progress, finally

For the past month or so my knitting has felt stalled (I’ve been knitting, just feeling like I’m getting no where; but huh, I have two entire projects that I’ve finished and forgotten about, interesting).  After ripping out one sleeve cuff on my FLS I put it in a “time out” (I just need to let projects sit a bit after the blow of a frogging session) and brought my marigold socks out of hibernation.  Because trip knitting is a very particular type of knitting that needs planning and back-up (while maintaing packing restraint) I also brought along a couple patterns and the yarn for my camping hat (the one I’ve been plotting since probably September 2007).  On the flight out to my parent’s I worked on the third heel of my first marigold sock (what is it with me and heels?) as seen in the previous post where I was so happy to discover that the little cord stopper on my project bag also made a handy hanging implement when paired with a springy seat pocket and got over that awful “I’m doing the heel yet again” hump.  Then I decided to start my camping hat.  Halfway through my trip I ran out of yarn (about 5 rows before the end too) so I switched back to my marigold sock.  I figure I started the leg portion of the sock the last week of May and just knit here and there (in the plane, in the car, while waiting 1  hour for graduation to start and then through most of the 2 hour ceremony).  I eventually got to that point where is just doesn’t feel like the leg is growing in length.  So I brought it camping with me and spent a decent chunk of my Saturday down time just knitting while we sat around the fire pit.

IMG_0482

Eventually I got to the point where I thought maybe the leg was long enough, so I knit two more repeats.  Tonight I measured it against a favorite store-bought sock and it is actually about 2 repeats longer in the leg.  Wooooo.  This means I get to start the cuff and am still on track to complete one pair of socks in a year.

Wednesday  I went to knit night and forced myself to work on the sleeves of my FLS (after winding a skein for swatching and wandering the store just a little).  It is a good thing that I thought to put a marker at the row I started adding to my lace repeats because that too felt like endless knitting with no progress, then suddenly I look down and I’ve knit just over an inch since placing that marker.  Shortly before 10 pm I bound off on the first sleeve for the second time.  This time I am very happy with the sleeve length and now I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Perhaps the June weather will normalize next week and I can wear my sweater to knit night.

June 5, 2009. Tags: , , . Knitting. Leave a comment.

Rip it

And now Salt-n-Pepa’s Push It is in my head…

 finished sweater?  nope

My February Lady Sweater was done, just waiting end-weaving, button sewing and blocking; but the women at knit night agreed with me. The sleeves are too short (plus the cast-off was a little too snug creating a balloon effect).

Sleeves are too short

So last night while we watched Dollhouse (finally getting good, though I fear next week might be its last)  I wove in all the ends except on the sleeve cuffs. And I ripped out one sleeve cuff. *sigh* I was glad that I put in a lifeline on one sleeve right before the garter stitch cuff (this would be the second sleeve, around the time I started doubting the sleeve length myself). It didn’t take much time to put in a second lifeline on the edge of the other cuff, though I suspect I will also be tinking a row or two.

sigh

Like I said, thank goodness for lifelines, as I had no worries about ripping back too far and it won’t take much time at all to get those stitches back on the needles (correct orientation and all). The Ultra Alpaca sort of snagged on itself in a few spots, mostly in the cast-off row, but otherwise it looks fine and I wound the mess into I nice little center pull ball. Sadly I know this also means I will have two extra ends to weave in on each sleeve.

all hail the lifeline

May 2, 2009. Tags: , , , . Knitting. 2 comments.

breaking news

I just cast-off on my February Lady Sweater!  It still has the same issues I mentioned in the previous post, namely sleeve length and bust measurement but I resisted temptation (“well it looks cute cropped” said the be-done-with-it-brain) and kept knitting on the body until the correct point and so I love the length of the body right now.  Technically all three edges have not been tied off (I have safety pins holding the last stitch).  I’m certainly not done though, I still have a number of ends to weave in, and blocking plus the possibility of ripping out the garter edges of the sleeves and adding a couple more lace repeats.

April 18, 2009. Tags: . Knitting. 1 comment.

So close

so close I’m so close to finishing my FLS, I’m not sure why I’m not obsessively knitting.  I think I’ve wound my last skein (with one to spare) of Ultra Alpaca.  Skein #1 got me through the yoke and a couple lace repeats, Skein #2 got me through about 13 lace repeats on the body and Skein #3 plus a wee bit of Skein #4 got me through the sleeves; in the picture to the right, I’m on garter ridge #5 (of 7) when I had to join skein #4.

Right now I’m also banking on the advice that both Ultra Alpaca and the FLS in general will “bloom” and get bigger – the sleeves strike me as a little short each time I try it on, I worry I jumped a few garter ridges on finishing the yoke… but if it stretches and grows the way the collective knitterly brain says it will all should be well. However at the moment the idea of negative ease on a garment that is supposed to be swingy seems counter intuitive (and I’m a believer of negative ease in general). sweater progess Whenever I try to see how it looks in back the yoke seems to be stretched down towards my armpits instead of a nice gently curved line where the lowest point is at my center back  the lowest points (yes, plural) of the yoke are at my armpits while it is shortest at the center back.  It appears that my beautiful buttons may never get buttoned since the yolk needs to stretch, the kind of stretch that says “too small, but wearing it anyway” before the   meet. I think I cast-off at the sleeve cuffs too tightly since they seem to bubble in instead of the graceful slight bell shape seen on the FLS’s pattern photos.  Oh I’m worried, and frustrated that I need to weave ends in and block before I will really know the outcome.

I desperately want to finish this sweater successfully.  And move on to new projects, a summer tank top (or three), a cute vest, a beret for my best friend, fingerless gloves for myself, etc.

April 15, 2009. Tags: . Knitting. Leave a comment.

Progress is slow

After what felt like a lifetime of knitting 3 rows only to rip out 2 of them I finished the end of the second skein of Ultra Alpaca.  I decided to start on the sleeves at this point since I read that the FLS tends to grow in length with the weight of the yarn.  I suspect I will need a few more repeats of the lace pattern before I actually get to start on the garter stitch bottom band.  The sleeveless picture was taken back on February 25.  Now, two weeks later I haven’t even managed to knit half a skein… I’d like to say it was because I was quilting, but I haven’t touched the quilt for over a week.  What have I been doing?  House-hunting, reading, meal-planning, skiing, napping, and dreaming about other knitting projects.  Yup.  I am fighting off a pretty severe case of startitis.

I’m trying to convince myself not to start any new projects until I get this sweater done.  At first I thought I needed a nice no-brain knit, but with the shorter rounds that only require thought on rounds 1 and 3 that isn’t really true.  And I really really want to finish this sweater.  And yes, that is the quilt below it.  I spray and pin basted it together last week and it has been siting on the futon in the office/craft room all week.  I just need to get up the nerve to start the quilting.  If I can find my 16″ US 5 needle I might let myself re-start TheHusband’s camping hat now that I’ve frogged the original, skeined it, washed the yarn to remove the kinks and re-wound it.  Or I could start the beret I promised my best friend back in November (I bought the yarn).  Or I could figure out the correct sizing for my Marigold Sock and reknit the heel so I can maintain my yearly sock completion.

What would I rather be doing?  Sewing my Anna tunic– the fabric is washed and waiting to be ironed.  Following the quilt-along that Oh Franson is doing. Knitting the Pleated Vest pattern I bought last fall (still need to buy yarn for it though), or knitting Emerald Seas from some stash yarn.  Or knitting a French Market Bag so I can finally try felting (would also need to buy yarn for that).  Or starting the Aunties Afghan pattern I bought a couple years ago for one of the many babies that are expected to join our friends and family this year.  Or crocheting the Tiramisu blanket (of course I don’t have yarn for either of these blankets either).  Hopefully just getting all of that out there will cure my startitis and so far I’m staying strong.

March 13, 2009. Tags: , . Knitting. 1 comment.

Knitter’s block

I think it has been two weeks since I worked on my FLS.  Once I got over the eyelet stump the mess of splitty yarn markers made me crazy and I started a hunt for my favorite stitch markers, little itty bitty (maybe 3/8″ diameter) rubber hair bands.  But I couldn’t find them at Target (only in transparent colors which is pointless for stitch markers IMO), or any other store I thought would carry them (various drugstores and grocery stores with hair-care aisles).  Finally I decided to try my hand at making stitch markers, I went to the craft store one evening and picked up a nice big bag of 9 mm jump rings and then noticed larger seed beads on sale so I grabbed two colors.  I vaguely recalled seeing an etsy ad for stitch markers that looked like this and though I’d try making some (I’m sorry dear Etsy seller, I needed 34 markers and just couldn’t wait).  With the aid of my Bead Simple book to explain how to neatly work with jump rings (and the various jewelry pliers) I think the project was a success.  At least the markers look prettier on my WIP.
FLS with icky stitch markers    before and after Stitch Markers

Of course I don’t know how they work since I still haven’t knit anything on the FLS for two weeks.  Sigh.  At least I got a couple afghan ‘squares’ done for a charity project.  And a little bit of work done on a gift that I can’t blog about yet (the gift that won’t end until I pick it up and work on it again).

Update: Now that it is January I have finally uploaded the photos of the stitch markers.  I barely touched the FLS the entire month of December, instead I worked on a few presents for others.  And then I only worked on it for about a week before setting it down to knit a birthday gift for my grandmother.

November 26, 2008. Tags: . Knitting. Leave a comment.

Evenly spaced eyelets

The directions “space X yarnovers evenly between Y stitches” can be hair pulling.  There is at least one online calculator to help you with this.  But I really wanted to know the formula behind it.  The closest that I could get was something with 4 variables. Sigh.  The math behind knitting isn’t actually very scary – it is all addition, subtraction, multiplication and division as far as I can tell.  But sometimes your unknowns (variables in math-speak) aren’t where you might expect them to be.

So I’ve been scribbling numbers and little math equations for the past couple days, I’ve covered most of 3 notebook pages and played with a number of permutation on excel before the most obvious answer in the world occured to me.

See I have 34 eyelets to space evenly between 211 stitches to end with a total of 245 stitches.  The end number must be divisible by 7 so that I am ready to start the lace (a repeat of 7 stitches). [k6, yo] 35 times would work great – if I wanted 35 YOs and had 210 stitches to deal with – but I don’t.

[k6, yo] 34 times, k7 does work (6×34+34+7=245 and 6×34+7=211) – but where to place those 7 stitches so they are evenly distributed among my 34 groupings?  And so I determined that I needed 27 groups of [k6, yo] and 7 groups of [k7, yo].  And I started playing with excel.  And then I realized that I would end my row with a YO – this is a big no-no in knitting.  Of course I actually I have a border of 8 stitches on either side of my 211 stitches so that would contain it – but it would look funny to end with a YO right next to my border when on the other side of the buttonband it is 6 stitches away.  It occurs to me that if I switch the second half of groupings to a [yo, k6] that would be more symmetrical – but then I have a place in the middle back where two yarnovers meet and that is no good (they’d become one big yarnover and I’d be out off one stitch in the final count).  

So I start figuring out how I can get a nice number of stitches between the middle two yarnovers.  And I start playing with groups of 4, 5, 6 and 7 stitches between yarnovers.  And I played some more and some more.  1 1/2 hours later I have a eureka!

[k6, yo] 17xs, k7, [yo, k6] 17xs.  This gives me 34 yarnovers between 211 stitches and almost every single spacing between yarnovers is exactly the same count – except the back middle and that isn’t off by much.  OMG!  How did I managed to be so clueless for the last oh hour and half that I’ve been scribbling numbers and adding and dividing and multiplying.

Symmetry to the rescue.

I’m guessing most of what I wrote above is still hard to follow if you are scared of math in knitting.  Also, sometimes, as great as math can be – a visual representation sometimes works better.  On Ravelry I heard of someone using spare change to do this.  Pennies represented the stitches she had on the needles and dimes represented the stitches she needed to add.  She just placed them in a long line and started playing with them – aiming for whatever looked even visually.  For me I use excel boxes.  And then I copy them and try various permutations.  I also used the sum function to make sure my numbers were adding up correctly.

November 11, 2008. Tags: , . Knitting, Problems, Solutions. Leave a comment.

Swatching Ultra Alpaca

While I save all my swatches I have a bad habit of losing the pieces of paper with pertinent info (you know, needle size, etc) so I’ve decided I need to record it somewhere, somewhere that I can’t lose.  Though this trick of tying knots (number of knots= US needle size) in the tail works nicely to help remember needle size.

swatching-ultra-alpacaI don’t really like to swatch and so often I pick small projects where fit isn’t essential, but when I decide to swatch I go all out.  I’ve used an entire ball of yarn to swatch (and then it occured to me that I actually did 1/4 of the lace portion for an entire tank top).  Knitters have looked at me and said, “you do realize you could have knit the thing by now right?”.  But I do worry about fit a lot and now I am swatching for my first sweater for me.  Originally my first adult sweater was going to be the Something Red pattern, but the idea of all that stockinette and ribbing isn’t so appealing at the moment, plus my yarn choice wasn’t feeling love for the pattern.  And so I decided to make the February Lady Sweater.  Except I’m still having swatching issues that will result in the sweater being modified for my swatch.  That is okay.  (The boring stuff is after the jump).

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October 15, 2008. Tags: , . Knitting. Leave a comment.