May 5, 2006
Look–progress! I finished the back of my Weasley! It’s sort of crunched up at the top because the stitch holder I bought isn’t as wide as the area being held, but it’s done. It’s not perfect–just before I got to the shoulder part, I found I was three stitches short. I would have sworn that I’d cast on the right number, double-counted them even, but twenty-some vertical inches later I lacked three. I studied the fabric carefully to see if I’d dropped them along the way but didn’t find unusual holes or ladders or any other sign of the missing stitches. Curious. I thought about pretending I didn’t notice–Weasley sweaters are supposed to be a bit wonky, after all–but decided to do the increases needed to get up to the right number so when I finally get to work the collar I’ll have what the pattern calls for. I also thought about leaving the shoulder stitches live so I could try the three-needle bindoff Lil told me about, but I chickened out because I even though I got out Maggie Righetti’s sweater book and studied, I couldn’t quite grasp how to do the short rows needed so instead I went with the bound-off stairsteps (which were optional in the pattern, so I felt quite clever that I at least understood how to do those). Now I’m feeling like I should have at least tried the short rows, because I’ll need to learn that technique eventually if I want to ever make a sweater that fits me properly–I’ve done enough reading to know that short rows are ideal for ample-busted figures like mine. Maybe by the time I get to the front of the sweater I’ll be brave enough–I’ll have to see how the intarsia goes. I’ve got about 16 more inches to knit on the front before I get to that point. (I’ve also got plenty of yarn to play with–my special order finally came into the local yarn shop and amazingly it’s the same dye lot as I got from The Knitting Garden online. So now I have lots and lots of purple Felted Tweed and it all matches.)
And here’s what I made when I needed a break from the acres of stockinette in the sweater (note to self: losing weight will mean smaller sweaters that are quicker to knit, so get on that)–a little neckwarmer from this pattern, which I found via this other Karen’s weblog when looking for something to make with the one skein of Mountain Colors Twizzle in Elderberry I had on hand. It got warm just about the time I was making this, so I haven’t had a chance to see if I’ll get much wear out of it, but it did give me a chance to practice increases and decreases and making the slit where the end goes through was pretty cool. I also learned something very important from this little project: skeins really do need to be turned into balls before knitting anything more than a gauge swatch. I thought I could skip that step–I’d be careful and I wasn’t going to need the whole yardage anyway so why go to the trouble to ball it all up. Well, because if you don’t it will turn into an unholy snarl–that’s why. I think I spent almost as much time untangling the leftover yarn as I did making the scarflet. Never again. Fortunately, the Felted Tweed is already in balls, because every time I start to research the subject, I get overwhelmed by the options–do it by hand? get a nostepinde? explain to Mr. what a nostepinde is and get him to make me one? head down into the basement and try to make my own? get a ball winder? and a swift? or just a swift? (I already have an electric mixer, so if I had a swift I could use this method.) I have no idea.
I also took time off from the sweater to knit a swatch of the yarn that called to me from the clearance corner when I went to pick up my overdue Felted Tweed. This is Mondial Ischia (50% Tactel poly microfiber, 30% cotton, 20% acrylic) in color 937. Unknitted, it looks a lot like candy–specifically those hard candy sticks with the spiral stripes that I always associate with old-fashioned general stores. This is weird stuff–very springy. I’m not sure what I’ll be able to make with the three balls I got. I need to remember that buying yarn is not like buying fabric. I can buy a fat quarter of a pretty cotton print and know that it will work with other things in my stash. Not so with yarn, where fiber content and gauge are factors to be reckoned with.