Saturday, September 6, 2008

Adventures in Knitting

My camera is not at home.  Today, it's been borrowed again to go to some dumb football game in South Bend, Indiana.  There was much talk about "Fighting Irish" and "game of my lifetime."  I don't really get this, I mean there are perfectly good football games right here in Michigan.  There was one just last night at the high school right across the street from our house (the band sounded a bit better at 8PM than they sounded at 8 AM for the past month.)  Being that I'm not a complete hardass in the electronics war- I relented and my camera went on vacation.  It left the house a few hours ago.  I hope my camera has a good time.  Too bad for you, I didn't download my pictures so you'll have to use your imagination here for my adventures in knitting.

Moving right along in the greater scheme of a knitter's life, I've completed Flow.  It's beautiful and ever so slightly out of season. That's OK though, it'll be great resort wear in February. The drape of this yarn, a linen blend, is very flattering.  I'm so happy I decided to make it a bit longer so that it falls to my hips.  I can't imagine it shorter as the pattern called for.  If you make Flow, add about an inch and a half before beginning your decreases-unless you're a twig and don't mind a peak a boo belly.

I'm working on my Clapotis now-today is the day I'll finally get to drop some of those stitches.  The yarn is beautifully soft and the pattern so far, is fun.  For the life of me, I don't know why they no longer make this yarn.  I can think of plenty of projects I could make from this.  It must not have been a big seller.  If you've never tried Sisik, you should.  If you're determined, once in a while, you can find it for sale on ebay.  I'm pretty sure what you'll get is either from a yarn store trying to unload it or from a knitter trying to destash.  I still have enough in my own stash to make a sweater after I'm done with this.  I've just the project in mind-a top down turtle neck from Pure and Simple.

I've started to swatch for the sweater election winner, Textured Tunic.  Size 8 needles were a no go-too many stitches to the inch.  So were the size 9 needles.  I've settled on Addi Turbos US size 10.  At least, prior to washing my swatch, that's the needle size that is giving me the gauge closest to 13 stitches to 4 inches that looks nice with my yarn.  I'll have to use a bit of math to make the rest of it work.  I might try to swatch with a 10.5 needle.  Size 11 was spot on but didn't look very nice, kind of sloppy.  I don't know if anyone else here swatches for a sweater, but I've learned the very hard way that it can be a complete waste of time and money if you don't.  Do you swatch?  Do you bind off your swatch and wash and dry prior to your final measurement?  I'd have nightmares about the outcome if I didn't swatch. 

My trick to the swatch is to start with the needle size recommended on the yarn ball band and knit a couple of inches in, usually, stockinette.  I then purl a row to separate one measurement from another and go up or down a size in needles (too many stitches to the inch, go up a size- too few, go down.)  Knit a couple of more inches and repeat until I think I've struck gauge paydirt.  Then, I do a bit of the pattern stitch to see how that will look.  In my swatch, I started with US size 8 and went on to 9, 10 and 11.  The pattern has that bust detail area that is box stitch, so I tried that.  I may go down a needle size when I do this area on the sweater, I think it's too loose looking.  I dunno.  I'll think on it.

The yarn my daughter has selected for her Textured Tunic is Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed, a blend of 85% wool and 15% angora.  The color (360011) is  variegated and the most similar to the wool used in the original pattern.  It's green.  The yarn store told me it's superwash wool which means you can wash it in the machine without ill effect.  I don't know about you, but I think this is a bad way to treat wool.  First, I don't dry clean.  You wouldn't dry clean a sheep, would you?  You wouldn't machine wash one either.  I think it's best to hand wash my knits then block them back into shape.  I know it's a pain in the  ass, but yarn isn't exactly cheap.  Neither is my time and it takes a bit of this to knit a sweater.  I think spending a little time on care of woolen items leads to less heartache all the way around.  They'll smell better without dry cleaners gunk on them too.

Tomorrow, I'll be taking a bit of a break.  My sister has written a lovely tribute to our mother and she'll be guest posting.  Thanks Mares.


Brenda said...

Love your new picture of you as a young girl! Tooo cute!!! I will be posting a little bit about knitting on my blog...may get it done by tomorrow or tonight. I need to come back here when I am more familiar with knitting terminology, so I better understand what you are talking about. I did rent a DVD from the library, and realize I am way behind the times when it comes to about 25 years, since that is when I last knitted. So many Beautiful yarns and magazines, and books!!!!

Rudee said...

Let's see if I can do my math: I stopped knitting when I was about 20 and picked it back up when I was 45 or 46. It was like riding a bike-sort of. I've learned so much in such few years. I'm excited to see your hat! Don't get sucked into the scarves. In the time it takes to knit a long scarf, you could make a sweater. Or 2. I wore my new tank top out today. It's very green.

I was three years old in that picture. I didn't want my picture taken so that's what they got. A professionally taken photo of their crybaby.

Betty Flocken said...

AH Fighting Irish Fan!!! I'm a bad fan. My son called to remind me of the game; I took a nap and forgot to watch! Hope your camera had a great day

Rudee said...

Yes Betty, my son who hails from Michigan is a Fighting Irish fan. It took him close to 17 hours to drive to the game, walk around the campus, attend the game and then drive home afterwords. If he could do it again today, he would.