Today, I started on the gift for my mother. Here are the details so far.
Pattern: Balletneck Sweater, taken from Crochet that Fits; Shaped fashions without increases or decreases by Mary Jane Hall
Yarn: The yarn used in the book's sample is Bernat Satin Sport, with Lion Brand Microspun as a recommended substitute. These are bulk rated as light, or a size 3. What I am using is Paton's Brilliant in Prettiest Plum, which is also a bulk rating of 3.
Hook: The pattern recommendation is for I/5.50mm or the size needed for 12 hdc in 3 inches.
The pattern also called for an optional ribbon to decorate the yoke, which I will be skipping.
This is the first gauge swatch I did, using the 5.50mm hook. The result was 15 hdc in three inches. So I tried it again using a J/6.00mm hook and got...
... 15 hdc in 3 inches. Uhm... okay. :-/
The biggest difference was that using the larger hook was a lot more unpleasant to work with. I don't like using big hooks with thin yarns. I don't like how loose and floppy, almost tangled, it feels to work with. There's also a lot more open space in the stitches, which would leave the wearer requiring a camisole or something underneath for modesty. No thanks. I decided to stick with the 5.50mm hook and adjust the pattern accordingly.
Adjustments: I inherited my mother's body shape. We both carry most of our weight in the front, on the belly. She is shorter than I am, and I have a rough idea of her measurements. I figure that if this fits me slightly loose and comfortable, it should fit her much the same way.
With that in mind, I used the photo in the book and my own body as reference in deciding on the length of the starting chain. At the last moment, I remembered that my body shape was surgically altered. My bust is now a lot smaller, so I added more stitches to make up for her still-original bosom. In the end, I added an extra 36 stitches to the starting chain (which was only 48 stitches to begin with - much shorter than I like). Based on the gauge in the swatch, that's an extra 7 1/2 inches or so in length. If I worked it out right, my mother should be able to comfortably raise her arms and not have to worry about the bottom riding up and flashing belly.
[data removed to protect the ideas of the author's.]
I've been reading and re-reading the instructions for the sleeves, which is very different from anything I've looked at before. At this point, I don't get it. I can't "see" what is being described, even with the diagrams. Which is fine. With me, I know I won't get it until I'm actually doing it. Then it will make sense.
After the sleeves and sides are done, there is a lovely yoke done in the round. There is also an optional sleeve cuff. I have not yet decided if I will do full length or 3/4 length sleeves. That can wait until I'm actually doing them.
For any family members who happen to be reading this, I don't mind if my mother knows I'm making something for her. I just want to keep the actual design a surprise. Thanks. ;-D