My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Archives for October 2008

A Hodge-Podge of Mostly Unrelated Stuff

I’ve made a nice start on the first sleeve for my sweater.

As you may recall, the sweater has three-quarter length sleeves, but I am making mine wrist-length. The pattern directs you to knit for 10.5 inches before the sleeve cap shaping, but I’m doing . . . oh . . . 17 inches, I guess.

I spent some time knitting this sleeve last night while watching Season One of “The Tudors” on DVD. I’m really enjoying this series, though I do think they are taking some liberties with historical fact. For example, Henry VIII marrying off his sister, Margaret Tudor, to the King of Portugal. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t find any basis in history for that. Does anyone know?

Be that as it may, the scenes showing Margaret Tudor “interacting” with the King of Portugal had me just roaring with laughter.

**Change of topic alert!**

I started reading a new book at lunch: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

I read and knit while I eat lunch at work every day, so I’m always acquiring books to feed my habit. I have a stack of unread books at home and pluck one off the stack to take in to the office when I’m nearing the end of the current read. The Thirteenth Tale had reached the top of the rotation, so it came to work with me and I opened it for the first time at noon.

You know how some books really take some getting into before your interest is caught? And there are some that never hook you. Not this one. It hooked me in the first chapter.

After finishing the first chapter, I hopped over to Amazon to read the reviews. There are over 500 of them, and the average is 4.5 stars. But as is my wont, I went to the poorest reviews, the one-stars, first. Some said they found the first couple of chapters engrossing, and it went downhill fast from there. Some said it was the worst drech in the history of the world. One said that calling it a “beach read” was an insult to beach reads. One said that the mere reading of it would give you leprosy.

So now I have to read on. 😉

Meanwhile on the home front . . .

Lucy is spending more and more time curled up in my lap since I will insist on having the windows open and a fan blowing. She does have her Cozy Cushions, but seems to prefer Mommy-warmth, even though I am the heartless bitch who will not turn on the heat. So . . . how long do you think I can hold out before turning on the heat?

Gotta go now. I need to hunker down on the couch with Miss Lucy to watch classic horror movies on TCM!

Lucy sez.


Happy Hump Day

We made it to Wednesday, kids! 😀

Busy busy busy day today. Heck, it has been a busy busy busy week. But I have managed to finish the body of the sweater.

I plan to join the shoulders, knit the neckband, and then knit the front bands before I finish the sleeves. I like to get that finishing stuff out of the way before the sleeves are done, because when I complete the sleeves, I really like being able to just attach them to the body as the last step. Then the sweater is good to go.

(The truth is that I do have the first sleeve started — it’s been my commuter knitting this week.)

Speaking of sleeves, they are constructed like one would “normally” construct sleeves. Knit flat from the bottom up, the sleeve cap is shaped by a series of bind-offs. Nothing fancy like short rows. I’ll likelt mattress-stitch the sleeve into the armhole. I don’t like to backstitch heavier yarns like this because I can never do it as neatly as I’d like.

Oh, I’ve got the buttons for this sweater — wanna see?

And I’ve got the beads for my next project — the beaded shawl I was yapping about last week. Wanna see?

Sorry for the not-so-great photo — it’s dark and gloomy so I had to use the flash.

All the beads I ordered came in the mail yesterday (I ordered 5 different possibilities). These beads jumped out as the right ones. I showed all the choices to an artistic friend today, and she picked these as well. So I’m really looking forward to getting started on the shawl. But I won’t until I finish my current project.

Thanks to all of you who offered your opinion on the knitting as entertainment topic yesterday. As always, I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

Lucy sez:

“Not only has she still not turned on the heat, she has the windows open again.”

Questions! And Answers!

There were a lot of questions in the comments to yesterday’s post. so I will attempt to answer some of them today.

PICAdrienne asked, about the color of the yarn I am using:

On my monitor the color in some pictures is turquoise, and in others more of a teal. Which do you think is a better description of the color?

I’d say it is more of a turquoise. Getting good pictures is difficult these days because it is often dark when I get home (like it was yesterday due to rain and today due to clouds and gloom) so I sometimes have to take flash photos.

Penny asked:

I’m wondering what factors come into consideration in converting the pattern from circular to flat?

I’m thinking this sweater would be pretty easy to convert from circular into flat. You can just divide the total stitches by half for the bottom portion. Because you divide and knit separately once you get to the armholes, that part is a snap.

Re asked:

Is there a benefit to steam blocking as opposed to wet blocking?

Well, for one thing, it’s a lot faster and easier. Also, when you want to block just one part of the garment, steam blocking is very useful! I tend to do minimal blocking on my sweaters, so I usually just go over the pieces lightly with the steam iron.

Penny T commented:

Could you please identify those stitch holders and where they came from? They look much more elegant than the yarn scraps I use!

Those are double-ended stitch holders made by Clover, and very handy they are too!

annh asked:

What are your thoughts on Rowan Wool/Cotton? I used it once for a cursed sweater (another story for another time); liked knitting with it but it seemed to stretch.

I have knit with it once and liked it very much. There was stretching for me while I was knitting with it. I have yet to wear the sweater knit from it, so can’t comment on stretching there. I think I have another sweater’s worth in the stash. 🙂

Daniele commented (on my thoughts about making another sweater based on this design):

Will you use a different lace pattern for that one?

Absolutely! While I like the lace pattern for this sweater very much, I would use something completely different for another sweater so it wouldn’t look too much like this one. I’ve got some ideas swimming around in my head . . .

Several of you asked me to expound on how I translated the “stair step” decreases on the shoulder into short rows. Here’s what I did:

What the pattern said (more or less):

(Over a total of 17 stitches) at the armhole edge, bind off 9 stitches once, then 8 stitches once.

What I did:

Starting at the armhole edge, knit across all 17 stitches. Turn your work. Purl 8 stitches, and wrap the next stitch. Turn, and slip the wrapped stitch unworked back to the right needle, knit across the remaining 8 stitches.

Purl one more row all the way across, picking up each wrap and purling it together with the stitch it wrapped. This step is even more important if you have a shoulder that has several “steps” — it creates the nice smooth slanted line you want before you do your bind-off.

Then I work the 3-needle bind-off.

There you go.

Here’s some food for thought:

Michele commented:

It’s not my intention to insult or criticize. Your sweater, like everything else you make, is a work of art….but….do you ever think “this cotton sweater cost $X? So I better wear it every day for the rest of my life, and then get buried in it, to get my money’s worth?”

Okay, I found this to be a thought-provoking comment. I don’t think in those terms, because I think of knitting as an entertainment. Most of the time, I make a knitted garment for the joy of knitting, not for the resulting finished product. I don’t take expensive vacations or spend much money on other hobbies, so a good portion of my entertainment budget goes towards knitting.

What do you all think? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic.

And one last thing . . .

Renee sent me an email recently, explaining that she is an undergraduate student, conducting a Sociology survey. Her research is about life course events and the impact they have on the ways knitters feel about their knitting and leisure time.

She is looking for knitters to take her survey. Here’s the link.

The estimated completion time is 20 minutes, but I took it in less than that. If you have a few minutes, please help Renee out. Thank you!

Lucy sez:

“Not only has Momma not turned on the heat, but she has the windows open. For Pete’s sake!”

I’ve Got Back!

My sweater now has a completed back.

To shape the shoulders, the pattern directs you to bind off x number of stitches at each armhole edge once, then x number of stitches at each armhole edge once. (I’m using x here because I can’t recall the exact number and I don’t feel like getting up to look at the pattern.) This gives you a slightly slanted shoulder seam edge. Rather than do the bind-offs, I did short rows and then put the live stitches on a holder. This way, I can do a three-needle bind-off to attach the fronts and back at the shoulder seams.

Work is now being done on the left side front. I’ll be glad when the body is done because it is awkward flipping the whole thing back and forth as I knit.

It has crossed my mind that if I like this sweater, I could winkle up a design for a similar one. I happen to have 20 more skeins of All Seasons Cotton in another color (a pale lavender, I think) that I bought at the same time I bought the yarn I’m knitting with now. If I do make up a sweater based on this one, I’ll do it in pieces and seam it. I do like having side seams in my sweaters because I think the added structure makes them hang better.

There was a question in the comments from Julie about how much yarn this will use. In the yarn the pattern calls for, the largest size (which I am making) takes 1536 yards. (Note that I do remember this number without looking at the pattern yet I can’t remember how many stitches you bind off each time for the shoulders.) I am using Rowan All Seasons Cotton which has approximately. 98 yards per skein. so I should need 16 skeins to complete the sweater. I have 20 skeins.

But . . . I want to make the sleeves wrist-length rather than three-quarter length, so I will likely use up most if not all of the 20 skeins.

Another question in the comments, from Patti, who asked:

I have a question about blocking… the  lace portion obviously will block out beautifully, but normally ribbing is not blocked, at least in my knitting experience, ribbing is suppose to “pull in” not block out.  How do you plan to deal with the blocking of this beauty?

I plan to steam-block the lace portion with my trusty steam iron and keep it away from the ribbed portion. For sweaters I almost never wet-block anyway.

Lucy has clearly had a rough day today, because this is what she currently looks like:

Progress — Woohoo!

My knitting mojo seems to have found its way back home, because I’ve made some good progress on the Rib and Lace Cardigan.

I completed the lace portion and am working on the ribbed portion. I’m past the point where you divide for front and back, and am working on the back armhole decreases right now. The fronts are waiting their turn on a spare needle.

Design Contest

Are you a knit designer wannabe? Go check out the Design Contest at Knitting Purls. The contest is for designing winter caps. Very timely, and it looks like fun!

Birthday Weekend!

Yesterday was the KOARC’s birthday, and today is Blogless L-B’s birthday. Happy birthday to you both!

As you can see, Lucy is pretty much all partied out.