Swatch

Sweater knitting requires careful swatching for gauge planning. Every single time that I skimp on this step or skip important parts, I end up ripping out four inches of sweater because it's either going to be too small or huge.

I knit a not-huge swatch, but big enough that I can get a good four inches of width to measure my average gauge. Remember, the gauge gods will lie to you and try to get you to talk yourself into mistakes.

“Oh, sure, I'll just knit for an inch or so, squint sideways, and it will work. If I just scrunch it together a bit, I can make that look like 22 stitches in 4 inches!”

Rip. Rip. Rip.

So here's my gauge swatch for my new sweater, unwashed and unblocked, with four inches marked off by the pins. 24 stitches. Drat.

 

But let's wash it and see what happens. Do this just like you would wash and block the real thing once it's done. Let it dry before you measure again (you're not going to wear it wet, are you?). Here you go.

 

22 stitches per inch. Just what the pattern calls for. Perfect. Even the row gauge matches up on this one.

As a reminder to myself, this swatch was knit with 3.5mm/US 4 needles.

 

Because I Can

Honest, I have been working on that big heavy wooly square sweater. But there is only so much heavy wool knitting I can handle in July. What's a knitter to do?

Of course, cast on something new! OK, I didn't really cast on, that's just the beginnings of a gauge swatch, but it counts.

It will be this eventually:

 

Doesn't that look like a wardrobe essential? The yarn is some ancient Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool from deep stash, in a lovely claret color.

In other news, I passed another Cold Sheep landmark on Monday.

120 days without buying ANY yarn!

I'm off to knit a few rows before my lunch break is over!

 

Sleeve Island

Next modification to the pattern. For some reason, the sleeves on this sweater use a rolled stockinette edging, which doesn’t make sense, since the body edging is ribbed. I hate rolled edges anyway, so I dragged out this old post with my mini-tutorial for a tubular cast on.

Please send me a rum drink. I have at least a gazillion miles of plain stocking stitch left. Cocktail umbrella optional.

Old Friend Sweater

Isn’t this what everybody does when the outside temperature threatens to hit the low 90′s? Whatever, it’s only 68 here so far this morning, so if I want to knit a heavy wool sweater, that’s what I’ll do.

I finished the front piece this morning. (The back is under the front in that photo.) I’m sure you’ve all forgotten what this is, but it’s Peace Fleece wool, pattern is Old Friend, which is basically a boxy shapeless square sweater. My modifications so far have been to use a tubular cast on for the ribbing, and I did short row shaping for the shoulders.

On to the sleeves. We’ll see how far I get today before I pass out from wool fumes and the heat.

And yes, this is yet another project that will be for John. If it seems like he’s getting a lot of knitting love lately, he deserves it. This is also on the agenda today.

Baby back ribs, done as only a good southern boy does them. They are being prepped with a dry rub, then they will get a long cooking in the smoker.

*And no, I have no idea why there are boxes of nuts and bolts on my dining room table. Who knows.

 

Blue Socks!

Finished!

Project Details:

Pattern: My own sock pattern. Cuff down, picot top, flap and gusset heel. Knit on 72 stitches aroundYarn: Flying Sock 100% BFL wool, Deep Ocean. Really nice “cushy” yarn.Needles: 2.00 mm Knitters Pride double points.Started: October 16, 2013Finished: July 10th, 2014For: Supposed to be for me, ergo the picot tops. They are a little big on me, so we’re negotiating. John may get them.

What I Learned: They’re just socks. I still love plain vanilla socks.

And that’s the yarn I had left.

The Oldest Living Knitting Project Known To Man!

AKA,

Dog Mittens!

And here they are!

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Project Details:

Pattern: Dog Mittens by Jorid Linvik
Yarn: Rauma Finullgarn, 1 skein dark navy, and 1 skein cream. Very nice yarn for stranded knitting. It’s not the smoothest shiniest stuff on the block, but it sticks together nicely, colors don’t bleed, and it blocks beautifully. This is where I got it, I think. There are many fine colors to choose from. It’s not the least expensive yarn of this type you can buy, but it’s great quality. The yarn was consistent, there wasn’t a single knot or thin spot. It’s firmly enough spun that I don’t think pilling will be much of a problem.
Needles: 2.75 mm KnitPicks double points
Started: December 5, 2008
Finished: July 4th, 2014
For: John!

What I Learned: It really shouldn’t take so long to knit a pair of mittens. These were a heap of fun to knit, and once I loaded the charts into Knit Companion, it was a lot easier to keep track of where I was. I learned that it makes a difference which hand you hold which color in two color knitting. I also learned gradually to keep my “floats” in the back looser so things don’t get bunched up. I also found out that if it takes you nearly six years to knit a stinking pair of mittens, your gauge is likely going to change from one mitten to the next one. Blocking fixed that just fine.

Verdict: I love them, John loves them. They are already stashed in his drawer, ready for the next cold spell.*

*Winter is Coming–

I Think I Can—

Here’s the sock in progress. I’ve been a bit worried that I’m going to run out of yarn on the second toe.

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I weighed the yarn an inch ago.

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21.8 grams left.

I knit another inch.

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That one’s tough to see. 18.9 grams left. So roughly 3 grams of sock yarn per inch.

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4 inches of sock left. So I should need 12 grams of yarn at most, but definitely less taking toe decreases into account. Unless my measurements are off, which certainly happens with sock feet. You measure it, you have 4 inches left to knit. Knit, knit, knit. Inches of knitting later, you measure it, and you have 4 inches left to knit.

I do have a back up plan involving a deep deep green and 1 or 2 row stripes to eke out the yarn if need be. We’ll see. My current plan involves knitting like a maniac because we all know that makes the yarn go farther.

Color Theory

I ran across this post yesterday. It’s a blog post by Jared Flood talking about color choices. This made me think a bit about my Color Affection shawl.

Jared talks in his blog about hue, or color, and value as the two important concepts to look at when choosing several colors that will go together in a project. Obviously the colors that you choose are important, they need to “go” together in some fashion that is pleasing.

The value concept was newer to me. If your colors are all great choices, but their values are too similar, your finished piece might be a muddy mess instead of having the colors pop out individually. Jared recommends using your digital photo application to convert a color photo to greyscale to illustrate this and to test your choices.

Here are my colors for my current Color Affection.

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And what that looks like knitted up so far.

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Here are the same photos adjusted in Lightroom to black and white.

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Not bad, but there could have been a little more difference between the two lighter values. With stripes, I think it’s OK, but with a complex stitch pattern, those two light colors would just blur together.

Here’s the other color scheme I had contemplated for this shawl.

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I don’t think that would work as well. And it definitely wouldn’t work in something like the yoke of an Icelandic sweater.

What do you all think? Is this something you’ve run into in your knitting? And do go read Jared’s post, and the follow up post that goes into much more detail.

I Married A Sweetheart!

I had to work the whole holiday weekend, so my sweetie offered to make me breakfast this AM. Bacon, scrambled eggs and homemade hashbrowns.

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Of course it didn’t hurt that I finished his MITTENS! Did I mention that already? Here they are on the blocking board.
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Why is only one of them pinned down, you might ask? These took so freaking long to knit that my gauge changed, and the one on the left is just a bit bigger, so I stretched the other one a bit to match. Wool is a lovely thing.

And the Finished Bacon project:

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Good Grief

It’s been over a month. I have no excuse. Well, I do, but they are all lame.

Let’s just do a Project Roundup, shall we? It’s been so long that even I’ve forgotten what I’m knitting.

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Oldest first, those dog mittens. I just need to sit down and finish these already.

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This too. It would be very lovely to wear this summer, don’t you think? That beaded border–what can I say? It’s boring.

All of the rest of the WIPS are at least from the past year. Here’s John’s sweater. I have a little to finish on this piece, then just knit the sleeves already and I’m done.

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Socks. And more socks.

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I’m finding Color Affection very amusing at this point. The ivory and pale grey was getting on my nerves, then I got to that scarlet, and it was a whole new project. Short rows are fun! Not boring!

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Last but not least, that Cathedral Stole. After I did a real swatch, I ended up not ripping it all out and starting over. I like the slightly more open lace in this yarn. It is mohair, so tends to fuzz up a bit and obscure the lace if it is knit too tightly.

Then there is Will.

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He is not a WIP, but he was very interested in my knitting. I turned my back for a second and he was trying to paw the Evenstar lace into a cat bed. He almost became a RIP.

In other news, I’m back to 90 days on the Cold Sheep no-yarn-buying plan.

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I had a near-miss yesterday while surfing the internet. Ravelry is very dangerous. I did manage to step away from the credit card just in time. On to 120 days.

You Guys Are A Big Help

OK, most of you said “rip that sucker and knit it over on the smaller needles”.  One or two said “leave it the way it is”. One person said “I’d use a LARGER needle”.

And a few basically said “who cares, do whatever you like”.

Damn. I ended up taking the smaller needle and knitting a real swatch. When I started this, I knitted a few repeats of the center of the lace pattern, decided I liked it, and knit away. I never really did finish a “proper” swatch, with washing and everything. I should really know better, especially with this yarn. It has a bit of a fuzzy finish, and it is mohair, so it’s very different from other lace yarns I’ve used.

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Ignore the fact that the pattern is a bit off. I just did the center repeat section, and in the real entire lace chart, there are rows where that repeat borrows a stitch across markers across the row, so it doesn’t line up exactly in the swatch. But washing it and pinning it out, even in a “down and dirty” fashion, did even it out a lot. Also, this mohair doesn’t behave the way merino would, not surprisingly. It doesn’t hold the blocking the same way, so those holes collapse a bit when it’s unpinned.

I’ll wait till it dries to decide, but I’m thinking the lighter, “holier” look is going to work better with this yarn. I’m glad I didn’t rip, at least not yet.

Knitting is such an adventure!