Thursday, September 18, 2014

Off to a slow start

The Easy as Pie blanket notwithstanding, I decided my next knitting project should be a sweater I have been dying to knit for *years*. It's not for me, but for the granddaughter, who turns four next month. Since the sizes for the pattern go up to only age 5, there is not much time left. So off I went.

The Tuckernuck Cardigan has cables, and there began my troubles. Cable stitches pull in, so how does one measure gauge? I made a halfhearted attempt at swatching, then dove in on knitting the body. There arose another problem: despite the swatching, my gauge felt too tight however it was measured, due no doubt to my still relatively new devotion to using the Irish cottage (lever) knitting technique. As I knit along, I kept telling myself the usual lies we knitters tell ourselves when something is not going quite right, one of which is "I can fix this with blocking." Then I remembered I had deliberately chosen a superwash yarn as my daughter is known to wash the bejesus out of everything, felting even the unfeltable. With this in mind, I eventually came to the conclusion I should knit looser.

So I started anew, on a sleeve (which first involved a trip to Joann - not my favorite store - for some US9 DPNs). Actually, I prefer to start sweaters with the sleeves, to avoid the dreaded one-sleeve syndrome that tends to occur oh-so-close to the end of a sweater project. I also performed an experiment on a sweater of my own, one knit in Wool-Ease. The fabric felt too loose, so I machine washed it (on the gentle cycle), then put it in the dryer. That did tighten up the fabric without sacrificing the size. I am hoping the same will occur for Tuckernuck.

A side note: I wish I had chosen the Karabella yarn the pattern called for, as it has better stitch definition than Cascade 220. My usual source for this elusive yarn no longer sells it, though, plus I was literally at Webs when I selected this lovely lavender that seems perfect for a little girl. Oh, well!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

105 days until xmas

While visiting my dad in the hospital, I knitted socks. My sister-in-law gushed over them. I never know what to say when someone does this, especially when what is making the knitted item so special is not the knitting but the yarn. In this particular case, the knitting was as plain as can be, but the self-striping nature of the yarn provided a very pleasing result. All I contribute is an OCD-like persistence. At least she did not ask me to knit a pair for her (although I just might).

Pattern: None really, just Turkish cast on, 52 stitches around, gusset heel, taller than usual for wearing with boots, Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy bind off.
Yarn: ONline Supersocke 6-ply, colorway 1617
Needles: US3
Modifications: I did the toes on two circs, then switched to DPNs for the rest.

I didn't try to match the stripes this time other than start at the beginning of a color run so the striping at least lined up. For winter socks, these colors are surprisingly summery looking, like watermelon. Hopefully, there is enough yarn leftover for a pair for my granddaughter; then she and her mom will match.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Third time's the charm

I just could not let that orange hat get the better of me. Once I gave up trying to be clever, all went well. At least, until I was ready to turn the hem and could not find my US8 16" circs, misplaced during the remodeling. I bought new ones, finished the hat, and *then* found the missing needles. Isn't that the way it always goes?

Pattern: Basic hat pattern, by Ann Budd, hemmed edge, size large
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Encore Worsted, colorway 479
Needles: Started with US7 circs, switched to US8 after turning the hem.
Modifications: Cast on 112 stitches instead of 114, eliminating the first crown row which decreases by 2.

There is still a bit of a ridge that I expect will be less so once the hat has a good soak. Doing the hemmed edge has given me the idea of making ear bands with partial skeins. And now I have an FO to tide me over while I continue with this:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Second guessing

I am *finally* getting back to the Easy as Pie blanket. So much time has elapsed that I am having trouble remembering the difficult bits, like how to graft garter stitch. I had figured out how to do it myself, but my notes no longer made sense to me. I looked up instructions online, but they did not seem right for how the stitches were set up on the two needles. Still, I tried it "their" way, only to have the contrasting colors intermix. Then I checked the finished projects on Ravelry for a clue, testing out one of the methods recommended by several. Still wrong. And *then* I found these instructions on My situation calls for grafting reverse garter stitch, which I have never heard of but which is what I was doing in the first place! The graft just looked wrong because I pulled the stitches too tight. So now I am equipped to carry on. Huzzah!

Friday, August 15, 2014

February Little Lady sweater DONE

This sweater took exactly two months to knit, from casting on to attaching buttons. It was a surprisingly painful journey for such a simple knit. Somewhere along the way, I screwed up the stitch count in the yoke and, rather than starting over, I added a placket. Other mistakes were made along the way as well, including an attempt to cap the sleeves which was rapidly abandoned, and then there was the massive procrastination in buying the buttons and another one in sewing them on. But finally, FINALLY, it is finished.

Took long enough, huh?

Pattern: February Little Lady sweater, adapted by Paula Fletcher from EZ's February Baby sweater
Yarn: Elan Den-M-Nit Pure Indigo Cotton
Needles: US7
Modifications: Intentional: short sleeves; unintentional: mistake placket

Goofy face

Despite the setbacks, I am happy with the results. The gull stitch did not get all wonky from the denim yarn shrinking in the wash. There is plenty of room for growth horizontally but I can add to the sweater vertically if that becomes necessary. And there is no way my daughter can felt this sweater in the laundry. Win, win, win!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

This yarn stinks

While shopping for buttons for the February Little Lady sweater, we took a quick cruise through the yarn section of JoAnn. Mistake. My granddaughter glommed onto a ball of Sugar n Cream cotton in multiple pastels. I am not short of cotton yarn, not at all, but I still added it to our basket. After all, it was pretty, and I figured I could make a couple of wash cloths to make up for the orange hat debacle.

At the checkout, the clerk pointed out that the yarn was scented. If you have ever stood in line at JoAnn, you will understand why I did not interrupt the checking out process by fetching an unscented yarn. Plus the same colorway might not have been available in a non-scented version. Plus, how bad could it be?

I'm not sure what the manufacturer was thinking when deciding to add a scent to the yarn. It wasn't a fresh scent like "clean linen" or citrus or lavender, but a decidedly perfumey one. Knitting with it actually gave me a headache. I hope the smell washes out quickly.

I was able to knit a couple of wash cloths in short order, though, which restored my knitterly balance.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Moebius hat?

The bright orange hat was supposed to be a quick and easy project, something I could pick up and work on here and there, an object to give me a sense of knitting accomplishment while also working on the Easy as Pie blanket. But no. Sometimes nothing is ever easy.

The first problem cropped up when, instead of following the pattern instructions, I tried to do my own thing. This hat has a hemmed edge, and the directions suggest starting out with a smaller needle for the section that gets folded under. I did not see that suggestion (because it came late in the pattern, not at the beginning), so instead I cast on four extra stitches after the "fold" row, then later decreased by four stitches to align with the rest of the instructions. This resulted in a ridge, a ridge I told myself did not matter, it was just a HAT.

Of course, by the time I neared the crown, that ridge was eating away at me. It glared at me, it yelled at me, it told me I could do better. So, despite being nearly done, I started over. And instead of redoing the hat on DPNs (stitches kept falling off the ends) or a 16-inch circ (which has a short needle length that is a challenge for my man hands), I decided to use two circs, just as I have used on some toe-up socks.

So away I went, fat, dumb, and happy, for about an inch, then tried to admire my work by unrolling the stockinette. That's when I realized there was a twist in the stitches. In disbelief, I kept trying to flatten the stockinette, thinking surely, *surely* I had not made that newbie error. But alas, it was true.

So the hat is in a time out. Me, too. Gonna move on, at least for a while.