Monthly Archives: January 2004

Take 97

Ok so forget that last entry. Just forget the whole thing. Laurin commented about swatching in pattern to make sure to get the right gauge after all. Which made my stomach hurt. Because it hadn’t occurred to me to measure the thing once I had started. So I got out my trusty measuring tape and my sleeve was no where near as wide as it should be. Even with streatching. In desparation I soaked it, blocked it, turned the hair dryer on it and with lots of tugging, got it to be the proper width. So I frogged the whole thing for the fourth time and started over on a larger needle size. And thank you very much, Laurin for saying something before I got any farther along! After three Ellens that TiVo had gotten for me, and some early morning knitting today, I have a respectable sleeve.

a much better looking sleeve

And this time something has just clicked. The sleeve looks much better, as you can see, and I am not having to concentrate nearly as hard on what I am doing. The pattern just flows. That last bit makes me want to work on it All The Time! No house cleaning for me! No unpacking! Just cables all day long! The sleeve is also the right size now (which is a plus). The crossovers still have little pinches, but I’m not going to worry about it – when I mash them with my finger they flatten out. After turning my sleeve into spaghetti, I re-balled the yarn around my travel toothbrush tube to make a pull-skein with the used yarn on the outside. This way it won’t be crinkely when I get to knitting it.

I only have one question:
What are you supposed to do with your cable needle when you aren’t using it?

MustHave mess

After frogging back to the ribbing twice, knitting with markers and without, and one backwards cable, the MustHave finally has made some decent progress.

repetition and a half

Will that little pinch at the crossover flatten out? Please don’t make me go back…

This is the most complicated thing I’ve knit so far and is taking all of my concentation. I am getting into the flow of the pattern now, and can see which way the next cable is supposed to go and what row I’m on. This is making things a LOT easier. Practice makes perfect, I suppose (HAH). I really thought I might have to throw things in frustration yesterday. I mean: three different charts and increases at the same time?! I have found that chocolately rewards motivate me.

Betty might finally understand that Angus is not interested in eating her! He is only interested in eating her food. There was some sniffing today without any fits (most of this is due to Angus being the Best Dog in All the World). They are just going to have to suck it up and get used to each other since Betty has decided that she is an indoor kitty (open doors have no appeal for her, too bad my rugs do). If she would only stop doing this whenever this catches her by surprise.

Looking at the picture of my my sad, lumpy sleeve makes me want to pull it all out and start over again. Especially when I look at Rebecca’s gorgeous thing.

Fluffy Pictures

Fluffy sweater pictures!

me by the barn

Why the grumpy face? It’s raining on me!

The sweater is very soft and luscious. And warm. Very warm. Those roses in my cheeks? All natural, baby! It’s close to 70° today even with the Torrential Rain. Also, here is a detail of the twisted rib.

And then the rain drove us inside. No sweater picture is worth ruining your camera.

I tried the MustHave swatch on 4s. And it came out a quarter inch too small. Arguh. SO I am making the 37″ instead of the 38″ and hoping for the best. “It’s a cardigan,” I keep telling myself, “I don’t have to look like a Sweater Girl when I am wearing it.” I have decided to go ahead and make the body as long as the largest size (21″). I really don’t like it when my sweaters are too short for my pants. I am casting on for a sleeve on this lovely, rainy day.

In between MustHave and the Fluffy Sweater, I made a couple of mousies for the cats in my life. Turns out Dinah likes catnip, too, and was willing to crawl into the fluffy sweater bag to get at it (terrible picture, I know, but it was such a funny thing). So I made her a mouse after dinner and she played with it all night long. Betty loves her mouse! It is already really, really grubby.


The Fluffy Sweater is all finished! No pictures yet – I had to steam the shoulder seams and they weren’t dry in time for a photo shoot. But I do have these to show you:

stack of swatches

As you can see, I am religious about swatching. Since I am using Patons’ Classic Merino Wool (what is up with me and using the yarn the pattern calls for lately?) I started with the size 7 needles the pattern suggested. Now, as a general rule of thumb, I almost always start swatching on a needle one size smaller than what the pattern wants, but I have never used this yarn or a Patons pattern before so I started at the beginning. I should have gone ahead with the size down – I made it all the way down to 5s before the tension came out right. Then just to be sure, I blocked the swatches.

Lots of people will tell you that this step isn’t really necessary if you aren’t working with cotton (which streatches when it’s wet, wreaking havoc with the size of your sweater unless you measure your stitches AFTER blocking). But I’ve noticed that blocking can make a difference (occasionally significant) with everything. So if you’ve bothered to knit all of those swatches, go just one step further to ensure that you end up with a garment that fits.

As you can see, after blocking the gauge is still just slightly off. This means I am actually getting 19 stitches to four inches instead of the 20 the patterns wants. BOO. This could make 1.75 inches worth of difference in the overall size of the sweater (it’s hard to tell for sure, the swatch is in stockinette and the pattern is full of cables which affect the tension but the results of my math don’t look good). All of this to say: I am going to try it on 4s tonight and see how that goes. If that comes out way too small, I will make a small instead of a medium and hope for the best. I find it very hard to believe that I knit that much more loosely that the folks who designed this cardigan. Maybe this is the knitting gods paying me back for my delightful tension experience with the Fluffy Sweater.

quick quick

fluffy neckband

Know what this is?

It’s a neckband!
Turns out I didn’t need a bunch of Jeannies to finish the front. I just needed the State of the Union! Nothing like a long, commercial-free speech when you’ve got some knitting to do. I was binding off during the tag-team Democratic Response. All that stands between me and the MustHave are some seams. And some blocking.

And now I’ve got to run to the store. Great Gran watched Emeril make omelettes last night, so we are having them for dinner.

Incidentally, when I Googled for “State of the Union 2004” this was the first page listed. It’s good to see young people taking an interest in politics.

morning knitting

Great Gran and I knit (she crocheted – she is putting the ruffles on four different baby blankets) during I Dream of Jeannie (watch out, TVLand’s website plays music) and hours of CNN this morning (we think Bill Hemmer is cute). I am past the decreases on the Fluffy Sweater and headed for the armholes.

Fluffy Sweater in chair with Monkey Bag.

The red dots on the bag are monkey faces. I love monkeys.

The straight stockinette makes for good TV-knitting, but I think my brain is ready for a challenge. You know the one I mean. Not swatching is killing me. But with discipline (and a few more Jeannies), I can start any day now.

In other news, here’s Betty. She is all set up in the sun parlor with plants and lots of boxes to hide in. Angus keeps saying, “You know there’s a CAT in there, right?” So it’s a little noisy.