panesl of intarsia in three different colors (four if you count the duplicate stitch), which I’ve done exactly once before; (b) it is almost all-over duplicate stitch with SPARKLY YARN, even once the actual knitting is finished; and (c) this is NOT a small sweater. I am not a small girl; this is going to be fitted to me, which is commercially somewhere between 2X and 3X. That’s a lot of stockinette - and did I mention it’s INTARSIA? Plus, my OWL completion rate has been dismal - of the seven I have attempted, I’ve only managed to finish three, so I’m trying to make a proposal that I actually have a CHANCE of finishing in three months. No More Dead OWLs!

Photograph of your swatch(es).

I have one swatch, which shows the basic Argyle diamond that is the basis of the design, complete with the duplicate stitch across it. I have blocked it, and used the resulting gauge to make my schematic. I used the swatch to try different things with the silver yarn; one strand on the bottom of the white diamond, and two strands looped on the top. On the black diamond are two strands parallel, which gives the best result, so that's what I'll be using for the sweater. There's also a photo of the swatch in progress, so you can see that it really truly is intarsia, and not stranded.

I really think this project is OWL-worthy given the time available and my skill set, Professors. Just in case you were worried that I'd have too much time, I carefully delayed my proposal until last minute. (Um. Really... it's not that life got squirrelly on me again or anything.) Thanks for your consideration!!

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