Whipstitchin’ with a Kitty

Though I have so very many other things I should be doing, I spent some time last night knitting up the back of my Summertime Tunic. I got to the turning row, admired the way it folded itself down so neatly, and finished the knitting, only to wonder “now what?”

It was with some trepidation that I tried to sort out this whole “whipstitch the live stitches” situation, but I made a few trips around the internet and came up with some good advice, along with a clue of how to do it.

One post suggested moving the live stitches onto waste yarn to facilitate sewing. I used a spare circular needle. Another explained that you simply cut a long length of yarn to do the whipstitching. Check. I made mine at least twice as long as I needed it, since, well, I’m pretty neurotic.

At this point Smokey hopped into my lap, evidently thinking I was in need of assistance.

I slipped the stitches from the circular needle onto my tapestry needle, pulled a mile of yarn through the stitch, then kind of tacked that through the back of a stitch below.

Smokey thought we were terribly clever.

I worried that it would slant left or right, so I took great pains to pull the facing straight, and I think it came out mostly alright. On hindsight, it might have behooved me to pin it in place.

Smokey had wandered off, but he came back when I had about five stitches left to sew down (he’s clearly dedicated to the cause here). He helped inspect the inside of my facing, and we agreed it was not perfect, but it was tolerable.

(I like to think if he were an LOLcat, the photo on the right would be captioned “Dis knittings good!” or “I like dis!” or similar.)

He snuggled up with the backside, I gather by way of approval.

I could see some problems on the front side, but nothing terrible. In fact by the time it’s all gathered on the ribbon, I think this method of attachment really will be virtually invisible.

My buddy’s all, “We did well.”

Now I am feeling a lot more comfortable about going on to the front, and I’m happy this tunic will be done fairly soon!

Finishing, ugh

When my boyfriend saw me photographing my shrug yesterday, he gently reminded me that Baby Gabriel was born quite some time ago, to the point where his father is almost done with his paternity leave.

I thought it would not be so bad to finish the sweater of the Cabled Baby Set, but it turns out I am genuinely awful at finishing. Like really, embarrassingly terrible.

Enjoy some more disastrous seams, from the inside.

I thought I was so clever the first time I picked up the stitches for the neckline on the sweater. I used DPNs so that I could knit it all in the round and not have to worry about another bulky seam (having done a number on the preceding shoulder seam). I kept saying to myself “it’s just like socks…”

I did all my ribbing, omitted a turning row, and cast off, only to find that it did not stretch at all. I had cast off way too tightly and I couldn’t get the neck to stay folded down no matter what I did. It’s a pity, because I thought it didn’t really look so bad done in this way, but the baby’s head definitely wouldn’t fit through it comfortably.

Humbled, and more than a bit annoyed, I hastily ripped it all out before figuring out that I could have just tinked back the cast-off row. I followed the instructions this time, knitting it flat, which did go a lot faster. I put the turning row back in, and I knit nice and loosely. I searched around online and came up with the seemingly obvious solution to cast off using a larger needle. I was knitting on size 6’s and actually cast off loosely on a size 10, in pattern, but I still thought it might have been a little stretchier.

The picked-up stitches looked a little nicer this time too.

I then started on what would become literally hours of attempted seaming, and man, it’s a mess. No matter how many videos or tutorials I went through on mattress stitch, I just couldn’t get it right. As I tried to set the sleeve in, I realized that it ends nearly two inches higher than it’s supposed to on the body, which will be incredibly uncomfortable for the baby unless he goes around with his arms raised.

The seam itself is rather alarmingly tight as well, and I’m beginning to suspect some kind of massive gauge issue. No matter how much I stretch the other arm, I can’t get it to come 4 inches down on the body, let alone 3.

So it is official. I hate this project, and I think it looks awful. I dread taking out all the seaming on this arm or knitting a new arm or something to make it less tight, and to be perfectly honest, I already started searching for something seamless that I could knit to complete this set instead.

My boyfriend said it’s too bad because the body and neck look okay. He joked that I could make a turtlenecked vest or muscle tee out of it instead. The baby does live in Brooklyn and his parents are pretty stylish, so he could perhaps pull it off… but I know this is ridiculous.

Also, doesn’t it look like a hot water bottle cover?

If I don’t abandon it entirely, I will have a lot of fussing to do with this sweater, and I’m really not looking forward to it. Bleh.

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.