Friday, February 23, 2007


I know, three posts in one week. Contain youselves.

I finished up the weekend sweater on Monday after several attempts at the yoke and neckline.

I used the Handy Book of Sweater Patterns as a jumping off point. I didn't get all creative this time around, but, I did have to finagle a bit to get the fit just right. I still don't know if I am completely satisfied.

When I followed the recommended spacing for the yoke decrease rows of every 2", I found that it bound over my shoulders and was uncomfortably snug. So, I added another couple of rows between the second and third set of decreases. This helped tremendously.

I also started the neck shaping a bit sooner and added more short-rows. I like the look of the sweater but think that the front of the necklike is a bit too high. Because I was afraid of this, I didn't weave in the last end from the bind-off (loving the EZ sewn bind off, btw).

I work it out to my knitting group Tuesday, and it is sort of scratchy on my neck, so I have a feeling that I will be ripping the last set of decreases out and starting the neck shaping a bit sooner. All in all, I am pretty happy with it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Stitches Midwest

After an almost eternal wait, you know, since last August?, the new brochure for Stitches Midwest should be available soon!

I missed the last 2, but have made arrangements with my dear sister to pack Caleb off to her house if Eric is tied up with work!

I can hardly wait!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Off sleeve island - but not for long

Okay - I am really grooving on the whole theory of Ann Budd's book. It's fabulous if, like me, you tend not to follow patterns exactly. *Ahem*

However, it would seem that my taking the whole theory into practice thing could use a bit of work.

I am relatively tall, nearly 5'9", but am not, erm, overly well endowed, shall we say. As it is, with a little bit of help from Victoria's Secret, I can almost eek out a 34" bust measurement. All things considered I prefer my sweaters to have a bit of negative ease, generally, a finished measurement of about 32" or so.

The AB book's adult pattern guides start at a finished bust measurement of 36" and to me, that is a whole lot of sweater. So, I flipped back to the kid's section and was pleased as punch to see that they have both a 32" and 34" chest ('cuz it is just wrong to say a kidlet has a bust, know what I mean?).

The body was a breeze. My numbers matched her numbers pretty well and it was smooth sailing.

I got to the sleeves and did a few calculations to ensure that I cast on the correct number of stitches, this involved paper, a pencil, a calculator, a tape measure and more than a few profanities. As an FYI, I highly recommend an assistant to measure your wrists, this is not an easy feat to do by oneself.

I cast on and knit the first sleeve according to the directions laid out in the children's section, but added some extra length. I then knit the second sleeve exactly like the first.

Then I tried them on.

It seemed really odd that all of the increases were worked below the elbow. But, I had faith.

I joined the sleeves to the body and began working the yoke while traveling for the weekend - the book remained at home in my knitting basket unfortunately. I thought long and hard about when to start the decreases for the seamless yoke. (I've not knit a seamless yoke sweater before.) I had a vague recollection from The Sweater Workshop of working about 2" before beginning the raglan decreases and figured that this would probably be about the same.

When I regained access to the book, I looked closely at the directions. Yep, 2" was right. Whew.

Then I looked again. I realized that there is a difference in the depth of the yoke for the 32" versus the 36" chest. Duh.

No problem, I followed the stitch counts for the smaller size while spacing the decreases according to the larger size.

Then it hit me.

Do you see it?

The sleeve increases are spaced differently between the sizes. ARGH!

So, I have a choice to make. Do I remove the sleeve from the body and redo, or do I try to be all zen and let the mistake go figuring that this is not haute couture and that I (and now you) am the only one who know about this little issue?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sleeve Island

I know, I know. If you decide to knit a sweater, two sleeves must also be knit. Got it. I still don't quite understand why it takes 3.548 times longer to knit two sleeves which combined contain fewer stitches than the body. I am sure there is someone out there who can explain the warping of the time/space continuum to me. Anybody? Please?

Honestly, I knit all 15 inches of body in about 4 evenings. It is in the round, so just plain old ribbing for 2" followed by 13 inches of plain old knitting. No big deal.

I have been knitting on the first sleeve for about 843 years 1 week and I am just above the elbow. All of the increases are done, so it is just round and round the dpns.

The needles may be part of the problem. I knit the body on a 24" addi and loved the slickness. The sleeves are on wooden dpns and they are grabby, grabby, grabby. Normally, I think this is a good thing on dpns, but it just isn't doing it for me right now. I will just have to make due for the time being, because I don't knit enough projects on size 9's to justify having 2 sets of dpns.


It would appear that Wisconsin is finally heading out of the deep freeze. Today was a positively balmy -1 F when I came to work. This is a vast improvement over the -18 we had on Monday. The general consensus here at the office is that it is just plain wrong to have an overnight low temperature that is more than 50 degrees below the freezing point without windchills (an aside, chill my a$$ - if they are measuring it, it is f-ing cold).

The summers here can be suffocating (90+ degrees with 90+% humidity - this does wonders for curly hair) and the winters will slowly suck the will to live from the hardiest of souls with the crushing cold temperatures and the fact that it lasts from mid-November all the way to April. Here is what I don't get. When the settlers were moving west 150 years ago and stopped here, why in the world did they stay after experiencing the hell that we call weather?

We have one of the largest average temperature swings in the world, from 90ish to -30ish. That's right over 100 degrees. Every. Year. These are normal temperatures, people, not something experienced once a decade. Every. Single. Year. Not to mention the freakish thunderstorms and threats of tornadoes. True we don't get hurricanes, but Wisconsin is located on the tail end an active fault line and there are mild earthquakes; granted, it isn't like California, but they do happen. Is this really better than what they had? I shudder to think of how awful it must have been.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Blackberry Ridge

I haven't posted in a while. Somehow life seems to be raging out of control again. I swear some of it is my favorite monthly visitor, but some of it isn't.

Work is beyond palatable. I have put in for a different job at work and I am praying to any diety that will listen that I get it. I do like what I am doing currently, but it just isn't the right position for me right now. It really requires more than 40 hours a week and I just can't do that.

I haven't done much knitting lately for some reason. When I helped with inventory at my LYS, I received 7 skeins of bulky weight yarn from Blackberry Ridge. They are a local spinery and produce some very nice yarns. The bulky that I have has a very interesting construction.

The yarn is technically a 4-ply, but it took me a while to figure this out. Instead of a traditional 4 ply when all of the plys are plyed together at once, this yarn consists of 2 2-ply strands that are then plyed together. I discovered this when I was joining a new ball with spit join and it wouldn't felt together well.

It is also very tightly spun. I am hoping that this will equate to great wearablity.

Because it is a bulky yarn, I've decided to knit it up into a weekend sweater. My personal preference for sweaters knit at a much finer gauge than the 15 st/4" than I am getting for this. So, it will never be one that I wear to work. I am using Ann Budd's The Knitters Handy Book of Sweater Patterns for this.

The first version is knit in the round and I divided front and back for inset sleeves. But, I had to reconsider. The thought of the seams in such a bulky yarn was daunting. I ripped it back and decided to go with a seamless yoke so I can eliminate the seams.

Out of sheer laziness, I didn't add any waist shaping, which I probably should have. But, I am letting this go. (Ignore the wonkiness of the picture. The body is still on a 24" circ and is a bit crowded at the top.) The color is a bit washed out in this picture, it is actually rich natural brown.