The Finish Line

Pretty much all I have done for the past two and half weeks is watch the olympics and knit while watching.  Ok, well, that’s not ALL I did, but I sure did do quite a lot and I have two finished sweaters to prove it.

Knitting the stranded yoke on the husband’s Skogafjall while watching was challenging, but I made it through and all turned out well.  I’m still working on the tension in my stranded knitting.  I think during this project, I concluded that I was knitting too loosely, which was making my stitches look quite uneven, especially over the longer floats.  So, I tried to tighten up a little, which definitely helped.  I hope to make another one of these for myself, so I will get a little more practice with the stranded knitting.

Here it is on the husband just after I had finished it, but before I blocked it.  He was very pleased with it, except for the length.  For some reason, the pattern calls for the body length to be 18 inches, which is quite long for a sweater!  Well, I could fix it by cutting part of it out and grafting it back together, but I probably won’t do that.

I actually finished that sweater a few days before the olympics was over, so I spent the rest of the olympics working on my Carbeth sweater.

This is an amazingly fast knit.  It would have been even faster had I made the body as short as the pattern called for.  I actually made it 5 inches longer, which brought it to a 13 inch length.  I think that 11 or 12 would have been ok, too, but for me, I would not make it much shorter than that.

Pre-blocking, it was quite puckery around the decreases and I was worried about that, I will not lie.  However, some things really do block out and I was happy about the way this one did after its bath.

I used about 12 different yarns in the sweater, all but two were leftover from other projects.  Somehow, this made me even happier as I was knitting.  It felt so efficient and frugal!  It also seems to open up a lot of new knitting possibilities when one starts combining yarns.  Suddenly, the stash seems to take on a new life.  Laceweight could be combined with other yarns to produce a chunky weight to make more Carbeths!  When a sweater only calls for 600-800 yards of yarn, this becomes suddenly possible with just those lonely one or two skein bits of yarn that you know you’ve been collecting over the years.   Methinks this might not be the last Carbeth I make.

What do you think?



Pink is Next

Well, my olympic knitting sweater project is coming along nicely.

As I predicted, it has been nice to have lots and lots of stockinette stitch knitting to do while I watched the hours of olympic sports coverage.  For the first 12 inches, the knitting seemed to just fly by.  I couldn’t believe how fast it was knitting up but then, things sort of ground to a crawl.  I would do an hour or so of knitting, take a measurement, and find that it had not really grown much at all.  This happened several times and is common to all knitters at some point.  We like to call it the black hole of knitting.  Somehow, lots of yarn is being knit, but the project does not grow.  Most likely, it suffers from the malady of overattention.  The solution, of course, is to ignore it entirely and keep knitting, without taking measurements.  Then, inevitably, the knitter will overshoot the mark and have something too long.  Such is the way of knitting.

Fortunately, I had cookies and sleeves to help me along and break up the monotony a little.  A couple of nights ago, I declared the bottom part of the body done ( I was close enough to the required measurements and you know how much measurements lie anyway) and attached the sleeves.  Last night, I began the colorwork.

This is my favorite part.  The only problem is that it is hard to watch the actual olympic sports and pay attention to what color I am supposed to be knitting at the same time.  I will persevere, though, and hope that if I slow down my knitting a little, I will not make any horrendous mistakes.

Meanwhile, I have also been working on my Carbeth sweater here and there.  I finished the first sleeve, which hardly took any time at all, and began the second.  The pattern says to knit the body first and then the sleeves, but I wanted to do the sleeves first so that they would match.  Unfortunately, my weighing system did not work out as well as I had hoped, and I was short about an inch or so of the dark brown for the second sleeve.

This, I knew, would bother me, and since I was not too far along, I went ahead and fixed it, using some of the dark brown I had reserved for the body.  Good thing I knit the sleeves first!  This made me much happier, mostly because I think that, visually, it would be noticeable if the sleeves did not match, but not so jarring if the body does not match the sleeves since they are different shapes.

Things are coming along nicely now, and I am interested to see how the body will look once it’s finished.  I’m planning to make the body longer than the pattern calls for.  It’s too cold around here for a cropped chunky weight turtle-necked sweater.

All the brown and neutral colors were starting to get to me, though.  So, yesterday, I decided to quite waiting for a “convenient time” and warp my long hibernating loom.

Despite doing it wrong ( I warped around the wrong beam in the back), I think it will still work and carried on.  It only took three hours to get it ready to finally to some weaving.  Hopefully, that time will decrease with practice!

The weaving goes fast, though, and I am really enjoying the colors moving past.  This is some variegated yarn stash that I have struggled to find a knitting project for and just last week, I had the inspiration that weaving with it would be perfect and I was right.

For the warp yarn, I am using a giant cone of sock yarn that I bought at a seconds table several years ago at Rhinebeck.  I’m pretty sure I have enough yarn to make several scarves/wraps/cowls with it.  I definitely have plenty of variegated yarn in the stash to use with it as well.  I’m so happy to be weaving again.  I forgot how much I enjoy it.

And the colors are cheering me up during these late winter dreary days.  I think after those two brown sweaters above are done, I’m going to knit some colorful things.  Pink sounds good to me right now.

Winter is for Knitting

For some reason, this winter seems to be dragging on for me.  Maybe it’s the fact that I was sick for a month or maybe because we have had some record breaking low temperatures or maybe because we actually have not had much snow (for New England), but I have been feeling a little weary of winter.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love winter.  I much prefer winter to the sizzling hot summer.  However, I do get a little stir-crazy sometimes and I miss going on long walks or bike rides.  Exercise videos don’t hold my attention for long and  when the roads and sidewalks are slushy and icy, it’s hard to leave the house for any reason.

So, I look for anything that might be fun to do indoors and mostly, that involves knitting or sewing or baking.  This week, I was taken with the idea of knitting a Carbeth Sweater by Kate Davies.  The MasonDixon Knitting Ladies are spearheading a knitalong for this sweater in February.  When I saw that Kate herself knit a version of the sweater with two different colored yarns together, that gave me an idea.  I gathered some yarn–four to begin with.

These are some odd skeins of undyed yarns that have been hanging around in the stash for awhile.  I thought it would be cool to use up some of those skeins in this chunky sweater.  All four for these was a bit too chunky for the pattern, however.  Then, I had a moment of inspiration.

I gathered all my bits of leftover undyed yarns and sorted them into shades of color.  Maybe, just maybe I could put together some sort of gradient sweater. So, of course, I dived right in with the sleeve.

Here, I am using one strand of sport, one strand of fingering, and one strand of laceweight.  While I was knitting the dark cuff, I hatched a plan to make the sleeves and body sort of matchy.  The plan that I came up with was to divide each little ball of leftover yarn that I had into 3 parts.  One half of each type of yarn I would save for the body, and then one quarter of each would go towards each of the sleeves.  My kitchen scale was not up to the task of dividing those little skeins accurately enough, though.  Then, I remembered that we actually bought a lot of science lab equipment this year for high school physics labs and one of the things we bought was a mass balance scale.  It can weigh tenths of grams.  Hurray!

I’ve got most of the yarns divided now and was able to get almost a whole sleeve done in just one day.  Sadly, I needed to slow down the knitting a little because I was having trouble with one of my thumbs and chunky knitting is hard on my hands.  Hmmm, perhaps I have been knitting a little more than usual lately?  So, I took a day or so off from knitting and did some other things.

Starting today, though, I will embrace winter knitting once again because today the Winter Olympics begin! Actually, tv coverage began last night, but today is the official opening.  I really look forward to watching the olympics whenever it comes around (summer or winter) and I take that opportunity to tackle a nice knitting project to work on while watching the games.  This year, it’s a yoked sweater, surprise!

Three for the Road

2018 has started off well for me in the sweater finishing department.  I was able to finish three sweaters that I had started last year.  Unfortunately, some of my productivity was due to being sick for a lot of the month of January and many hours sitting by a pool, but regardless of how I got there, I am thrilled to be done with these.

Nor’easter by Thea Colman is a great all purpose cardigan.  I used West Yorkshire Spinners’ Jacob DK and it created a nice fabric.  Aside from the strange patch that I mentioned in my last post, the yarn was lovely to work with. I know I said I was going to fix that patch on the arm, but once I started wearing it, I found that I didn’t even really notice it was there.  So, I’m just going to leave it alone.  The only further modification I might make is to add pockets to the front since it looks a little plain right now.

The back, however is great.  I love that cable on the back.

I also finally got my Boreal sweater blocked.  As I expected, the Berroco Ultra Alpaca that I used grew a little when I blocked it, but the yarn is super soft and warm.  I kind of like it a little long, actually.  The neck feels a little bit better as well and most of the puckering has flattened out.  The colorwork on this pattern is a little more challenging than usual because some of the floats are very long, so I had to pay attention and catch them when they were spanning more than 5 stitches.  This can wreak havoc on the tension, but I think it blocked out mostly ok.  There are still a couple of puckery areas.

Last across the finish line is my Strokkur sweater.  This is my first sweater using Istex Lettlopi, but I don’t think it will be my last.  The yarn is a bit hairy and scratchy, but incredibly light and warm and very affordable.   I can see why Icelandic folk like to use it.  The fit on this sweater is particularly nice since it incorporates some short rows to lower the neck line and lengthen the back.  I always find it annoying when a sweater rides up on my neck in the front and pulls up in the back.

You might think that I would be tired of sweater knitting after all this, but no.  I’ve got plans for more.  Last night I spent some time swatching.

And last weekend, I didn’t bother to swatch before I started a new sweater.  I was sick again last weekend (just a cold, nothing major) and in need of some cheering up, so I grabbed some old stash of Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn and started this happy stripey cardigan.  The pattern is Mon Petit Gilet Raye and it’s free on Ravelry.

I think February is looking good.

Just Yoking

Remember last week when I mentioned that I did not like knitting sleeves?  Well, I take that back now.  Sleeves are awesome.  Sleeves are fun to knit.  They are especially great when you have three swim meets to go to in a week.

In fact, between swim meets and watching Victoria on PBS, all four of my dark grey sleeves are now done.

In some ways, I prefer sleeves to socks for travel knitting.  There’s no heel to turn or tiny stitches to drop accidentally when something exciting happens.  They are usually stockinette and you just have to remember to increase every once in awhile.  They also tend to grow faster than socks

For these colorwork sleeves, I did the plain parts while I was out and about, and then saved the colorwork part for home knitting.  Once I attached the sleeves to the main body, I discovered that I could not stop knitting it.

In just a few days, I had a nearly completed sweater.  Last night, I finished the knitting and have been wearing it all day.

It needs a blocking because the stitches are uneven and some of it is puckered.  However, it is comfy and warm.  My only complaint about the pattern is that the neck line in the front is a bit high for me.  I’d like for the front to scoop down a little more, but maybe that will be better after it is blocked.

As soon as I cast off Boreal, I immediately went to work attaching the sleeves on my next yoke sweater.  I’m excited to be finishing some sweater projects after a long spell of not finishing much.  It has also inspired me to dig around in my stash to plan for upcoming sweater projects.  I feel like I’m on a roll here and I would like to ride it as long as I can.  Unfortunately, swim meet season is now over, so no more poolside knitting for me.  It almost makes me sad that it’s over.  Almost, but not quite.  I’ll be glad to have some freedom back in our daily schedule, but it will probably mean that I will get less knitting done.  But wait.  The Winter Olympics are starting in a couple weeks!  Yay!  I need to get some knitting organized for that two week long tv watching marathon.  Be back soon.