January 23, 2016

11 Back to the Basics: Rowan Options KAL with Amy Herzog







Back in November, when Rowan announced it would be having a garment KAL, I gave a sigh of relief. I needed a break from endlessly modular home decor!  The Rowan Options KAL was designed by Amy Herzog -- you probably recognize her name from the Custom Fit program she developed. For that, you key in your measurements and you get a pattern shaped the way you want, based on a swatch gauge of any sort.

The Options KAL does have a Custom Fit version, but I decided to try the free Rowan pattern to see how Amy puts her designs together. The options were a Striped (or Not) Cardigan or a Textured (or Not) Pullover:





I decided on the striped cardigan, so I could play with the color palette of the new Rowan yarn Pure Wool Superwash DK. Wait -- did you just feel some déjà vu? Yes, this is the new DK weight version of the Pure Wool Superwash Worsted from last year's blanket KALs. Also note for those of you confused -- the word "superwash" has been added to both names, but it's still the same yarn.

My palette was Black, Steel and a tonal blue-green called Marl. Man, I love Marl!




The yarn is very similar to the Pure Wool Worsted -- not too scratchy, but not incredibly soft. It pills a bit, about what you'd expect from the way it is spun. I did find the black to be really hairy though -- you might be able to see it on my close-up photos. Little grey/white hairs.




Part of the KAL included videos of Amy describing different elements of her design, you might want to check those out, even if you aren't doing this particular pattern. One of the things that intrigues most people is that she doesn't use bust measurement for sizing -- she uses the circumference of the underarm -- right up in as close as you can get. ;)





To pick a size, I first tried to get the gauge -- but no matter how I tried, I got 21 stitches instead of 23. Because Amy recommended 2" of positive ease, I thought the 35.5" size would work. It did in that I got a 2" ease out of it (39" finished underarm), but really the cardigan is too big for me. The body is fine, giving some ease to wear over something bulky -- but the shoulders are clearly too wide. See that blip when I raise my shoulder?




Oh well, I guess that's what CustomFit is for, lesson learned for next time!




Some notes about the pattern. The striped cardigan was apparently only striped in the front, but the pattern didn't make that clear. DON'T WORRY if you want to stripe the back, the contrast color yarn quantities are sufficient.




Also, if you want to do the striped version, I would recommend not carrying the contrast color yarns up through the main color. It makes the seams too bulky and some of those colors could show through.




I'll blame my shoulder problem on my size choice, but one thing that really didn't work out was the bottom of the sleeve. The increases started way too fast and gave me a bell at the end.




AND HERE STARTS DAYANA'S CUTTING FUN.

First, I used mattress stitch to take in the bottom seam to where I wanted it.




Then I used my shiny new birthday gift, a serger, to easily cut the yarn and bind the edge at the same time.




HAHAHAHAHA, no. "Easily", really Dayana? That failed miserably!


Ohhhhhh, crap.


So out came the 80's New Home to the rescue. I needed to sew REALLY close to the seam now, because I had cut the yarn and it was unraveling! My moment of brilliance was to take out the zipper foot -- that allowed me to get right in there close to the mattress stitch seam. I'll be using the zipper foot for non-emergency steeks from now on.




Two rows of that machine sewing and then some trimming of the yarn! Phew, that was a close one. :D

See my Finally, Knitting With Black on Ravelry


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And now for some me news. The me news isn't good, though. I've got elbow tendinitis. You know, a part of me thinks that every knitting blogger has to have an injury post eventually -- but I was hoping to escape that blade. I think that my tendon is weak from crafting, but that it was the Maine Fall necessities of leaf raking and wood hauling that did me in.

So, I'm off knitting for awhile. It's not the worst thing ever because oh my god! There's other stuff to do in this world, who knew!

So far last week:

1. Exercising almost every day
2. 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle
3. Reading (found some old Patricia Cornwell mysteries)
4. Machine sewing (denim cardigan for the man)

I'm actually rather proud. Maybe we all need an "injury" now and then, hey?
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