Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Dialogue Continues

Notice anything different from yesterday? Like 1.75" less knitting? That's because Melanie and I both goofed. I incorrectly thought the bottom was a hemmed edge. Melanie got the chart wrong. Off to the frog pond!

The bottom edge is in fact a garter stitch pattern not turned under and hemmed. My goof. But Melanie, Melanie, Melanie. Your chart is wrong, wrong, wrong. Take a gander at the swatches and then troll back to my post of November 18 which shows the pattern photo. You will detect there a distinct checkerboard border made with the two main colors. Now check (so to speak) yesterday's photo and see that what I knitted in stocking stitch is not really a checkerboard either. Close, but no cigar. The border is supposed to be a single thickness of garter stitch. Fine. As I said, my boo-boo. But have a squint at your chart A1, Mizz Melanie. Garter stitch, yes--alternate knit and purl rows on the front side. But if you alternate 2-dark-2-light stitches horizontally and alternate dark-light every row vertically, you get the mashed-up muddle in the swatch on the right (and yes, that is the front side and I am carrying the floats at the back). Only if you alternate pairs of rows dark-light will you get the checkerboard effect seen in the pattern photo. And the actual checkerboard you get is really pleasing texture-wise. The switching of the alternate yarns in the purl rows makes a tiny crease between each "square" that makes each one stand out in a little bump.

So that's what's going on the needles now. 2 x 2 color alternation in both dimensions and, I hope, no trips to the frog pond for at least 16 rows!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dialogue in the Bleak Midwinter

These bleak midwinter days sure are hard on an Alaska knitblogger's photography. There are only about 3 hours in the middle of the day when it's bright enough to take photos that, even with a flash, show your knitting decently. So it's not always possible to get a picture of every stage that you'd like to illustrate. Ponder the irony of a pattern called Winter Sunset.

Reader, I've cast on. 346 stitches. And I commenced the 16 rows of bottom facing. And then I contemplated what the pattern had asked me to do and cussed at it. (This happened at night, ergo no photo.) What the pattern wanted was a 2-color checkerboard garter stitch. Really? I checked the book and rechecked it about 43 times. Can you think of a FATTER fabric than 2-color checkerboard garter stitch? For a facing? Melanie Elizondo (the designer), are you kidding me? What you want in a facing (well, certainly what I want) is something slightly smaller than the outside of the sweater, knit possibly in a smaller gauge (check) with fewer stitches (check) that will lie flat inside out of sight, doing its job of stabilizing and weighting the edge without calling attention to itself. If ever there was a formula for a foofy flaring bottom edge it is this garter stitch inside with stocking stitch outside. So rip it, rip it, rip it and cast it all on again and do it in checkerboard stocking stitch. I was tempted to be really radical and do an even thinner single color stocking stitch (or stripes?) but decided on this middle path.

Next I realized that the pattern does not call for what always serves turned edges well, namely a purl row to define said edge. At about this point I realized that Winter Sunset Cardigan is not going to be a pattern, but a dialogue between Melanie E and me. She will present her ideas and I will evaluate them for reasonableness and liklihood of good results, and then proceed with what experience tells me is a reasonable course. This is not going to be a quick knit.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Darker shade of pale

This is old news, but I still want to show off, so bear with me. The items above were my contributions to the faaaaabulous prizes in the attendance promotion for one of my water aerobics classes. The prizes have to be something you've made yourself or gotten for free. Scarves are a synthetic pink/blue/silver ribbon yarn, two furry ones (they are so fluffy they almost look like real fur) made from and elann.com eyelash, and a black kettle-dyed merino one. Also in the group is the linen string bag you've seen previously, plus a water bottle from I can't remember where, a cookbook that I got as a prize elsewhere, and a pair of commercial snowman socks that are cute, but wouldn't fit my clodhoppers. They are all by now gone to their new homes, to ladies who have been maintaining their committment to fitness!
On to the real reason for the post. More swatcherama for the Winter Sunset fair isle cardigan. I took Lori's advice, bit the bullet, and got me the original background yarn. You see above the three tan colors I have now swatched. On the left the KnitPicks Palette in Oyster, on the right KnitPicks Palette in Camel heather, and in the middle the winnah, Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift 2-Ply in Eesit, all photographed on a background of snow for best contrast with the ultimate white. It even looks like the gauge will still work with the mixed yarns; I will know for sure when the washed and blocked new swatch is dry.

Nerdlinks: Eesit is one of the wonderful Shetland names for natural fleece color. Others are Moorit, Shaela, Awt, Emsket, Mooskit, Sholmit. The yarns are here; examples of the fleeces here.

I promise that the next time I bore you with this sweater I will have actually cast on! Aren't you thrilled?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's in the bag

Another FO for my class prizes. It started out to be the net bag from Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines (available free here) but the fancy stitches were too complicated for me to understand quickly and I needed a product, not skill advancement. So I used the stitch count and general scheme and the Louet linen yarn prescribed, but made up an easier stitch pattern. Rinsed it and sorta blocked it to set the stitches and shape and here it is.

Deadline is December 11. Can I whip up something else by then? Tune in for our next thrilling chapter.