FO: Boo's Elephants

My copy of Interweave Knits Summer 2011 arrived in its belated fashion last week (it goes through a corporate forwarding system from Houston), and as I paged through it the first time, I wasn't so impressed. But the girls were yelling at each other and the dog was chewing on a dirty sock, so I had to leave it and go deal with the chaos. And when I came back, I discovered in the very last section the perfect sweater for Boo, the future veterinarian.

A vest! With elephants! What could be better? So last Thursday I cast on, and today I've got this:

Elephant Baby tank

Pattern: Baby Elephant Vest by Melanie Rice, Interweave Knits Summer 2011
Yarn: Classic Elite Provence, 100% mercerized cotton, 205 yds/100 grams, 2 skeins in a lovely periwinkle that I picked up at the Yarns2Ewe Christmas sale many years ago.
Needles: US 5/3.75 mm and US 6/4.0 mm.
Gauge: ~5 stitches per inch in stockinette on larger needles
Start/finish: 12 May - 16 May 2011
Comments/mods: the modifications were many and huge with this sucker. To start off with, there was no way in hell I was going to get 6.25 stitches/inch with this yarn without making a bullet-proof, stand-up-by-itself sweater. So I threw gauge out the window (always a dangerous idea!), swatched a bit, found a fabric I liked, cast on for the smallest size (21" chest), and hoped for the best. I used the measurements for the Boo-sized sweater (27" chest) for the length to the underarm and the length of the armholes. That was the first major modification. Thankfully, the FO ended up at just about 27", so win-win.

Major modification #2: worked in the round instead of in pieces. I hate seaming, so I did this sucker in the round. I cast on the appropriate number of stitches with 2 extra (for seam stitches), and worked the garter stitch band back and forth. Then when I started the lace pattern I joined to work in the round. The two extra stitches (one on either side) were purled every row to make a nice side seam and to hide the jog that happens with garter stitch in the round.

Elephant side seam

Major modification #3 (which isn't actually so major): instead of casting off and seaming the shoulders, I kept the stitches live and used a three needle bind off to finish. Ta da! No seaming! Well, except for the bit at the hem and the neck band and armhole edges. But still, not too bad...

Elephant 3-needle bind off

Are these not the cutest elephants you've ever seen?


And Boo seems pleased.

So that's May's sweater done. And it's not the one I was planning by a long shot. Maybe this will be a two sweater month???