Finished Object wrap-up and a tip

First the tip. When you knit a square from one corner to the opposite (such as a blanket knit on the bias or a shawl from the center out) at first it feels like you are making great progress. But then your rows get longer and progress looks slower.  Also, you find yourself counting stitches a lot (and my brain whines, “can I decrease yet?”). To make counting stitches easier I marked my stitches off in groups of 10. But wait, you can’t just pop a stitch marker on the end of the row every so often.  Except you can if you count from the center out. I marked the center stitch (actually I marked the center chunk that was less than 10 stitches, so I never had to count that “ones-digit” again) and then mark every 10 stitches from that center chunk.  Maybe a picture will make more sense.

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The two center green markers surround my center 9 stitches. Then alternating stitch marker colors, I marked off every 10 stitches – this actually allowed me to count by 20s since I’d just count markers on one side of the center (29, 49, 69, and so on). And I just kept knitting, then when it looked like I had more than 10 stitches I’d pop another marker on (if your markers don’t open just remember to slip it on once that 10th stitch is on the needle). Easy stitch counting and progress becomes much more visible since it is easier to eyeball another 10 stitches between stitch marker and needle tip than notice the overall increase in length, especially when the work is piled in your lap.

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This spring and early summer I focused on knitting a baby blanket for a couple expecting their first child.  As I often do when knitting gifts, the pattern and yarn were picked because I liked them, wanted to work with them and they met the constraints of my recipients (since this was a surprise they had less input on those constraints but I still thought about what they might like).  I wanted to make Jared Flood’s Tweed Baby Blanket – but I knew it had to be made from a machine washable yarn.  Enter Berroco Vintage which has a great price, felt decent in the skein and came in the colors I was hoping to use (Berroco has some great colors).

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Pattern: Tweed Baby Blanket by Jared Flood (Rav link)
Yarn: 3.6 skeins of brown Berroco Vintage (worsted) and 1.5 skeins of green Berroco Vintage (worsted)
Needles: US 9 and US 10
Time to knit: 2 months (though 3 weeks was spent ignoring the 3 stitches that had to be grafted)
Finished size: IIRC 38″ (per pattern; but I can’t find my notes to be certain of my final measurements, so give or take 2″)
Mod: knit to gauge but gauge was measued after a run through the washer and dryer and not “blocked as for lace” – the blanket is nicely squishy and the feather and fan border not excessively lacy. This also nearly eliminated the scallop where center garter stitch square and border met, a sad but necessary compromise (you can still see it on the “wrong” side).

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October 8, 2010. Tags: , , , . Knitting. 2 comments.

Finished Object: Gilmore Vest

I finished my Gilmore Vest on March 7, a week late.  Oh well.  My friends at knit night encouraged me to finish despite my trepidation regarding fit.  And really I was so close, just one armhole ribbing away from being done.  Blocking certainly helped too.  I chose to wet-block this because I will be washing it occasionally.  Pre-block it was too short and kind of lumpy in the wrong spots.  Post block (and some gentle tugging for length) it looks much better.  I’m amazed and happy with how much more drape fabric got post-blocking.  I wore the vest last Sunday, both because I was hoping for some finished photos of it being worn and because it provided just enough warmth on a cool spring day.  Goooooo! Woooool!

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Lumpy and Bumpy versus Smooth and almost drapey

Pattern: Gilmore Vest, Rav link if you prefer
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool in Peacock, just over 2 skeins
Needles: US 6 for st st gauge of 4.4 sts/inch (approx 6.2 rows/inch), US 5 for hemline ribbing, US 4 for neck and armhole ribbing – note the gauge measurements are pre-blocking
Knit: flat in two pieces, then seamed per pattern instructions

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Do you notice the difference in length pre & post block? It is maybe an inch but I notice it (you can’t see my belt loops or pockets in the post-block, outdoor photo).

My mods

  • Hemline ribbing done for 3.25 inches  (instead of 4.5 inches)
  • Waist shaping added (or subtracted depending on your point of view) – reduced the stitch count by 4 inches then increased it again by about 3 1/2″ – I could have gone a bit narrower at the shoulders.
  • Armhole shaping started 13 inches from hemline – reduced 10 sts on either side over… um 12 rows (bound off 5 then decreased 5 over, um 10 rows?)
  • Worked straight until 18″ then started the neckline shaping
  • Evaluated the back piece to determine where and how often the shaping would occur on the front.  Decided to start the v-neckline around the smallest part of my waist (so about 7″ in) and  the decreases ended up being a mix of every 6 rows and every 8 rows.  I was slightly off in my calculations but once I had 10 stitches remaining I worked flat until I got to the proper length.
  • 3 needle bind-off for the shoulders
  • Picked up stitches for the neckline ribbing (3 sts for every 4 rows as suggested by my Finishing Book plus one extra to match my rib pattern).  This turned out to be either 180 or 182 stitches.  I worked 11 rows plus the bind-off row (for ribbing that is about 2 inches thick per the pattern).  Then I carefully whip-stitched the ribbing edges down at the bottom of the V.
  • Mattress stitched the side seams and then followed the same ribbing logic for the armholes.

What I’d do differently:  Just find a DK weight yarn for this pattern.  I think it looks a little bulky on me and while I’m not waiflike, I’m not really thick either.  I think I could have used a bit more ease near the hips or maybe a bit less at the top.  I’m not really sure.  Knit that extra inch in length, I think the hemline ribbing hits at a bad spot.   I’d also start the armhole a little sooner.  The armhole does trouble me because I still feel like the straps were almost too long but the armhole itself sits too high and seems just a bit snug.  I need to experiment with fit more to find the correct solution for that.  I’m really  happy that I picked up the stitches and really really happy that I took the time to figure out how to do a tubular cast-off (even though I could use more practice at it).

March 18, 2010. Tags: , . Knitting. 4 comments.