Monday, June 08, 2009

Fifi update

So while I've been musing on my summer-vacation-to-be, and philosophizing about life as we know it, I've also been knitting.  (I KNOW!  Imagine that.)

My May (...june...) project has been Fifi, by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes.  I bought Kristeen's new book, French Girl Knits, a couple of months ago, and fell in love with her design sensibility--feminine, romantic, yet practical.  She specializes in one-piece designs:  top-down, bottom up, and even side-to-side.  So, since I had this wonderful book in front of me with 18 designs in it, I on Ravelry and bought the pattern for Fifi instead of starting anything from the book.  

Fifi calls for Rowan Calmer, six or seven balls of it for my size.  This wasn't in my budget--it costs about $12 a ball--so I searched Ravelry for an appropriate substitute and landed on KnitPicks Shine Sport in Chipotle.  Calmer is a cotton/acrylic blend, and so is Shine.  There was one other Fifi on Ravelry in Shine Sport and the knitter reported not having to do any modifications as a result of the sub and her photos were supercute.  So I ordered the yarn, swatched on size 7s, and it all looked good.

I don't know if it's because I don't knit with cotton very often, or because the sportweight wasn't a good substitute for Calmer, which is listed as either DK or light worsted depending on where you look, but I'm not 100% happy with the fabric.  It just feels a bit...floppy.  What was nice and smooth in the swatch is a little bit droopy in a full sweater.  I don't know if I should have gone down a needle size, or if I should have used Shine Worsted or Comfy instead (two more popular subs once I started looking more closely)...

There are a couple of other issues with my Fifi, which you can see in the photo below:
  1. my center cable is off center, since the stitches to the left of the cable (the little buggers are on the right in the picture, but remember the sweater was knit top-down) are really loose.  I've not had this problem so dramatically before, and I knit a lot of cables, but that's probably also because the cotton is so much less elastic than my usual wool.
  2. The pattern calls for inserting a few short rows at the bustline to ease the fit.  It doesn't give directions for doing this unobtrusively, though...and as you can see from the WEIRD GAPING HOLE in the picture, I don't think I did this right.  There weren't any directions, so I followed the short row directions in Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters, and the short rows just came out kind of funky and gappy.
I'm going to soldier on, though, because the fit is fundamentally OK and I think, cotton being what it is, that I will be able to shape it during blocking.  I plan on making elbow-length sleeves rather than cap sleeves, and I've also switched to size 5s for the sleeve ribbing to keep it a little snugger.  So we'll see.  If the sleeves turn out well I may reknit the body on 5s or 6s.

Happy Monday, everyone!


Clumsy Knitter said...

I looooove that color! Red is so in right now. ;-) You've been posting a lot lately--it's fun!

amy said...

There's a rumor going around that I'm working on a Fifi of my own, but darned if I can confirm this with any proof! Progress has been waylaid, but I'm pretty sure, maybe, that it will pick up again soon.

The Chipotle color is absolutely perfect - really like that. I agree that the pattern is a little lacking in clarity. Fortunately I could skip the short rows because I have no boobs. Fabric-wise, it's supposed to be kind of snug-fitting, right? Maybe after blocking the fabric will cling where it needs to and knock it off with the drooping.

I want to make my sleeves a bit longer, too. Until I get Michelle Obama arms, cap sleeves don't exactly show off my strong suit. Someday.