I had knit a good portion of the bottom of the sweater (about 6 inches) when Tour de Fleece started. So, the sweater was put aside while I worked on my spinning and then my Ravellenic Games knitting.
Labor Day weekend I pulled it out again. I figured out how much the garter stitch striped edging would measure, and subtracted that from what the total length was supposed to be before beginning the armhole shaping. Because I had cast on the sweater as one whole piece, I started with the right side for the next part of the pattern.
As you start the armhole shaping, you also start the collar shaping, which is a folded over portion of a sort of shawl collar that becomes the back flap (Is there a better name for that, does anyone know?). Because the collar is folded over and shows stockinette stitch on the front, it gets purled on the right side of the piece. Does the pattern mention this? Not really. Now I knew, because I could easily see that from the pattern photos, but did that stop me from somehow screwing up the increases in such a way that it looked like garter stitch? No.
I ripped it out and started the shaping section again, this time using a Pfb to increase. I also switch the k2tog decreases to ssk along where the collar joins the body to get a left-leaning look. I kept the k2tog for the armhole decreases since those should lean to the right. Then, I find the first of several pattern mistakes. At least I hope it was a mistake; I haven’t figure out why the pattern would suddenly have you K the collar stitches on the right side of the piece when you’ve been purling them up to that point. The same mistake was in the instructions for the left front as well. (At this point, yes, I went looking for errata and found none.)
The collar progressed nicely once I got to the part that just has you continue without anymore increases or decreases till it’s a certain length. Then, the shoulder shaping was pretty straightforward. The next step is some short row shaping on the collar, which was written out alright except for the part where it doesn’t tell you to pick up and knit the wraps when you go back over all the stitches. This would explain why there are a few of these sweaters on Ravelry that looked like there was something odd going on with the collar at this point; wraps were probably left unknit.
At this point I put the stitches on waste yarn and went to the left front, which went smoother after figuring out the eccentricities of the right side instructions.
Some background… This is a pattern that my sister saw a sample knit of in her local LYS/fabric/craft store. My brother-in-law being in the Navy, she thought this would be a fantastic sweater for my niece. So, she and my mom called me up and persuaded me to knit an awesomely cute sweater for my awesomely cute niece. Once I was onboard, my mom bought the pattern booklet and brought it home with her to hand off to me to knit for my niece’s birthday, which is in October.
I did a cursory glance over the pattern and determined that knitting a sweater for a child-who-will-outgrow-it-probably-quicker-than-I-can-blink out of the merino/cashmere/silk yarn used in the pattern was ridiculous to the point that I think I may have actually laughed out loud. What two-year-old needs a merino/cashmere/silk sweater? Really? So, a trip in March to Purlescence Yarns had me swapping out the called for yarn with Cascade 220 Superwash in a bright blue with a pure white for the stripe.
In June, I sat down to get started on the sweater to give myself plenty of time to get the sweater done. I took a look at other knitters’ versions on Ravelry and began to get the sense that something was wrong with the pattern. The major problem seemed to be that the cute little sailor flap on the back of the sweater is knit in two parts and seamed up the middle; this is not something you can tell from the pattern pictures as none of them are shot from the back. I think the average person seeing the pattern photos would assume that the flap is one piece; I know I did. The idea of a seam running down the middle of it just didn’t appeal. No worries, several people had made modifications to eliminate the seam and it sounded easy enough to do.
I read the pattern through and found myself reading parts over and over again because they were confusing, and while the words were in English, they almost seemed to not be strung together in a recognizable order. I got things sorted out by realizing that the pattern called for you to cast on the striped edging for the bottom of the fronts, up along the button bands, along the collar, and around the back flap for each side; you then cast off all but the bottom of the front portion. The back is not as complicated, just calling for the striped section at the bottom of the back. I cannot for the life of me figure out why they would have you knit the entire length of the stripe, then have you stitch it on. Picking up and knitting the stitches seems so much easier of an idea.
So, the sweater was cast one, back and fronts all in one piece, with a provisional cast-on for picking up the edging stitches later.
I really did mean to keep up-to-date on posting during the Ravellenic Games, but we know what they say about good intentions. I had two projects to work on during the games, and I managed to complete one.
I worked on the Autumn Vines Beret (RAV) first, and finished it in decent time. I would have finished it earlier if I had really committed to the process, but there were some nights I just didn’t feel like knitting, which that will get me every time. This was a fun pattern to knit, and one I actually think I’d be interested in doing again, perhaps with the yarn suggested in the pattern because I love the color (they had it at Stitches West 2012 and it was fabulous).
My second project was the Citron shawl. I started it the morning after finishing the beret, but I only had a little more than a week to get it done. I actually managed to get a good deal of it done on a trip down to San Diego to take the Academy of Certified Archivists exam. My dad drove me, so I was able to sit in the passenger seat and knit, knit, knit. Of course, the problem with a shawl is always the fact that it gets bigger and bigger the further you get, and I had decided from the outset to knit 7 sections rather than the called for 5 sections (I wanted to make sure I got every color of the progression into the shawl). I got to the 7th section on Saturday, August 11. I thought I was good to go, but then I discovered that I had read the instructions incorrectly, and that instead of having until midnight of the 12th, I only had until 4 pm my time. I kind of gave up then. I even put my knitting down and didn’t pick it back up for almost 2 weeks.
Maybe it’s a good thing that I put it down. When I picked it up again, I decided to see if I could get an extra section out of my yarn. With worry that I might run out, I knit an 8th section and started on the ruffle. Amazingly enough I got to the end and still have a little bit of yarn left. Now the shawl is cast off and just in need to a wash and block. Now where did I put those T-pins….?
I finished my spinning for the Tour de Fleece with a little time to spare. I didn’t want to go too crazy with the spinning since I’m participating in what one of my online knitting groups (Friends of Abby’s Yarns) is calling the Masochism Tango where whatever you spun during the Tour de Fleece gets knit into something during the Ravelympics Ravellenic Games. Since one of the things I spun was a skein of laceweight singles with a total of 864 yards, I knew I’d have my work cut out for me in the knitting department.
So, the final totals at my Tour de Fleece finish line are
1. (Top) Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club – August 2011 – Falkland – Change, 3-ply, sport weight, 234 yards
2. (Bottom) Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club – December 2012 – Superwash Corriedale – David’s Gift, singles, laceweight, 864 yards
Plans are still the same for the knitting up as I posted at the beginning of the Tour de Fleece: the 3-ply Falkland will become the Autumn Vines Beret, and the laceweight SW Corriedale will become a Citron shawl.
I cast on the beret Friday evening. If I had been thinking ahead I would have had the yarn balled up and ready to go to cast on while riding the bus home from work that afternoon. But I was totally unprepared for the start of the Ravellenic Games. The yarn was balled up, the pattern pulled out, and a quickie gauge swatch knit up after dinner while watching the woefully time-delayed opening ceremony (probably the only thing except for the closing ceremony that I’ll actually watch during the whole thing, I think). I am ready and willing to except that my gauge swatch might have been lying to me as I only knit about an inch or so before measuring and deeming the chosen needles good to go. But the fabric I’m getting looks good, and the hat itself does not look overly small or large.
I’m hoping to have the beret done and the shawl cast on by Monday of next week, the sooner the better obviously. I’m expecting that the shawl will go quickly since it doesn’t have the same amount of patterning as the hat; the hope is that I will be able to mostly memorize the shawl pattern and go at it like a speed demon rather than having to check the pattern every few minutes like I do with all the cables on the hat.
After finishing the baby blanket for my sister, I had to put my energy towards knitting baby things for a couple of friends who were due within a couple months of each other. My friend Katy is really into forests and fairies, so I wanted to make her a baby sweater that invoked those ideas. I settled on the Baby Yours sweater by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and published by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. It was a relatively easy knit, mostly moss stitch with a cable up the middle of the back and front. The only thing that tripped me up was that the centimeter measurements were listed before the inch measurements, so I just need to make sure I read the correct instructions as I went (or really, just measure the sweater in centimeters instead of inches, which is mostly what I did).
Picking out buttons was slightly difficult because I wanted something that went really well with the pattern. I picked up some ivy leaf buttons and some acorns. I tested out how well each of the button designs would fit through the buttonholes I made. The ivy leaves had three pointy bits, which made it difficult to get through the holes. At first, the acorns didn’t seem to fit, but with a little coaxing I got them through. They looked so cute and really matched the feel of the sweater.
Hey, look! It’s a Finished Object! Never thought you’d see one of those around here, eh? I finished off the baby blanket for my niece a few weeks ago. This is a grand thing for a couple of reasons: 1) It has been blocked and was handed off at Christmas, 2) I can knit on other things… any thing I want. I finished the blanket with enough time to think about whipping out a pair of socks for The Husband for Christmas (although the last couple inches had to be knit Christmas day after giving him his gift). I also managed to finish a pair of socks for myself, although that’s not as much of an accomplishment because I had finished the first one back in May when I went to Seattle for a conference. I cast on and almost finished the second sock on my trip to New Haven, CT to interview at Yale the second week of this month.
Here’s a shot of the baby blanket in all its glory:
I think I really need to cast on a new sweater. The few store bought sweaters I wear are not really good for fall or winter (i.e., cotton and acrylic blends rather than wool). And the few hand-knit sweaters I have for myself have all fallen into disrepair. My poor Ribby Cardi has pilled something fierce and both shoulder seams have split. One of the cuffs on my Mr. Greenjeans caught on something and is unraveling, so no wearing it till it’s fixed. And… that’s it for sweaters.
So, there are 2 sweaters up as possibilities — Tempest in Rowan Felted Tweed (purple) or a plain crewneck pullover in Rowan Felted Tweed Aran (red). I’m leaning towards the pullover first as it would probably be the easiest to get on the needles and finished. Tempest would require more careful swatching in order to match gauge, and I’d have to fiddle with the pattern because I’d be knitting it without the stripes (some of the directions are based on stripe repeats).
Now, I just need to finish my Celaeno test knit, my self-designed socks, and OMG! a baby blanket cause my niece could come as soon as a couple weeks from now.
Since I am still only spinning the lace yarn for the shawlette I’d like to design, I have been lying awake in the dark thinking of how to execute said design. Some things have been hard to figure out just in my head and will need to be put on paper to see how the mechanics will actually work out. Some things I think of then forget as I drift off to sleep, leaving me only to wake up in the morning knowing I had a solution and it’s gone.
One of the mathematical things I’ve been working on is the fact that the lace pattern I have chosen is an even stitch number stitch pattern. Most shawls started at the top, as I want to start this one, tend to have an odd number of stitches in between the edge stitches and the center stitch. Last night, I believe I worked out how to jigger it, now I just need to find out if it’ll look alright.
Meanwhile, the sock design I began working on in June is slowly making progress. I finished the first sock only to discover that even though I had gotten gauge in my swatch, I lost a whole stitch per inch when knitting the sock. Eight stitches per inch is quite a bit different that 9 stitches per inch, especially in stretchy 2×2 ribbing. So, I’m working the second sock on needles that are half a millimeter smaller. The unfortunate part is I really liked how the color of the yarn worked out in the larger gauge, and in the smaller gauge it’s spiraling. The little bit of fancy stitch patterning it has is an 11 stitch repeat, so not much I can do there to play with fit. Just have to live with the change in color patterning.
Having too many options always seems to make decisions more difficult. The days are ticking by on the 4 ounce challenge (deadline is Sept 30). I don’t have any fiber from Hello Yarn or Southern Cross Fibre, but I do have plenty of Spunky Eclectic fiber to choose from. That’s part of the problem. Well, that, and not even being able to decide what kind of pattern I want to try to come up with. Socks are always fun… so is lace… ooo, what about a cowl? If I can’t even settle on what it is I’m going to make, how can I pick the right fiber for the project?
The top fiber in the running is a Spunky Club offering from last year – Selfish in Shetland. I’m also considering the newest shipment, which I can’t give details on yet. The nice thing about the Selfish is that it’s all set to go. When I received it last year, I split it up and pre-drafted it. So, it’s ready to spin. I’m also finding the maroon, orange, and green combination appealing. I think I’ll aim for a 2-ply laceweight yarn as I’m considering knitting something like a cowl or shawlette.
Am I going crazy? I feel like I’m trying to do too many things at once. I have a baby blanket to finish. I’m working on a pair of socks I’ve designed as well as working out another design that’s come to mind. I’m thinking of participating in the Spunky Eclectic/Hello Yarn/Southern Cross Fibres 4 Ounce Challenge! (spin 4 oz. of one of their fibers and design something using the yarn in 2 months). And I may be about to join a KAL knitting the Annis shawl from Knitty with some of my handspun (this one is crazy cause you have to cast on 360 stitches).
I keep wanting to work on all sorts of different things, and yet, I’m not knitting very much. In the evening, I sit on the couch catching up on the TiVo, and I think to myself that I should knit or spin. Do I do either? No. I continue to sit there just watching TV. Then, of course, when there are things I have to do (e.g., work), I just want to go home and knit. It sort of feels like my internal clock is off, like jet lag. As if I’m hungry and sleepy at all the wrong times, but for knitting and spinning and work.
I guess I’ll just try to buckle down and see if I can get something done, anything.