Monday, September 1, 2008

Knitting Progress Report

Thank you for putting my acquisitions into perspective! There is also a good reason why MaggieB's purchases were similar to mine and Maggie knows why. She and I travel to Camp together and sit next to each other (or close enough) that we can be enabled by each other's decisions. We definitely brain-wash each other with our purchases. Or maybe it is a keeping up with the Joneses sort of thing.

In the interest of knitting up all this lovely stuff, I present to you today my progress on the Wild Apple. These photos were shot early in the am using a flash, rather in daylight without the flash so the colors are bit off. But you can see what I need you to see.
I am about half-way down the first sleeve. I consider it halfway as the lower part of the sleeve is smaller than the upper. Instead of a ribbed cuff, I am going to do a set of the apples in colorwork on the cuff and then do a turned hem.I did a turned hem on the bottom of the body. I split the front and back at the side seam and knitted little facings. I spent a lot of time imagi-knitting this section and debating exactly what I was going to do. My concerns had to do with ensuring the edges didn't curl and reinforcing the split point which is typically just a running thread between two stitches. I remembered that Beth Brown Reinsel had suggested adding an extra st to the front and knitting it together with the first st of the back in Knitting Ganseys. She also had the front slightly wider than the back so the slit wasn't exactly at the side seam. The idea here is that you don't get that flare where the split is right at your hips on the side. It moves slightly to the back, not visibly so, but enough that the gap isn't exactly at the side. I used both of these techniques quite successfully in a gansey I knit a couple of years ago.

I moved the split 3-4 sts towards the back. That is about a half inch at my gauge (9 spi). I didn't have extra sts to knit together as I was knitting downward. So I just did a twist at the split, crossing the front st over the back. But as I knit the split sections, I noticd that the split was pulling apart. More thinking and imagi-knitting.

I was also concerned about the side edges of the split rolling. So I knew I had to do a hem there also. My first thought was to knit the hem the full depth of the split so I could sew the sides also. But I wanted a fairly deep split of 2.5" vs the 1" I had originally thought I was going to do. I also didn't really like knitting the split sections. I had 2 balls of yarn and was knitting them both together as I didn't want to have to count rows/rnds and make them match. I also don't mind purling but this wasn't just purling. I had to turn the sweater in opposite directions to avoid twisting the two yarns and to avoid having to lift and turn the sweater after each row. I also had to end in the middle of the front or back as it is difficult to tell where to start if you end at the side seam. For some reason, I don't like that. I like to stop knitting a row, as opposed to a round, at the end. I don't care where I pause on a round, for some reason. Weird, isn't it?

Anyway, I quickly realized that I didn't want to knit 2.5 more inches for the hem. So I came up with the idea of just knitting little side hems. In the process, I realized that I could also reinforce the split at the same time. Those tails are a bit longer than the 2.5" of the split. So after I sew up the sides of the split, I will sew the ends of the tails together above the split and hem it to the body at the side seam. That should provide enough reinforcement for those delicate threads at the split point. Stay tuned to hear if it all works out.

How did I have so much opportunity to imagi-knit? Think about all those rounds and rows of stockinette I was doing at 11 rows per inch. Plenty of time to try out all sorts of ideas and reject them. Also, you heard about imagi-knitting here first. I got the idea and the term from Kurt Fowler, a regular on the Sweater Wizard discussion group. I am a big-time imagi-knitter. I visualize what I'm going to do and how it might work out or not in my head. This allows me to anticipate and prevent major problems while also allowing me to decide between various solutions/options without wasting time knitting them up. It doesn't help with problems that were caused by inattention, stupidity or mis-calculation, but it helps me see when a technique might be a problem or not the correct solution.
Here's a shot of the waist shaping. It isn't entirely accurate because the armhole and hip width are the same. It looks as if the hip is wider in this shot. I must not have pulled out the armhole and positioned it correctly.

The sleeve is going along swimmingly. I did a provisional CO a la Barbara Walker aka the eensy-weensy spider CO and then used the same cotton thread to hold the sts for the sleeve. This kept the gapping at the armhole to a minimum and I only had to pick up a st or two to prevent a gap between the underarm sts and the sleeve sts. Remember my gauge. A st is nothing.

I am also using safety pins to count the decreases (as I did for the raglan increases and the waist shaping. This means I only have to count 4 rows at a time by holding the sweater up to the light and counting 3 holes above the pin before I need to make another decrease. Counting rows is difficult in this yarn, gauge and color. The yarn is fuzzy, the sts are tiny and the color doesn't reflect enough light. I put a pin on every decrease st.

I think I have made most of the decisions needed for this sweater. So my mind is moving on to the next one. I will have more on that next week but I thought I'd share some other thoughts related to last week's post.
This is the mitten from the Latvian Mittens book that I want to knit. It has 3 colors - a black background, a blue main design color and a purple complementary design color. A few weeks ago, I told you I was playing around with the yarn I bought at Camp for a chu'llo and a pair of mittens. This is what I came up with for the mittens and after a few weeks, I still like it. I have to see how it knits up. of course.
The main color is at the bottom. It is a heathery mid-brown from Harrisville Shetland that I bought from Elann. That will replace the black in the mitten. The light blue will be the main design color and the magenta on the right will replace the purple. The effect will be a bit different as the contrast and main design colors are similar in the original color scheme with the background being darker in value. Here the contrast design and the background are similar in value (though widely different in hue) and the main design color is much lighter. We'll have to see how that plays out in the actual knitting.

Next week I hope to show you some of my experiments with designing a sweater with the Lorna's Laces yarn I won at Camp.

1 comment:

vanessa said...

your wild apple is so lovely!
maybe when it's cooler i'll start mine.