The best thing about finishing a project is getting to start another one.
This is Prosperous (pdf link). The designer named it Prosperous Plum, which made sense for her, since she used purple. I'm going with the more succinct "Prosperous". And I love it. Of course, I always love a project when I cast it on. It's only later, when the road starts getting rocky, that the passion fades and I have second thoughts and wonder if I might have been better off with Grecian Plaits. Or Swallowtail. Or that cute cardigan I saw that one time at that yarn store the next town over. I really should have gotten its name. But I digress.
Look at that adorable (yes, I'm really going to refer to it as "adorable") picot hem! Ignoring for the moment that it was an enormous pain in the butt--provisional cast on, worsted weight on size 5 needles, fold over and knit one stitch off each needle together until you reach the end or your hand falls off--it is a beautiful detail. The hemming gives the edge a nice weight and body that should really help the finished sweater to drape well. And look at that great little eyelet detail!
I'm doing this one in Cotton Fleece, which Green Apples has recommended very highly. I can see why. This is a lovely yarn, 80% cotton, 20% wool. It is very soft, and has the nice dry hand of cotton with the springiness of wool. Unlike many cottons I've worked with (see the baby dress and blanket), it is not heavy or stiff, and the stitches are smooth and even. At about $8 for a 100 gram skein with 215 yards, it's more expensive than the yarns I usually buy, but not outrageous. (I am the queen of internet yarn sales, so I generally get my yarns at about half the retail price. I actually had to go to the not-so-local yarn store for this and pay full price.) This tank should take three skeins, which is well within bounds of what I consider a reasonable price.
And now a question. If you use or have used a provisional cast on, which one do you/did you use? There seem to be at least three variations, and I dislike all of them. I know of two versions that use a crocheted chain, meaning you first crochet a chain, then pick up and knit stitches in the crochet loops. When you are ready to take out the cast on edge, the crochet chain just unzips, and you can pick up the live stitches. The disadvantage to this one is the extra step of crocheting a chain, and then the tedium of picking up stitches in a narrow crocheted chain.
The other version I know uses a long tail cast on with one of the tails being a piece of scrap yarn. This is quicker to cast on--it works exactly like a regular long tail cast on. The disadvantage is that the scrap yarn does not unzip. You have to carefully cut and pick it out one stitch at a time when you are ready to expose the live stitches. I used this method for Prosperous, and I was not a happy camper.
Does anyone have another provisional cast on, maybe one that combines the ease of a long-tail with the simplicity of unzipping the crocheted chain? Or am I way too optimistic that such a thing is possible?