Sakura

My first spring piece is done and ready for sprung-ing – whenever the new season decides to show it’s leary face. Supposedly the weather is supposed to take a swing for the better this weekend, so all bits crossed they are right for once!

Here is my slightly wrinkly version of Helga Isager’s Robin Bluse – aka Sakura.
Sakura1
This project started as a personal challenge due to having to overcome my fear of 3-ply yarn and tiny needles, but I have to say that it is probably my favourite result so far! (Or do I always say that?) All in all this has turned out beautifully…light and airy but still surprisingly warm from the alpaca.

Though, as you can see in the photos, the light fabric does tend to crease when layered under heavy jumpers as it was on the chilly day we took this shot!
creased
I love the simplicity of this pattern and the small details like rolled the stockinette neckline which creates the prettiest, most simple little roll which looks almost like a more complicated and time-consuming i-cord! Brill. I have seen other patterns which use this neck treatment, but it was my first go at it, and definitely a keeper for future projects.

As mentioned previously, I did knit the front and back panels at the same time, which was a bit of a time saver.

I only had a couple of glitches with this one. I had some difficulty picking up the stitches for the side panels cleanly, as the crossed stitch detail on the edges creates a bit of a looseness in the stitch next to it that I didn’t care for when picking up. Three tries and the result below is what I am living with. I am guessing this is because the yarn I am using is so fine, but in future I might add a row or two more on the edge before starting this stitch to give it a bit more stability when picking up.
seam
Also, for some moronic reason I switched to the smallest 2.5mm needle when starting the first sleeve… noticed about 5 long inches in that I’d goofed and decided I would stick with it…got to the arm band and realised the row gauge was off and the dolman tighter than wanted – so frogged and started it over. Figured it would also give me another go on picking up those nasty stitches… and I am glad I did as the join was smoother that last time around.

I ended up modifying the side panels a little bit to get a touch more width with my renewed awareness of row gauge, so knit 5.5″ before starting the dolman decrease. I also finished the sleeves off a bit tighter on the arm – 61sts-  as my forearms are a bit spindly and the garter stretches quite a bit. All bind off was Jenny’s Surprisingly stretchy.

I was dreading the finishing on this, as haven’t done many projects that needed stitching up, so am not the most accomplished at smooth seams! I ended up re-stitching both underarm seams twice and they are still a little wobbly, but not horrific.

The colour of the Isager Alpaca 1 (61 -peachy/grey) is divine. The light pink is blended with natural grey alpaca so is slightly heathered and makes the pink not so ‘sweet’ and almost neutral. Perfect colour. The only drawback is that the darker alpaca strands are also stiffer, so this does itch a tiny bit against the skin. I am hoping I will get used to it the more I wear it!

And just because some of you got a kick out of the ‘reveal’ the last time around, here is the full photo – before crop wearing my new POM!
queen of dorkness
All hail Diana Dibbly – Queen of Dorkness.

Another winner in the dork sweepstakes. ;-D

Opinion time

Dear all,

After my post I made a journey to Islington to the LYS there, Loop, to pick up The Bird Collection book mentioned in a last post (it turns out her new book – Finstickat – won’t be translated to English anytime soon, so thought I should grab the book while it was still at Loop. Things there move FAST).

My restraint slipped a bit, and though I was just supposed to get the book, here is what I came home with:
amimono
Naughtiness.

My question from the last post answered. I am going with the Robin:
Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 21.34.31

They didn’t have the yarn recommended in the pattern, though they had a sample of the Robin jumper knit up in the Spinni wool, and it was VERY itchy. I decided I would substitute with the much softer Alpaca 1. The hue is still a desaturated pink, though more magenta than the one in the picture in the book – no. 61.
alpaca1
Now the recommended yarn is a 3 ply and this is a two ply, so both are very fine knitting, though this is finer, and I knew I would be pushing it a bit with the patience factor … but thought it might be good for me. A new level, so to speak.

That is until I cast on a swatch this morning and it took me nearly an hour to knit a 5×2 inch swatch. Gulp.
alpaca1
There is the 3mm swatch of pain with a new swatch cast on with 2.5mm, as I am not at gauge.

In red below is where I have picked up not only the stitch on the needle, but that below, as I am not used to knitting with yarn this fine.detail
And it is VERY fine for me and quite splitty.
2ply
Thing is, I am wondering if I am struggling so much because of a) the fact that knitting with needles this small and yarn so fine is terrifying me, b)the yarn is just too splitty.

Here is where I need some opinions. Those of you that have knit with teeny yarns- what do you think ? Should I tough it out and try to view this as a learning curve, or am I just setting myself up for an expensive fail?

This decision is a bit time sensitive, as I want to go back tomorrow or monday and get Isager’s Highland yarn for this if I give up (before it is GONE with London’s crazy lack of physical yarn shops)…so really stressing!

Help please? What are your opinions?