nitely knitterly progress


The View

when my Alternative Retirement Plan kicks in. Oh yes. Maybe not to watch the Oakland Raiders at the Coliseum, but a SUITE, to watch FOOTBALL, at the stadium. Life would be hard pressed to be better than Sunday. It's almost as if the day spent doing labor in the Data Center didn't even happen. Most importantly, NO KNITTING done during the entire game. It was an odd feeling. And football, in the sun, drinking (free) beer, close proximity to the spic and span bathroom, multiple TV screens showing the game in the suite, and us hanging over the edge out the window watching it for real. We were pretty damn lucky.


Mindless knitting has taken place, particularly in the form of the Mason Dixon Ballband Dishcloths. Seven of them. I have a few more to go before I can go to Sweden. They're itty bitty presents for the family.

The Four-Oh Sweater has gone through all the planning stages.

  1. It's in reverse stockinette for most of it.
  2. The pattern repeats all the way up one side on the front and back in mirrored images of each other.
  3. Used sz4 needles for the ribbing, and sz5 for the rest.
  4. Measured the S.O.
The calculations were based on the initial swatch, where my swatch was 8.25" wide with 44 st, resulting in 5.33 st/in. The circumference of the sweater was calculated with the S.O's measurements to be 238 stitches (Number of inches * 5.33= 238 st). To make the ribbing flow into the pattern properly, I had to have 4 knits on either side of the sweater for symmetry. To make sure it didn't look too funky, I made a 4 stitch cable for each of these areas. Used one of his sweatshirts to check the measurements. This was helpful for shaping the armhole area and to know where to place the cable that is running up the side, as well as general sizing issues.

Did I figure out the armhole shaping or length or collar? Hell no. I just wanted to start knitting.


Y is for Yarn Victory

E-baying is really not my thing. My S.O works for them, and I bitch all the time HOW MUCH THEIR WEBSITE SUCKS. Like you have to log in a gazillion times when you navigate around their site. Crappy programming, I say (and I know what I'm talking about because I'm the Enemy, the SysAdmin.) Yarn? Oh right. Brown Sheep Cotton Fine.


Can't find it in the number of skeins and color I want, not even on E-bay. (There IS plenty of pink, maybe it's what HE wants that's so difficult. Bitterness? OH NO.) Eunny used Cotton Fleece for the Macho Aran, but I thought it would be too thick for the S.O, until 5 p.m. last night when I was SO SICK OF LOOKING AT YARN. So I went to the yarn store. Squeezed in through the door as they were locking up (they were so nice to let me in), scooped up their 8 skeins of Cotton Fleece in Wolverine (S.O accepted color) and was out the door in 3 minutes flat. He's gonna have to like it.

It's alittle shiny, very cottony sharp, but alittle stretchy wooly. I really like it. It's decent to knit with, alittle boring, but it is shiny. He said "Eh" when he saw it. Good enough for me. I think I'll pick some up for me in a FUN color when I want my own cable sweater! (That's still one of the requirements of this project, me wanting to make another one.)


He picked the cable pattern used in Fjörgryn from Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Patterns book. "It's assymetrical". Bet your ass it is.
BS CFleece recommends sz 6, so I picked up the 4s for the ribbing, and used 5's for everything else. Tried a few different ribbings. I like the fun twisted stitches (k2tog, leave on needle, k 1st stitch, pull both off). Tried it in k2p2 ribbing for the k2's, tried it in every other k2s, then did plain k2p2 ribbing. He liked that. Plain old boring k2p2 it is. I figure, WHEN I make mine, I can do twisties.

(I'm ashamed, the color with the tungsten lights is SO BAD. Need to be home to take pictures in DAYLIGHT more often...)


What do I know so far about the sweater design?
1. He wants ribbing. Plain old ribbing.
2. He wants one long cable going from the ribbing up to the shoulder, probably on both sides. Nothing else.
3. He doesn't want raglan or drop shoulder.


The long cable swatch was fun to knit. Presented two versions.

1. Regular stockinette stitch for most of the sweater except the cable pattern. Notice how the cable goes into the ribbing? The number of stitches didn't add up properly, so I will have to fudge that somehow. Maybe a small tight cable?

2. Reverse stockinette around the cable throughout the sweater. (This was my first swatch so I hadn't figured out to run the cable into the ribbing, apologies. They're both really the same swatch, two repeats of the pattern and folded over.)

He picked Number Two. Sigh. Reverse stockinette on a circular needle. I CAN'T WAIT. "It's my sweater". He's right dammit.


A Quest for Yarn and Unfocused Knitting

I love that feeling of casting on for a brand spankin' new project. You knit in a frenzy just to see how the yarn "knits up". It's so important. And it's fun to play with new yarn.

Reading EZ's "Knitting Without Tears" is empowering, hence the hot pink "idea T". Won't have enough yarn for more than that anyway...


The orangina is ready to be worn. I just have to find something for UNDER it, and daylight to take a picture of it in.
A wool & cotton blend is hard to find. Received the Knitpicks tester yarn (Main Line) today, and promptly knitted up a little swatch with some cables on it. The yarn is of the wrong weight. Way too thick. It is soft and nice to knit with though.

Will try to pick up some Brown Sheep Cotton fine in a "manly" color. (This color-picking is trying my patience. Really. Why do all boys want drab grey and the darkest shades of blue and black? So boring.) One of the Knitpicks samplers I ordered, had a grey heathered yarn that passed the color test, 100 % wool though. But now I know what to look for. It's time for real knitting, enough swatching already.


Loosey Goosey

That's how I knit.

After years and years of knitting, I just finally figured it out. (I'm bright like that). Like Elizabeth Zimmerman said, gauge is the most important thing in knitting. The width gauge. The height gauge? Not so much, just make it longer. Use whatever needles you need, use whatever yarn you want, but MAKE SURE YOUR GAUGE IS SPOT ON. What kind of knitter are you, Loose? Tight? Just normal?

Best advice ever.

When I have the great opportunity to teach a newbie to knit I always say "knit a swatch, it's boring boring boring, but it's MUCH LESS ACTUAL WORK, than knitting an entire sweater, or even just a few inches, and realize it's too small/big." Huge.

Knit a swatch.

And then there is me. Apparantly most knitters actually SAVE their swatches. Do you? I don't. I figure it's a waste of yarn, so after I take my measurements I always rip it out. Sometimes right after I make it, and sometimes after the project is completed.

And another one of my quirks, I'm fanatical about running out of yarn. I think it comes from having it happen to me, so now I have a boatload of one skein wonders. Always leftovers. But I figure, at least I didn't have to lose sleep over not having enough yarn. How do you buy yarn? Just as much as the pattern requires, less, more?

Here's a swatch of Allhemp3 knit a few rounds on sz4 straights, a few rounds on sz3 circulars, and a few rounds on sz2 circulars. My favorite? The size twos. I thought I liked a tight knit, but I think now it's a combination of my loose tendencies (allright, in KNITTING, sheesh) and unfavorable view of holey knitting. The interesting thing is that the circulars look alot looser than the straights, I must not be tightening up the yarn quite as much as I do on straights. Good to remember. Obviously this is not knit in the round, which is whole nuther story.

What's the project for the hemp, have you made anything with hemp? Nothing firm yet, but probably Big Dotty from MDK as a pillow cover for the couch pillow(s). It's far down on the list for now, first is the Four-Oh sweater (waiting for tester yarn from KnitPicks), and the MDK linen towels for a present. The two ballbands that were finished this weekend from MDK were mindless and pretty (sort of like Arlo.) Also presents for the Big Trip.

Then more swatching. This time it's for a summery, homegrown little T. Maybe I'll even keep the swatch. As long as I won't run out of yarn. But I will at least take a picture of it.


The Four-Oh Sweater

A.k.a Chronicles of the First Homegrown Sweater.

The first sweater ever for the Significant Other, and also the first homegrown sweater, so I am going to chronicle it to death. Hopefully I will learn at least alittle bit from my mistakes.


It’s the Big Four Oh. And the man has everything, but a special sweater.

What do I want to get out of it?

I want him to wear it. And I want to want to make more of them.

The biggest risk?

I want him to be able to design as much of it as possible, to get a sweater that HE wants, not something I want him to wear. I am aware of the Boyfriend curse, yes, and I am aware of the fact that knitting for your Significant Other will probably put a strain on the relationship (especially with my goals in mind, coupled with the stubbornness in this family. Just as an example, 12 years ago when we moved into our little studio with a tub it took us a week to agree on a shower curtain. A week. We both gave up at the same time standing in the isle at K-mart for the third time. We lived with the hideous jungle and parrot shower curtain for 4 years). The strain is already evident. “Can you look through this knitting book,(Viking patterns by Elsebeth Lavold), and see if there’s anything you like?”, I ask. “Mmmhmm, just not now, I am tired/hungry/have to go for a bike ride/go to 7-11”. I will let it slide for now. Maybe I will even learn patience. Yeah, right.

How to begin?


The most important choice. It must be a cotton/wool blend in favor of cotton, the man is a furnace. Options are Knitpicks Main Line, not sure about the colors, and they have no color wheel I can buy, and Liana from Artfibers.


The requirement was a solid color yarn. Blue, green or black. Picked up some Liana at Artfibers, one skein each of blue, brown and orange (he loves orange). He picked blue, but was not thrilled about the slight varigation. We’ll see.


Gulp. It’s intimidating, it’s nerve wrecking, but really, it’s just a damn sweater. He has requested one funky cable on the left front, on the arms, and the rest in a “tight kind of weave”. (After a show and tell of knitting stitches I figured out it means reverse stockinette). The cable request has added restrictions to the type of sweater to make. I don’t think a raglan sweater would look good with cables so I am going to either use a drop shoulder (so easy) design or saddle shoulder. The sweater will be knit up in the round, and then I’ll figure out the sleeves and chest when I get to it. The other request is a ribbing on the bottom of the sweater, so it’s tight over the hips. He also wants cables going sideways there, but I think I may make regular k2,p2 ribbing and the twisted stitches (mini-cables) every other 2k’s.

What’s next?

Finalizing the funky cable design, and try knitting a couple of swatches with the “test yarn”.

When is it due?

September 7th. No pressure. If it’s not done in time, it isn’t done in time. We’ll be in Sweden, so which project to bring on the plane to knit will already be decided! It will be the Travelling Sweater.



Other Updates

  1. 1/2" left of the ribbing on the Orangina. How come I'm not doing it now? Because I am working on a new project. Duh.
  2. 1 Pomotamus sock is DONE MAN!
  3. Three more mitered squares are done. It takes one day on the train roundtrip to make alittle over one square.
  4. I love steroids. I love them. No more poison oak. It's but a memory and some dry itchy scars...