The Beauty of Monogamy

I used to keep all of my yarn displayed on this white bookcase which you could see from almost everywhere in the main room of our apartment. The other day, on a whim, I packed it all up into boxes and put it away.

See, I don’t “stash.” I don’t ever buy yarn if it’s not intended for a specific project, but I do tend to buy a lot of yarn. Having all that yarn around is a physical to-do list of all the projects I haven’t gotten to yet, and I was getting kind of anxious.

I moved my knitting basket to a shelf above my desk, and it has exactly two projects on which I am currently working: the Summertime Tunic and the Baby Sweater (no longer cursed).

And look! Progress!

I finished one sleeve and am nearly done with the second. I’m no longer worried about the sizing either, as a friend showed me his 19-month-old son’s shirt and this is still bigger. This sweater is SO close – I just have to weave in ends, block it, and buy and sew on buttons!

I still haven’t decided what to do about the sleeve situation, though I’m considering some embroidery, probably in duplicate stitch. I was thinking about an old-school collegiate-style “G” though I’m not sure how that would look. I also thought about something more esoteric, a leafless tree or a bird or deer in silhouette or similar hipster-approved design element. I will have to sketch some and see if I come up with something good.

Oh right, this is a knitting blog

Believe it or not, I have been knitting, though it seems I don’t have much to show for it.

I’ve made it past the ribbing on my Summertime Tunic, finally, and am now onto what many have lovingly described as “miles of stockinette.” It’s true that this is a good activity while reading or watching TV, but I do get a little tired of it.

The ribbing looks different from most 1×1 ribbing I’ve done, and I suspect this is to do with knitting in the round. It looks better when stretched, so I’m not worried.

As for the baby sweater (see how the “baby set” has been temporarily downgraded?), I regret to say that no progress has been made.

This is what I was greeted with when I attempted to extract it from my knitting pile. That is parts of the top-down raglan mingled with a very sad, frustrating attempt to unravel the first sweater I knit with this yarn (also, the nicely-matched button thread I found back in May).

Upon dissection, it reveals two separate entities: yarn spaghetti and the sweater. The yarn spaghetti took an inordinate amount of time and blue language, and as it turns out the yarn is all frazzled and strangely textured anyway. I’m not sure I’d want to knit with it again, as I can’t imagine it having adequate stitch definition or a nice appearance.

The sweater itself suffers a major problem. Can you see where I picked the stitches back up for the sleeve? Not a pretty join.

I thought that maybe I could cover that with some embroidery, but I realize the underarm is a disaster as well. It’s possible to rectify it somewhat from the inside, but I worry that I won’t have enough yarn to finish this and the second sleeve anyway.

Mostly, since I will probably have to buy still more yarn for this project anyway, I’m tempted to knit a blanket instead, even though its intended recipient is well past the swaddling stage. Toddlers use blankets, right? An additional concern is that if I don’t get this sweater to them almost immediately, baby Gabriel will never have a chance to wear it before he outgrows it – it may be too small already.

So, quite a pickle, and not one that I’m looking forward to sorting out. Add to this the fact that I can’t find my fifth DPN, and this is one aggravated knitter.

This sweater is cursed

I’ve been knitting merrily along on the top-down seamless raglan baby sweater, and I just finished my 76th row, split for the arm holes, joined the body, and knit another four rows down.

I started wondering, though… why doesn’t my sweater look like the example? I scoured the pattern for where my math went wrong, and I counted the purl ridges to see it had about half as many rows before the arm split as mine did. Still I really couldn’t figure out where I went wrong.

I reread the pattern over several more times, checking my stitch counts, the number of stitches increased per section, and everything.

Finally, I figured it out. This is what I was doing:

  • Knit row with increases – 8 stitches increased
  • Purl
  • Knit straight across
  • Purl

This is what I should have been doing:

  • Knit row with increases – 8 stitches increased
  • Purl
  • Knit, increasing again – 8 more stitches increased
  • Purl

Which means I knit twice as much as I was supposed to, got a weird misshapen shoulder (err, baby capelet?), and will now have to rip it all back.

Sigh. Third time’s a charm, right?

I can’t believe I did something so dumb.

The good news is the father saw the sweater in progress today and said it was beautiful. He was really amazed by the evenness of the stitches and the softness of the fabric. I also learned that his wife just started knitting – another new knitter in the community!

(Let’s hope for her sanity that she doesn’t make mistakes like these.)

So Much Better

Despite all the other things in my life that I really ought to be doing, I couldn’t get over the disappointment of that stinking baby sweater. I was walking around possessed with frustration. I debated giving up knitting entirely and selling my stash on e-bay, as well as setting a small controlled fire in my bathtub.

I regained my sanity, however, and made a few more rounds on the internet, where I came up with the perfect solution:

So much more my speed.

This is a top down seamless raglan sweater designed by Carole Barenys, from Knitting on the Net. Omitting the purl ridges, it is exactly what I wanted.

Arbitrarily, I decided that Caron Simply Soft isn’t really worsted weight. I still didn’t do a gauge swatch (truly, I never will learn), but I used size 5 straights for the ribbing and a size 6 circular for the stockinette. I think it suits the yarn far better than any other combination I’ve tried. These are larger sizes than the pattern calls for, but the pattern makes a 6-month size sweater, so I’m okay with mine being larger.

The sweater seems to grow proportionately, so I don’t have to worry that it will get wonky the way it might if I did it to measurements. And if it turns out to be greatly over-sized, well, it will just fit the baby longer.

I’m enjoying knitting this so much more, and the knowledge that I won’t have to grapple with awful seaming is making me downright tranquil. I have to think that in some way the positive energy I am now putting into it will make it to baby Gabriel. I also get to pick out sweet little buttons, which I’ve never done before. It’s perhaps strange how exciting that detail has become.

At this point, I’ve done 32 rounds. I’m meant to continue increasing until there are 42 stitches on the sleeves. I did a little math to see what I may anticipate, and it goes something like this:

42 stitches desired – 8 initial stitches = 34 stitches to increase
34 increased stitches / 2 increases per round = 17 increase rounds
17 increase rounds * 4 rows per increase section = 68 increasing rows
68 increasing rows + 8 rows of ribbing = 76 rows to complete increases

If I am correct in this, then I am about 40% done with the increasing section. Not bad.

Now I just have to deal with finding time to knit while squeezing in the rest of my schoolwork and massive end-of-semester franticness.

Good thing Iggy is nearby, cuddling a sweater for inspiration.

Slightly Better Colors & Imminent Frogging

This storm has made sufficient lighting near impossible this weekend, but I think I’ve managed to get a little closer to the colors of my Lippitt halter and Cable-Down Raglan yarns.

Spruce and cream, nice.

As for the Cable-Down Raglan, I think that a frogging is imminent. I knit the first few rows and made a mess of the increases.

I read that some of the errata deal with the increases, so it will probably be sorted out then. It’s kind of a shame because I rather like the way the knitting looks when it’s done right.

I am still a bit confused about the way the increases are worked on the sleeves, though. (As with all my photos, click to enlarge).

The pattern has the increases done just before the diamond chart begins. This makes sense on the left sleeve, as it makes room for the X-shaped cables which are more toward the sweater front on that side.

However, the right sleeve is starting to baffle me, and I’m not sure how the increases could be done in that place without skewing the design and making the sleeves asymmetrical. Am I thinking too much about this?

I feel like maybe it should be more like this:

Of course, I am no knitwear designer, and I’m still mystified by how it says 8 stitches are increased when I count 9.

I look forward to figuring this all out.