Purple Thing

After some serious dithering, the sleeves are done and are on the blocking board.  The fronts and back shoulder seams have been matched up, and I’m just waiting for the sleeves to dry so I can set them in.  Then a little seaming party, a few bands, buttons, and voila! A sweater!

Oh my god.  Buttons.  I forgot to buy buttons for this thing.  I’m thinking something really girly and elegant. Another shopping opportunity.  I just happen to have a gift certificate to the Weaving Works in Seattle, and we just happen to be making a trip to the city later today.  Who the hell goes to a yarn store and just buys buttons?

The consensus on the bands, by the way, is seed stitch.  I will try that first and see what it looks like.

Here are the sleeves:


I am one of the apparently few knitters who like the sewing and finishing part.  I look at all those pieces and think “wow” I knit all that!  Helping them all get put together in the right configuration is fun for me.  Even sewing in yarn ends in not onerous.  That moment when the last stray end is hidden, and the last button secured, is wonderful.  Even if it is the middle of the night I want to get up and parade around the house in my finished work of art.

Don’t be sending me all your unfinished sweaters just yet.  I don’t find the finishing THAT much fun.

The dithering on the sleeves was the result of my apparent inability to remember which decreases are paired with which, and which ones go on which side of the piece.  The knit side increases I have finally committed to memory, but the last 18 rows of the sleeve caps required a decrease on every row.  I am just not a fan of purl side decreases.  I haven’t done them very often, so they don’t look as neat as they should.  Then I just plain followed my scribbled instructions wrong, so had to rip back about three times to get it right.

For the record, and if I write it down here, I might have a prayer of remembering it the next time I have to do it.

On the KNIT side, the decrease that goes on the right side of the work, that is left-leaning, is a SSK.  The left side of the sleeve gets a right-leaning increase, a K2tog.

On the PURL side, it gets a little dicier.  After trying a few things, here is what looks best to me.
On the right side, the left-leaning one, is a SSP.  Slip the next two stitches, one at a time, as if to knit.  Return them in their now-turned configuration to the left needle.  Now purl into the FARSIDE (the back leg) of the stitches, purling them together.

The left side of the sleeve as you are looking at it gets a right leaning decrease.  The book that I looked this up in said to just P2tog, but I like how it looks on the public side better if you P2tog through the back loops.

I have to say, it takes a bit of practice to do the through the back loop ones without stretching the stitches way out.

I will leave you with a couple of pictures that make me happy.  We have had the same angel on our Christmas tree since we were married.  Here’s old Gabe:


And here are the Three Wise Guys:


If I could find the rest of the nativity scene that matched them I would buy it in a minute!

I’m off to finish my Christmas shopping.  Who am I kidding?  I’m off to START my Christmas shopping.  Where the hell is the challenge in getting ready for Christmas in October??


Purple Thing — 5 Comments

  1. Now, imagine living half a block away from Weaving Works and walking past it every day on your way home from work. Torture!
    But, rather pleasant, as far as torture goes.
    Happy holidays!

  2. I’m not sure if it will help you, but I can tell you how I remember decreases.
    First, I’m assuming you knit in the standard method, I knit in the combined method so I’ve had to learn to reverse my decreases anyway. So, with that in mind, I think about decreases based on the way the needle enters a stitch.
    In standard knitting, your needle actually enters the stitch from left to right. You probably don’t think of it this way, but if you really think about it, your needle goes in through the left side of the needle.
    When you purl, your needle enters the stitch from right to left.
    When it comes to pairing decreases, you generally simply work two stitches together or reorient them and then work them together. (that’s K2tog or SSK respectively for the K side)
    Decreases lean in the direction your needle exits the stitch. For instance, when you work a k2tog, you enter through the left of the stitch and exit through the right. That means that a k2tog will lean right. I also think of it this way; Your working needle points to the direction of the decrease’s lean.
    The key is being able to see that your standard Ks and K2tog are worked by bringing your needle from the left to the right. As for SSK, and P2tog, I think it’s quite evident that you enter those stitches from right to left (thus, left leaning)
    When it comes to deciding what decrease to work at each side of a sleeve cap, you always work your decrease towards the center of the piece.
    Necklines are always decreased away the center of the piece and towards the sleeve decreases.

  3. I bought my first gift at 11:45 pm last night. That was an early start for me. December 23 or 24th is my usual tradition.

  4. I think it’s great that you like the finishing process. I’m uncomfortable due to lack of knowledge, but this is one of the things I plan to work on in 2005.

  5. Rats! You really had me excited until you got to the part about not sending you our unfinished sweaters! I have two (yes, count-em, two) sitting in my basket just waiting to be sewn up. Of course, I also have the excuse of having some Christmas knitting going on. But sewing up is definitely NOT my idea of a good time. Have you ever been to the Acorn Street Yarn shop in Seattle? I think it’s in the same general vicinity of Weaving Works, in the U district somewhere. I’ve only been once and it was rather winding getting there from I5, but it’s a great shop too.