Friday, September 09, 2011

I am so happy.

Leave it to a knitter to effuse over how much she loves a particular knitting pattern, and then outline the many modifications she made while knitting it.

The first project I cast on – after realizing that I could knit while Bee naps in my lap!!!* – is this fine-gauge little red cardigan. It’s Carole Barenys’ seamless yoked sweater (Rav link), which has been knitted up by about a zillion Ravelers, in part because it has the fantastic asset of being both seamless and top-down.** So: almost no sewing (just buttons, and there’s a certain conclusive thrill to button-sewing), and, in theory, you can try the sweater on its recipient to determine, periodically, how much longer to make the body and the sleeves. My model, though, is under a year old, and immensely wiggly. I wonder if Tyra Banks wiggles around this much when being wrangled into designer dresses? Also, does she chew her socks?

Anyway, regarding mods, I added length and a sixth buttonhole, and picked up extra stitches at the armholes, working 40 stitches for each sleeve rather than the suggested 30-something. I wanted the slip-stitch design on the sleeves to match the yoke, so I did three repeats of the slip-stitch design at the end of each sleeve, with two stockinette stitch rows between each set of two slip-stitch rows. I also lengthened the garter stitch edge of each sleeve (P1R, K1R three times), because I like the look of a generous cuff. And, anyone still with me here?, I created a bell sleeve by omitting the sleeve decreases; the pattern calls for decreasing to 36 sts, and then to 32, but I just knit straight. And since garter stitch is wider than stockinette, the garter stitch cuff creates a slight flare. Easy, sweet bell sleeves, with no need to increase!

The only headache I had with this sweater involved adding stitches under the arms: the pattern calls for you to pick up stitches, but what you really want to do is pick up and knit. There is a difference, and if you use the wrong technique, the result is a set of ugly, stretched stitches under the arm. So I had to frog. I ripped out the first sleeve twice, actually, before figuring out the difference.

The pattern being easy, and knit all in one piece (and mostly flat!), I started a second one before the sock-weight red one was even finished (which it now almost is… nothin’ left but button-sewing!). The second one (photo at left), also for my many-sweatered daughter, is thicker and warmer. I used worsted-weight and what I thought were size five needles (because they were marked size five needles!). Well, they’re actually fours,*** so this is a very tightly-knit garment indeed. Aaaand since I never, ever learn my lesson about employing unidentifiable stash wool of limited quantity, I’m going to run out of this sweet, heathery, mulberry-hued wool (of which I cannot procure more) before the project is done. Time to grin and add some stripes, I guess! Actually, joking, I have a different secret plan, which I’ll elucidate later when I’ve started to put it into action.****

Next! I started, and then completely frogged, this cute toddler vest (Ravelry link) that’s going to have three owls on the front. Owl cables took the knitting world by storm last year, for real, and now Ravelry’s got them on gloves, vests, hats, adult-sized sweaters, kids’ raglans, everything you can think of. Owl cables OWL OVER THE PLACE! And I’m certainly not saying I was the first to do it, but my father-in-law does have in his possession a certain winter cap that has warmed his head since the Christmas of 2007. Anyway, this owly vest is technically not on the needles anymore, because I didn’t like the vintage stash yarn I was using and am going to begin anew, but I’m actively looking for a new yarn for it, so it counts as an active project in my book. I’ve been referring to this toddler garment as Vestination Unknown, because I’m not sure who it’s for yet. No, really! I’m serious, it’s not necessarily for Bee! It depends on how large or small this vest turns out, because if it’s not gigantic I’d like to see it on the new baby boy who has recently graced my circle of friends.

The final WIP I’ve got going on is a set of bitty little mittens made of leftover Noro. No photo today, but if you’re a knitter you surely know what Noro looks like, and can extrapolate. And If you’re not a knitter,***** I’ll just explain that Noro is Japanese and beautiful and expensive. So a set of violet-colorway toddler mittens made of it is indulgent indeed! But, as I mentioned, I have a bit remaining from a sock project of yore, and baby mittens are a good use of yarn oddments.

Lest you think I am a 100% quick and amazing and effective lap-nap knitter, here’s an update on the status of a pink sweater from days gone by. Notice the sad bits of yarn clinging to the tote.

Okay! After almost no knitting tawk for months, there’s your FM of K. I enjoyed it very much, and hope that you either a) relished geeking out with me or b) skipped this post altogether (no offense taken).

Fear not, non-knitters: I imagine I’ll soon be back to criticizing the climate and trying to make sense of motherhood.

* It only took me ten months to figure this out. Knitters are generally quite smart; I may be the exception.

** And cute!

*** You can kind of see where I irritably re-labeled the needles with a fine-tipped Sharpie. Take that, disguised number fours! They’re marred now, of course, and I do like my knitting things to be physically beautiful. But come on. Wrong sizing is so not okay.

**** Knitters always have a last-ditch secret plan for when we run out of an unreplenishable yarn.

***** And if you’re not a knitter, you aren’t even reading this.


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