Friday, September 19, 2014

Knitting: Sherwood Sweater, Day 1

I decided to make the Sherwood sweater by Angela Hahn next. (It's free, as are most of the patterns I use.) It's already seamless, so I don't have to convert it. That's a really good thing, too, if you take a look at the chart for this sweater:

Yes, the symbols on the chart are as small as they look - maybe even smaller - and my eyesight is about twenty years older than I am. But once you start into it, it's actually not as complicated or scary as it looks. It gets pretty predictable after a few rows, but it's still interesting enough to not be boring.

I'm making this in the 10/12 size, since that's the amount of yarn I have to work with. I'm using Lion brand Pound of Love. I know a lot of knitters who turn up their noses at acrylic yarns, but not me.

First of all, this was given to me. You really can't beat FREE, especially when you're working with it just for the fun of making something anyway.

Secondly, I'm not independently wealthy. If I were to buy all natural fibers for all the sweaters I make, I wouldn't be able to make any at all. A child's sweater can easily turn into a $50+ project. I choose to feed my family instead, thank you. (And yes, that's half my grocery money for the week, since the prices at the stores have nearly doubled in the last 2-3 years.)

Thirdly, I enjoy the process of knitting. I'm one of those people who just might knit something and rip it out to re-knit it again if I was stranded somewhere for a long time and had no way of getting more yarn.

Lastly, I actually like the feel of most modern acrylic yarns. Yes, there are some nasty vintage acrylics that I just can't (and won't) work with, but those are few and far between.

So if you're the world's biggest yarn snob, I may not be your favorite knitter to "follow". If I knit something from a natural yarn, it's going to be yarn recycled from a thrift store sweater. I can afford that! So please don't think that I don't like natural fibers. I adore them! I just can't afford them (or justify the cost) in any other medium than recycled from thrift store sweaters. And when this stash of acrylic is all knitted up, I have a HUGE stash of recycled natural fibers to start working with.

Anyway, back to my sweater ... I finished 55 rows today.  I don't usually figure out how many stitches that is per day, but this one was easy. There are 200 stitches to a row, so that was 11,000 stitches. It sure didn't seem like that many!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Knitting: Cables for Kids, Day 5

It's done! Now that the sleeves are on, it doesn't look quite so squat. But still, I could wear this sweater, and it's supposed to be a child's size 12! I guess it's a layering sweater ...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Knitting: Cables for Kids, Day 4

I finished the back on a Row 6.

The fronts were easy enough, and I got it all joined at the shoulders and the neckband knitted on.

At this point, I'm beginning to think the ribbed basketweave must really draw the sides in. It's almost comically wide. I love the design, though, so I'm persevering. (I'll probably knit it again in another yarn with the ribbed basketweave on the sides just to see if I'm right.)

Now to the sleeves ... I tried reversing the directions and picking up 63 stitches around the armhole, but that was way too many stitches. It looked like the sleeves were gathered into the armhole. So then I tried picking up 3 stitches for every 4 rows (the usual consensus on how many to pick up), which gave me 56 stitches. It was still way too many. So I picked up 1 stitch for every 2 rows (a total of 38 stitches), and it finally looked right.

At my gauge of about 4 rows/1", I'll be working about 54 rows before the ribbing. Since I'm starting out with about the same number of stitches as I should end with, I won't be doing any decreases.

All of this trial and error took long enough that I could have finished at least one sleeve. But I didn't. I only barely started the first one before bed. Oh well! Sometimes mistakes (like seed stitch where it should be ribbed basketweave) create more problems than you realized. This is just a good learning experience - learning how to adapt as you go because you were too stubborn to rip out 10" of detailed knitting when you realized your mistake. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Knitting: Cables for Kids, Day 3

Today was a busy day, so I didn't get much knitting done. I only have to knit 2” more before the back is done, though.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Knitting: Yuletide Yoke finished and Starting Cables for Kids

Day One

I finished the Yuletide Yoke sweater with just a little bit of knitting time.

This is sized quite generously, but my gauge might have been a bit off. I didn't bother to check. (Since it's for charity and someone will be able to fit it, I generally don't obsess about gauge on my charity sweaters.) This is a child's size 6, and I could fit it if the sleeves were longer. That's a good thing, though, because hopefully whoever gets it will be able to wear it for a few years.

So now I'm off to the next sweater project, Cables for Kids from Coats & Clark. It's a free pattern that's written to be seamed, so I'll be converting this one to seamless as well. Here we go ...

Cast on 154 stitches. Work 1x1 ribbing for 2", beginning with a purl stitch and placing a marker after the 77th stitch. (This marker separates the front from the back.) Increase 22 stitches on the last row (about every 7th stitch). Switch to larger needles.

 Since I'm working this seamlessly, I'll work it in the round until 10-1/2" before splitting for the armholes.

I omitted the 4 side stitches this time, so I'm subtracting one stitch from the instructions at each side. And since these instructions are much easier to follow in chart format, I made my own chart:

Not all of these are standard knitting symbols (like the cable symbols), but this is how my brain works, so I wrote them out this way.

It's also helpful to place markers in your knitting where you're supposed to switch from one chart to the next (A,B,C). This way, you don't have to constantly count out the initial 22 stitches in seed stitch, etc. It makes my knitting go much faster.

I got one full 12-row repeat and an additional two more rows finished before bed.

Day Two

After the second repetition of the 12 rows, I realized that I forgot to switch the Chart A directions for circular knitting. It's supposed to look like a ribbed basketweave stitch, but mine is seed stitch. What threw me off was the fact that many similar patterns have sections of seed stitch in them. (That, and the fact that I had to draw up my own charts and convert it to circular, seamless knitting.) We'll just pretend it's supposed to look like this. :)

I got to 10-1/2" and split for the armholes (changing to back-and-forth knitting) on a row 7.

I was able to work a few inches above the armhole on the back section before bed.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Knitting: Yuletide Yoke, day 2

As I was working on the first sleeve today, I'm glad I thought to measure it before the last 18 rows were up. Sure enough, I was at the correct length after just 7 of the last 18 rows.

I was able to join the sleeves to the body and work both charts on the yoke before bed. It's almost done!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Knitting: Fiver Cabled Sweater is done! On to Yuletide Yoke ...

I finished the Fiver Cables Sweater after about an hour's worth of knitting today. Since I've been weaving in the ends as I go, I was finished once I bound off (and wove that end in). I highly recommend weaving in the ends as you go!

I had the next sweater picked out, so I went ahead and started on it. It's another free pattern called Yuletide Yoke, published by Bernat. It's already seamless, so I don't have to convert anything. I love the color work on this one, and I have the same colors as the sample.

I had a bit of time to do mindless knitting, so the stockinette portions went fast. I managed to get to the arm joins on the body of the sweater ...

... as well as the cuff of the first sleeve.