Beachy sweater!

I always start the back first.

I'm more than halfway through the back of the blue, white and turquoise sweater for my kid. Thanks to the swatch I knitted before I started, I was able to modify the pattern to suit my kid's long torso. So I added on four extra rows (a little over a centimeter) to the body to ensure that the sweater is a custom fit. Now before I start a new project I always knit a swatch, and to keep from feeling like it's a waste of time and yarn I'll use it to see what types of increases and buttonholes look best.

This project is another fun one, and it's zooming by despite my dawdling over it thanks to i) the swiftness of the stockinette stitch, ii) no shaping other than binding off once to shape the armholes, and ii) this particular Phildar cotton. It's so fabulous for knitting! It's a cotton, lycra and elasthene blend, so it practically knits itself; once I knit a stitch - sproing! It pops itself into place and fits itself onto the needle. And this cotton looks so summery and light. I must knit something else using it.

Check your cast-on row before knitting!

The back of the sweater is finished, and I've knitted halfway through the front. When I started the front, I had to cast on stitches three different times before I got a foundation row that matched the foundation row on the back of the sweater. My first cast-on stitches on the front of the sweater were a bit looser than those of the back of the sweater, which I noticed were a bit tighter. When knitting several pieces of a garment, I always compare their foundation rows before I actually start knitting to see if they have been cast-on with the same tension. Not doing so might make me end up with two pieces that don't match up, with one being a bit wider than the other due to a looser foundation row. And when the garment is being worn, someone with an eagle-eye (like yours truly) is bound to notice.

Moving along now...

The front is now finished, and looking very funky. Yes, the left shoulder is visibly shorter than the other. It's okay, though. I did that on purpose, because a button band will be sewn onto that shoulder, just like the white cabled sweater I knitted this spring. Looks pretty awful when when it's all by itself, but once it's blocked and the garment is sewn together it'll look normal.

We got sleeves.

The sleeves are all knit and blocking. I knit them at the same time (check the pictures for a peek) using a 32" circular needle because they're identical pieces. I love doing that because it ensures that they're of the same length and tension, and it's less monotonous than knitting one after the other.

I only had one skein of white yarn and one skein of turquoise yarn when I started knitting the sleeves, and one end of both skeins was buried so deep within that I would have risked creating a tangled mess by trying to search it out. I don't have any bobbins so what I usually do in these cases is get a small leftover skein of yarn from a previous project, and then I'll loosely wind up the yarn I'm currently using around it. Makes a nice substitute.

All stitched up!

All sewn up! All I have to do is knit the neckline and shoulder button bands, and sew them on using the remaining ends. What I do is leave the yarn ends about twelve to twenty-four inches long (depending on the size of the garment), and use them to stitch up the pieces. If I'm doing something with various colors, I'll use the various yarn ends to sew up the same colored stitches. For example, with this particular garment, I used the white yarn ends to sew up the white stitches, and the turquoise yarn ends to sew up the turquoise stitches. It saves me time and I feel that it creates less bulk.

Tube tops knit so quickly.

With an awful bout of the flu, the last thing I want to do is sit up in bed and knit with 3mm needles and some cotton string. So I didn't knit a stitch yesterday. But I'm feeling better this morning, and had fun knitting a few rows of my tube top. I'm about 3/4 of the way through on one piece and might be able to finish it before heading out today.

I also finished my son's summer sweater, sewed the buttons onto the button band on the left shoulder, and promptly became horrified when I saw that the buttons I bought are enormous! They make him look like he's sporting wheels on his shoulder, for pete's sake. So I'll be heading to the mercerie to exchange them for something in a more discreet size. And from now on, I'm going to wait until a sweater is finished before buying buttons, and I won't buy them in the size required by the pattern if it looks ghastly.