b r o o k l y n t w e e d
  denim dress
no. i'm not knitting a dress... although, it feels like i am sometimes! the pre-shrinkage raspy body measures approximately 32". It looks even longer when you straighten out the curling edge at the bottom. check it out, next to my raglan prototype:

Raspy Pre-Washed Torso (Looong)

and another thing - it already weighs a ton. the fabric lightens up a little after washing, but i forgot how much heavier denim is than say... dk wool. nonetheless, i'm having fun with it. the body is basically done, although there is still some shaping to do for the front neck (covered in above photo). as it turns out, i'm modifying raspy in pretty much every way. making things little more complicated for myself, but i think the results will definitely be more "tailor-made." i'll be sure to detail all the mods in a finished post.

i've started the sleeves - as with the body, i'm just knitting them in the round until the raglan shaping - there i'll flatten them out (again, like the body). I had considered doing the whole thing seamlessly (joining the sleeves and body in the round at the armholes), but i really didn't want to lose the reverse raglan seams as a design element. I like those very much. so this method is the best way for me to have both cool armhole seams and work mostly in the round.

Raspy Sleeve Beginning
sleeve sprout

now, the whole "20%" shrinkage thing really has me on edge. i know i thoroughly swatched. and washed. and very thoroughly calculated. blah blah blah. but no matter how sure i am of the true percentage of shrink, the fact that my sweater currently measures 32" continues to make me uneasy. since sleeve length is important to making or breaking a sweater of this style (rolled cuff), i knew i needed to safeguard myself from possible shrinkage discrepancies, even slight ones could really ruin this whole thing for the perfectionist inside me. since the sleeve is going to be knit at 26.5" (yes i have long skinny arms... i always have to lengthen sleeves from a pattern, even male patterns) and should shrink to 21.5" (1" accounted for the rolling of the cuff) i'm just too nervous about having an extra inch and never wearing it. knitting from the cuff up just seemed like an invitation for disaster. so i've decided to knit top down, this way, if its too long, i'll just tear out a bit and re-bind off. more than that, its a relief not to be stressing through the duration of the knitting.

i provisionally cast on about 5 rows beneath the raglan armhole shaping and knit about 3 inches into the shoulder decreases. slipped that onto scrap yarn to deal with later (i'm doing some more intricate neck shaping and i'm going to wait till all pieces are complete to get perfect symmetry up there). I then picked up the provisional stitches and started working downward from shoulder to cuff. i'm not sure why i included the picture above - it definitely does not illustrate any of these things more clearly.

other than the obvious safety reasons of more accurate length with a top down sleeve, it also means all my shaping will be done by decreasing, rather than increasing. i'll take decreasing over increasing any day! decrases are much cleaner and more consistent and are definitely preferrable in my book.

now, i know what you're thinking: what about Jarrett? right? Jarret, weren't you knitting that really great tweedy jacket from that vintage rowan book? wasn't there some problem with a sleeve cap something or other?

yeah.................... well

i took about a week vacation from Jarrett, which was a very smart idea. i've spent the last week researching sleeve cap anatomy/construction and filling in all those unsightly holes in my design knowledge... while its frustrating to deal with the problem of possibly reknitting the cap, i really do feel like i'm once again master of my domain. i have strategic plans for getting Jarrett back on track, now all I need to do is sit down and actually do it. so you should be seeing some progress soon, if i can pull myself away from the denim. wool is just a little less desirable than cotton in the humidity. but only a little. wool is still my number one. always.
to keep you satiated: Jarrett has grown a collar since the last viewing:

Jarret Unfinished (with Collar)
lovin' that tubular bind off...

i shall execute my sleeve solution this weekend. i swear.

You know, with stockinette knit in the round... even if you knit it from cuff to shoulder, you can go back to the cuff and adjust - add more length, or take some away. The stitches for st st in the round look the same no matter which direction :).

There just so much to consider, isn't there, in designing a sweater. It looks like one that you'll get a lot of wear out of. And Jarrett, well, let me wipe the drool off my chin. I just melt over tweed.

my lord man! I love your fortitude!
can't wait to see how everything pans out...but like grumpster said stst is awesome because you can tink from the top or bottom ; )
I bet you'll be back in the wool within a week! wool rulz!

haha, yeah, i remember when wendy (knit and tonic) was making raspy and the pre-washed version stretched down to her knees! the finished version was much better though so i think that all the shrinkage will go as planned. just watch out for dye bleed!

love the collar on jarrett. looks comfy.

Ok, ok, I was expecting to see Jarett finished...but I totally understand the needed break.
It does look great so far, and I know you will tackle and conquer the sleeve cap when the time is right;)
I have a fear of Denim yarn. I just wouldn't trust myself...get all that knitting done and it not shrink to the correct size...scary!
Sleeve adjustment after shrinking will be simple.

I'm sure I'm not the only one out here who would like to see you in a denim dress....ha. But I trust the shrinkage! You will prevail! Hey- do you c/o a couple fewer stitches when working the arms in the round as opposed to flat if the pattern is written for flat? It occurs to me that this would be smart, as the designer presumably took seam allowances into account, but then again, that could cause you trouble at the armholes...

Wow boy! you've been busy. Glad to see such nice progress.

Like knitting the perfect sweater isn't hard enough. Now you have to worry about shrinkage. Good call on the top down sleeve (and decrease are definitely the way to go). I'll keep my fingers crossed for the perfect shrinkage. Jarrett looks awesome.

Can't wait to see the "dress" completed.....really looking forward to seeing the joining....and Jarrett looks great....I'm really gonna need some advice when I get going on it!

That whole will-it-or-won't-it-shrink-enough thing is terrifying. I'm sure the things was planned impeccably, but man! Scary!

my gay "boyfriend" really loves your blog ... he's a rather newish knitter, so all the information you offer is great for him to consider. i think he's getting ready to knit a ribby-cabley cardigan that you (?) knitted from a paton's pattern ....
don't you just hate knitter's anxiety? i would love to knit with the denim yarn, but i freak out enough about things that don't shrink fitting :)

Loving the raspy...that denim looks so nice. I'd be freaked about the shrinkage too. Sounds like you have planned well.

Sometimes taking a week off from a project to think makes all the difference in the world. Good luck with it!

Geee...it's like reading a thriller around here. Modifications, shrinkage, reknitting, execution...I could barely breath while reading. And then in the end everything looks like the pattern was written just for you.

Can't wait to see the end results.

The trepidtion & resulting cold sweats are totally worth it - Rowan Denim rocks! I'll post a picture on my blog of my denim sweater - it's about 12 years old now and still getting better.

I love your photographs.

You've been busy...I can't wait to see Raspy finished up - the whole shrinkage thing freaks me out! I love your Yorkshire Tweed DK too - the color is amazing. I just got some YT 4-ply from eBay that is gorgeous and can't wait to use it ($32.50 Buy It Now per pack including shipping!)...crazy. Can't wait to see what that DK is going to be used for!
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