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Posts Tagged ‘knitting’

Even though it has been hot and humid beyond all reason I have still been playing with my yarn.

First up the Carbeth is almost finished.

knitting carbeth sweater

I know, what is that big hole if it is almost finished? That is the underarm section that needs grafting together. I must admit I stopped and put this aside for a few days while I pondered whether to do Kitchener Stitch or a three-needle bind off. What I finally realized is that the holes were not going to close on their own and I had to make a choice. Since the sweater is knit holding the yarn double so the closing needs tobe done holding the yarn double. I felt Kitchener wouldn’t work for me so I went with the three-needle bind off. It looks good.

The trouble is that either side of the bind off are holes that need to be sewn together. I thought a simple mattress stitch would work well and it would if the stitches on either side were not so large and out of shape. I ended up mattress stitching what I could and then sewing the remaining holes shut so it looked like a neat underarm. I have four more yarn segments to weave in and the sweater is ready for blocking.

I have also been playing with my spinning. My latest is definitely in the category of yarn and is almost dead on in terms of the size I want.

spinning yarn tibetan spindle

I wound this into a little ball and am going to make a second spindle full then ply them together. I don’t know what I will knit out of it, but I am going to knit it up even if it is just a square. If it comes out nice I might frame it as my first actual spun yarn and date it.

On my list of things to buy is a knitty noddy so I can get some sort of count on the yardage. I also need a wpi (wrap per inch) tool to get a handle on the weight of the yarn. I am going for fingering but I might be in the DK territory.

I can’t explain my passion for spinning. Just that every time I spin with the spindle my soul sings. It has been a very, very long time since I have experienced such a feeling and I am so glad that I finally got the nerve to give it a try. Of course I am still very much learning, reading and watching YouTube videos, yet the pleasure and peace I get from it is well worth all the research and attempts.

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I don’t mean to grouse but I am going to do just a little of that. I’m knitting the neck of the Carbeth sweater when all of a sudden a hole appears to the right of the final two decreases. A whopper of a hole. I try everything to get the decrease to play nice with the stitch before it. I even drop the stitch before it down and crochet it back up to tighten it a bit. No go. To make it even worse, I was following the instructions to remove the markers as the final decreases are made. Now I am faced with ripping back two rows to below where the yarn is making a hole while I try to get the now unmarked decreases in the right places. Why is it that even the simple things don’t go right?

Since this project is coming to an end I am in need of a new one. To that end, I put aside the Carbeth and decided to have a peek in the bins and boxes that hold WIPS. Naturally, the Security Guard of All Yarn knit up or not was right by my side. Yarn Rascal loves going through the bins and boxes because we never know what we’ll find.

This time I came up with a sock and a sweater that I started five years ago at the time of my breast cancer.  I started the sweater just after my mastectomy. Not a good time to start that kind of project because my brain was not fully working what with learning to accept the mastectomy, the cancer medications and the radiation treatment I had what they call brain fog. Because of the mastectomy I thought that everything I wore from then on had to be extremely oversized. Don’t get me wrong, I love loose fitting clothing. But there is loose fit and then there is wow that’s kind of big. Well the sweater fell into the latter category. The body is knit and unfortunately it is so large that I can’t see ever wearing it. The yarn is good yarn and I’d hate to waste it even though it is black. I never knit with black yarn so you can tell what kind of mindset I was in when I got this project going.

Along with Yarn Rascal, I decided if we locate the pattern I was using (another example of how my mind was not working. I usually keep all patterns attached to their wips) I will attempt to undo the whole sweater and start again. Unfortunately it is not a pattern I bought through Ravelry so it is not in my library there. I am looking in all the places the pattern might be without any luck so far. Again, I need to remind myself my brain wasn’t really functioning at the time.

As for the sock we uncovered it was just that: a sock that was three-quarters done. I recognized the pattern as one I have in a book on knitted socks, but as for the yarn…well we can’t find it. I have no idea why I snipped the unfinished sock off the ball of yarn or where I would have put the ball of yarn after doing so. Usually an unfinished sock goes in a see-through project bag with the pattern and with needles and yarn attached. Believe me, Yarn Rascal did a thorough search of all yarn balls and couldn’t find it. So I ordered the yarn and will start the sock all over again.

Of course first I have to finish Carbeth. If the knitting gods don’t throw me another curve it is possible that I could block the sweater this weekend. I can only hope.

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Well the Carbeth sweater is coming along. Surprisingly we haven’t had a really hot and humid day the whole time I’ve been working on it. I thought for sure the knitting gods would dump the hot and humid on me instantly. Rather the days have been around 68 F / 20 C. Very unusual for this time of year. But that’s not to say the knitting gods have passed me by. No, I am on their radar.

I usually knit with fingering yarn and small needles no larger than US 5 (3.75 mm). Most needles I use are between US 1 (2.25 mm) and US 3 (3.25 mm). The ones I’m using for Carbeth are US 11 (8 mm) and US 10.5 (6.5 mm) in both circular and double-pointed. The sleeves are knit on double-pointed needles. It’s like knitting with logs. Slippery logs. The double-pointed needles are especially problematic. If they are held any way other than perfectly horizontal  when not in use (and who can manage that with double-pointed needles?) the needles slip right out of the stitches. Add to the fact that the yarn is held double, which I usually avoid like I would Ebola, and I have some seriously challenging knitting going on.

I knew all this going in. It wasn’t a knit within my comfort zone. Still I wanted the sweater. It’s called masochistic knitting at it’s best. The body up to the under arm is complete. I only had to rip back 3 times when somehow I forgot to knit a double strand and knitted a single one instead.

I’ve also finished one sleeve that contains increases. How can an increase be so complicated? It’s masochistic knitting, remember? I have this obsession  thing about increases being invisible. So the increase that is truly invisible is the lifted increase. You knit into the collar of the stitch below the one on your needle. Then you knit the one on your needle. It makes a beautiful right leaning increase. For the left you do the same–sort of. You work the stitch on the needle then you go what looks like two stitches but is really just one below, knit into the collar of the stitch and you have a left leaning decrease. While my right leaning decreases were coming out okay, the left ones were not. Riiiiiiiiip! Start again. Do the same things. The left increase is still wonky. Put knitting down. Comb through knitting books for the specific increase I am doing. Finally find it verifying I am doing it as stated. Pick up knitting. Make left increase. Stop. The increase is still wonky. Wonder if knitting it through the back look would change anything. Try it. Left increase is now looking good. One problem solved.

I am working on the second sleeve now. After this I join the front, sleeve, back, sleeve together and from there I am lost. The instructions are to keep 8 stitches on hold for each sleeve and back and front. These stitches are not knitted up when the pieces are joined. They are grafted together at the end of the sweater making. I cannot envision how yarn gets from one part of the sweater to the other. Even joining other balls of yarn where these 8 stitches are will not work knitting in the round. So I am off to Ravelry to find out if anyone else had this problem and what to do about it. I have visions of the sweater being left unfinished because I can’t figure this out and my heart starts its anxious palpitations. I tell myself I will finish this sweater. I will.

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The weather remains rainy, grey and only in the 50s F / 10 C. Never fear, in my state of denial regarding the weather I bought two hibiscus plants for the hummingbird we have hanging around. Hibiscus is a plant that does very well in Hawaii, so why not give it a go in a cold, gloomy climate? I hope the weather warms up before the hibiscus die.

I swatched for the Carbeth sweater.

buachaille

The sock on the right is what I am trying to finish before I throw myself into this sweater. The swatch on the left is the Carbeth on size US 10.5 (6.5 mm). After working on the sock with US 1 (2.25mm) needles it was like going from playing with a butterfly to wrestling a bear on the US 10. By the way, that’s the inside of the sock you’re seeing.

Unlike superwash merino, the Buachaille doesn’t grow when bathed and blocked. I got perfect row gauge but my stitch count was off. I needed 3.5 stitches per inch ( 2.5 cm) and I got 4. I went back to the pattern and recalculated the numbers for the 4 gauge. I didn’t really like the results. I had to jump up two sizes beyond what I would have normally knit and still the results would have yielded only 2 inches (5 cm) of ease where I want 4 inches (10 cm).

So I went to Webs yarn store online and ordered US 11 (8 mm) needles hoping to get the 3.5 sts I need. When they arrive I will swatch. But I have doubts about this working out nicely. Having had so much interaction with the gods of knitting I know what lies ahead. I will have to use the US 10.5 (6.5 mm) needles and recalculate the entire sweater decrease shaping and all. That means it will turn into a masochistic knitting adventure. By the time I am knitting and have the sweater and Yarn Rascal in my lap, the weather will have turned very hot and very humid. The hibiscus, should they make it through until then, will be very happy.

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carbeth_04_copy_medium2

My new obsession is Carbeth by Kate Davies. I love the interesting construction, the shape, the utilitarianism of the sweater. Best of all, it will give me a chance to work with her Buachaille yarn.  From descriptions I’ve read, the yarn is really sheepy. It has the natural lanolin of the fleece still in it and it smells sheepy. I can’t wait to work with something other than merino. I am also very interested in what Yarn Rascal’s reaction will be. Again, from the descriptions, this will be way different that any yarn he’s seen so far.

As with all sweater patterns, I purchased it and studied it before I bought the yarn and needles. I don’t have a waist like Ms. Davies, so I will be making adjustments to the length. Since I plan to wear this with turtlenecks underneath I also decided to go up 4 inches (10 cm) larger than my bust size.

There are very sane mathematical ways to figure out how much extra yarn will be needed when altering a pattern. I’d like to say I employed them before I ordered a whole batch of yarn in the Haar colorway, but I didn’t. I winged it. But that will be alright. Haar is one of the natural colors of the sheep so if I need more it will most likely blend in. Haar is a silver grey. I ordered the color because it will go with all my turtlenecks. I also ordered it because I’ve gotten so use to the grey skies and days (we haven’t seen the sun since I don’t know when) that I was afraid when the outdoors finally became sunny and colorful I would go into some sort of detox craving and needing to see grey.

What I can be sure of now that I ordered the yarn is that the day it arrives and I start the project the temperature outside will shoot up from 50 F (10 C) to 90 F (32 C) along with oppressive humidity. Yes, now that I’ve bought this sheepy yarn the entire east coast of the United States is sure to get hot, humid weather with plenty of searing sunshine. What better weather to knit a winter sweater in?

 

 

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I was sitting in my oncologist’s waiting room knitting. I just started a toe-up sock so not much of it was done. The waiting room was quite crowded.

An older woman who had been watching me walked across the waiting room and took the seat next to me. I wasn’t alarmed as she didn’t look like a serial killer. The low chatter that was going on in the room gave way to silence when she sat down. As I said, I was knitting toe-up, had just completed the short-row toe and joined for working in the round on small US 1 (2.25 mm) 9 inch (22 cm) circular needles. The woman leaned over to me in the hushed waiting room and said, “Are you knitting a penis cover?” I could feel everyone’s eyes slide toward me. My heart started palpating funny and my breathing sort of stopped. When I realized the floor was not going to open up and swallow me I replied “No” loud enough for everyone to hear. “It’s a sock. See, like the ones I’m wearing.” I always wear a pair of hand knitted socks to the oncologist’s office. They are my good luck charm and armor.

The woman looked at me curiously and said she had never seen anyone knit a sock like this. I explained to her, and the rest of the waiting room, she was used to seeing cuff-down construction and this was toe-up. I don’t really know if anyone in that room believed me.

These are the penis cover socks I was knitting.

corridale knit socks

The socks are the Corriedale yarn from Bumblebee Acres Farm. I love it. The Corriedale has nice stitch definition. It is not as silky as Merino but it is sturdy. The best part is that unlike Merino which tends to grow when you wash it, Corriedale does not. It maintains it’s shape and size. So if you are having problems with socks that come out of the bath bigger than when they went in, try Corriedale.

As for knitting in public, I think I will always keep a pair of The Skipper’s socks on the needles as they are worked cuff-down and can’t be mistaken for anything other than a sock.

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camouflage-knitwear-joseph-ford-3 nina doddcamouflage-knitwear-joseph-ford-2 nina dodd

I call it urban knits but that is not it’s name. The designer is Nina Dodd. I think it is an interesting example that inspiration is all around us. Check out the rest of her knits at the link above.

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