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Archive for January, 2012

Baby Steps

This will be the first time I take scissors to my knitting. I’m taking it slow.

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Simple Knitting

My knitting has taken on a decidedly simplistic bent these days.

I recently cast on two projects in a fit of start-itis, and both are very soothing, very simple knits. It began with a Hitchhiker, inspired by one of the ladies at knit night a couple weeks ago. It wasn’t until I saw one in person that I understood the appeal and wanted to cast one on for myself.

I followed that four days later with a Sockhead Hat.

The striped socks just need their (plain) heels knit in, and even the re-started disappearing sock is a simple garter rib.

As wonderfully soothing as I find these projects, in the mornings and afternoons I find myself mentally casting on much more thoughtful projects. Things like cabled pullovers and cardigans, and beaded lace shawls that my fingers positively itch to cast on for.

But when I get home in the evenings, with the sun already mostly gone and dinner needing to be cooked and the invariable pile of laundry waiting to be done (how can two grown people generate so much laundry, I ask you?), I reach for one of these projects, that I can just pick up and go on without even a second thought.

I know I will eventually swatch for those sweaters, and learn how to add beads to my lace, but for now all I want is the simple knit stitch, whether it is back-and-forth or round-and-round or even broken up every other row with some purls. And to maybe just dream of the more complex projects that I will start when the days get longer and brighter.

I wonder if this is a knitter’s form of hibernation?

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Sleeve Fail

Or, how an almost-finished sweater becomes a gauge swatch. A really, really big gauge swatch.

I want to preface this by saying I think that Cloudy Sunday is a super cute sweater. But even as I was knitting it, I had the sneaking suspicion I was knitting it for the body I want instead of the body I actually have right now.

So imagine my delight when I finished the body, pinned the shoulders in place, tried it on and discovered it didn’t look so bad. Definitely not terrible like I had feared. (You’ll have to trust me on this as I have no photographic evidence of it.)

Now, the sleeve shaping is interesting in this sweater, and I was excited to get the shoulders seamed and the little bit of ribbing knit on. That’s where it all went wrong. I thought that I had just been careless in picking up the stitches for the ribbing on the first sleeve, so I took greater care with the second. And had the same problem.

I just don’t care for the way the two sides split off at the end of the sleeve cap. And how it results in a little “pooch” in the sleeve that distorts the ribbing. Maybe this could be fixed by seaming them further, but I just don’t like the sweater on me enough to be bothered with it.

Hence, a big ‘ol gauge swatch. I’m thinking for an owls.

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New Year, New Sweater

I technically finished the Lodi Cardigan well before the new year (I count 4 days as being well before), but “Old Year, New Sweater” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. I’m happy with how it turned out, and I anticipate getting a lot of wear out of this one. I couldn’t even wait to get pictures before I started wearing it, so when I finally got around to taking some, it has that decidedly “lived-in” look to it. But I’m ok with that.

Pattern: Lodi Cardigan by Tanis Gray

Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Solstice in 2306 Buff

Needles: US5/3.75mm and US7/4.5mm

This is the first sweater I’ve knitted that changed needles sizes to incorporate shaping instead of increases and decreases. It made me realize how much I look forward to doing something different when I get to the body of a top-down sweater, especially when it’s in stockinette.

I did make a couple modifications. I shortened the sleeves by 1″ and bound them off fairly tightly to try to avoid them “belling” out. Also, since I’m pretty short-waisted, I worked the purl ridge detail at the waist at 7.5″ from the underarm instead of the 9″ the pattern called for. This puts it pretty much at my natural waist instead of below it. And then, because I do like to camouflage my lack of torso whenever possible, I lengthened the body to 13.5″ instead of 10″ before starting the garter-stitch hem.

My only slight disappointment with this cardigan is that while I can just button it all the way down, it tends to pull and gap more than is flattering. I call this a slight disappointment because I think that it looks good unbuttoned, so I know I’ll still get a lot of wear out of it. But it did bum me out a bit, because I was fairly certain I had allowed enough ease to be able for it to function as a fully-buttoning cardigan. I think where I went wrong was not stopping to consider that buttons spaced 4″ apart are not flattering to a busty girl; I just blindly followed the pattern in that respect. I will keep this in mind with the next cardigan I knit.

My one of my favorite parts of this sweater has got to be the buttons. My best friend’s mom gave me a whole shoebox full of buttons this summer, and these are from part of that stash. I love the little pop of color they give to the neutral yarn.

And my very favorite part of this project? My finishing work, to be honest. I don’t think I’ve ever woven ends in so nicely, and I backed the buttonband with grosgrain ribbon and used backing buttons for the first time. I’m ridiculously proud of how even and how almost invisible my stitches are (if I do say so myself).

I didn’t back the buttonhole side, but I think I might eventually to keep it from stretching out of shape. I did some preliminary research into this, and it seems some people will use their machines to put buttonholes into the ribbon itself. I don’t think I’m that ambitious. My first thought was just to back the sections in between the buttonholes themselves, to make sure they still have enough stretch to accommodate the buttons, and I think that’s still what I’ll do if I ever get around to it.

And just to prove that I do actually wear my knits, not just model them on my dress form, I present a “Lodi in the Wild” picture.

The wild being my backyard.

I don’t get out too much in the winter months. I prefer to stay in and knit.

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Roll Interrupted

My posting roll got waylaid by a not-so-spectacular week last week followed by an equally lackluster weekend, but I hope to get it going again.

I have a finished Lodi cardigan, progress on some happy striped socks, a bulky-weight sweater that seems to be knitting itself, and a sweater’s quantity worth of recently acquired yarn to show.

Hopefully I can find some patches of late afternoon sun to take pictures so I don’t have to go another week to get some pictures. Because picture-less blog posts tend to be real snoozers. Sorry about that.

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