Friday, March 27, 2009

Proof That I'm Still Here

And still knitting!

I finished up those ginormous leg warmers for my younger brother, and they were received with much delight and frivolity, as evidenced by his Facebook album dedicated entirely to all the subtle sides of handknit legwarmers. I included just a sampling here. I had so much yarn left over from the legwarmers that I improvised coordinating arm bands and a head band as well. There is *still* yarn left, so I suppose I'll be knitting him some technicolor shorts next, just to complete the ensemble. (Fwiw, my brother is a theater and dance major, so the legwarmers truly will get some use!)

I also managed to finish up the latest in my series of swatches for J. Knits yarn company. This time they requested lace swatches in their Stunning sock yarn, and I have to say that if I was a sock knitter, I would be happy to reach for these socks. The yarn is sturdy, shiny, and quite soft after washing. I'm still waiting on my "payment" yarn, but the first shipment should be coming early next week, so I'll review that when it gets here.

Finally, I began my Little Birds sweater a week or two ago. It was set aside to work on the two previously mentioned projects, but I picked it back up over the weekend and finished up the ribbing. This sweater is becoming a comedy of errors for me. First, I ordered the specified yarn back in August from an online shop (no one carries it locally, that I could find). Then, I waited five and a half months for them to actually get it in stock and ship it to me. (Entirely out of their hands, so I was patient.)

I was super excited to clear the decks and get moving on this sweater, so I cast on in my intended size (34"), and knitted up half the ribbing. Then I slipped it onto waste yarn to try it on: waaaay too tight. I'm a slender girl with wide hips (thanks, Mom!) and I could not get the thing to overlap far enough. Nothing to do but rip it out and start over. But I only needed a little bit more room, and the next size up (38") was too big a jump. So I juggled the numbers and did the ribbing in a size halfway between the two.

I knitted up most of the ribbing again, put it on waste yarn, and tried it on: perfect! Although at this point, I discovered a small problem. The cast on is a time-consuming one which calls for you to provisionally cast on half the stitches with a larger needle, pick up the other half of the stitches with a needle two sizes smaller, fold the few knitted rows over and knit all the stitches onto the smaller needle, alternating by threes. (Sorry if that's confusing, but that's not the real point of my story, so don't worry about it.) Then you finish up the ribbing with the smaller needle and switch to the larger one once you get to the colorwork portion of the sweater.

Well...I had apparently been knitting the ribbing in the larger needle all along. So then I was left to wonder how it would look once I get to the colorwork portion? Would the colorwork look funny or sloppy on top of the ribbing? What was the point of doing the ribbing in a smaller gauge anyway? Should I just have moved up a size in the pattern, instead of doing all my fancy math?

Ugh. Too late. I didn't want to go back, so I kept knitting. I had to decrease down to the number of stitches called for in the pattern before the colorwork, because I didn't want extra room up top. I don't have a big chest to balance out my wide hips (thanks, Mom!). But I am tall, so I rejiggered the pattern to add another pattern repeat. This wasn't difficult, but it messes with the angle of the fronts and I won't be able to see how that turns out until the sweater is finished and steeked. From here on out I'll just be holding my breath and hoping everything turns out for the best. I do have a similar store-bought sweater that fits quite well, so I keep measuring that to see how this one compares. So far so good. :)

Next time: a magazine review. I finally got my hands on a copy of The Knitter!


Yarndude said...

Sweet, you got The Knitter? From what I can tell, it looks really good. I'm off to check out that Facebook album now. :)

Hilary said...

Haha - your brother is hilarious!! And he looks extremely stylin' in his handknit workout gear. What a nice sister you are. :)

Jacey said...

I so wish I was joining you on Little Birds, but I'm sorry to hear about all the trouble it's giving you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, your brother is swwwweet in those legwarmers and assorted bands.

I was impressed when I got to the part about you doing swatch samples - for an actual yarn company. Fancy! But I was even more impressed by the Little Birds endeavor...I'll admire from afar as you work your magic. I had to look up 'steeking' - that tells you how far I've ventured into this kind of knitting!

I also have Mom to thank for an out of proportion hip/butt area. Not so much wide, but sticky-outy. Always special needs when it comes to fitting. Love those gene things.