Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Finished Object: "Gray" Cabled Vest


Pattern: Gray Blue Cabled Vest from Men Who Knit and the Dogs Who Love Them, size 46-inch chest + added stitches to make a size 48-inch chest
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, double stranded, 65% wool, 35% silk, color 10, 9+ hanks (I think I could have finished it with 9 hanks if I had ripped out my rather large swatch)
Needles: US size 8 (5 mm) and 10 (6 mm)
Recipient: Peter
Cat: Elly
Errata: Okay, there are a lot of errors in this pattern. I emailed my corrections to Annie Modesitt but she has not yet placed all of them on her website. So, I’ll detail the mistakes that I found here.

VestBack1.jpgChart Errors
1. Charts A and C have several rows outlined in red to indicate that those rows are worked twice. The corresponding rows on Chart B are not outlined in red but they should also be repeated.

2. Charts A and C have two sets of rows marked 1–2. The first of these rows are set-up rows for the cable pattern. Chart B does not have similar set-up rows. If you work the set-up rows in Charts A and C, be sure to add set-up rows for Chart B. Or you can omit the set-up rows in Charts A and C. However, if you do work the set-up rows remember that you do NOT repeat the set-up rows when you repeat the rest of the cable pattern.

3. There are empty boxes in Chart A, set-up row 2. The stitches are the same as the stitches below them.

4. In Chart C, Row 56 there are four stitches that are marked as purl stitches that should be marked as knit stitches. They are in the 7th, 8th, 11th, and 12th boxes from the left.

Pattern Errors
5. Front Neck Shaping: The second instruction says to “BO (#) sts at neck edge every row 3 times.” You can’t do that. You’re working back and forth. So you can only BO stitches at the beginning of every other row. (The next instructions says to “BO (#) sts at neck edge every other row,” so the first instruction is not just a typo.) To correct this, I took the total number of stitches to be bound off on the three rows, divided that number by 2 and bound off the resulting number of stitches on the next two alternate rows.

6. Front Shoulder Shaping: Instructions say to begin shoulder shaping when the fronts measure “X inches” from the start of the armhole shaping. Unfortunately, “X inches” is not equal to the measurement where the back shoulder shaping started. The value for X is wrong. I used the measurement value from the back.

7. Buttonhole Row: The number of stitches don’t add up for the two sizes that I checked. I simply made evenly spaced buttonholes.

OneRepeat.JPGComments: Despite the errors, I really liked knitting this pattern. The cables are great—each cable “repeat” is 96 rows tall. Yes, you read that correctly: ninety-six rows. Here’s a photo of the back after I finished the first “repeat.” I put repeat in quotes because the repeat is never fully repeated.

I would say more about the vest, but this post is already insanely long thanks to the errata.

But hey, designers could you avoid put colors in the names of your patterns? We all like using different colors. It’s annoying to hold up a blue vest and say, “This is the Gray Cabled Vest” and have people look at you funny.

VestWithScout.JPGScout eventually needed to get into the photo action. I love the expression on Peter’s face.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

In defense

In the comments of the last post, a couple of you expressed shock and displeasure over the Jenna Wilson's quote. In defense of Jenna, I want to set a couple of things straight.

First, in my email to Jenna, I asked her advice on the impossible. I am between two sizes in the Morrigan pattern. After reading the pattern, I realized that there was pretty much NO HOPE of ever resizing the pattern. If you read the pattern you will understand why. The sweater is entirely cabled. There are no stockinette panels to play around with. All the shaping in the sweater is done by changes in the cable patterns. Jenna created the different sizes for the sweater by playing around with the number and arrangement of cable patterns.

Second, the quote was only the first sentence in very lengthy email from Jenna. Although Jenna did not have a super secret way to easily resize the sweater, she gave me a lot of information about the fit (ease) of the sweater and instructions on how to lengthen the sweater. She was extremely helpful and kind.

Third, the fact that Jenna has not knit the sweater is not as unusual as you might think. Many knitwear designers, particularly big-name full-time designers, simply do not have the time to knit every single garment that they design. Most of these designers employ sample knitters—skilled knitters who make the garments that you see in books and magazines.* If you lose respect for a designer simply because he or she has not knit one of his or her garments, then I suspect that you will be losing respect for designers such as Fiona Ellis, Norah Gaughan, Annie Modesitt, and many others.

I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for Jenna Wilson. She created a beautiful and amazingly complex sweater by swatching and using math. The fact that she was able to do this without ever handling the garment is a tribute to her skill and ability as a designer.

Coming up soon:
Peter’s vest—finished and modeled!
What I did this weekend. Hint: It involved math and two people named Amy and Jillian.

* Also note that sample knitters are different from “test knitters.” Test knitters are knitters of any ability who are given the pattern to test. Sample knitters are experienced knitters who are paid to produce a perfect garment.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Declaration of War

The objective: Morrigan

The weapons: 80 cm Addis in sizes 2.5 mm, 3.0 mm, and 3.25 mm, row counters galore, and Entrelac no-dangle stitch markers.*

The ammunition: Calmer

The battle plans: Colored pencils to color code the cable charts as necessary.

The enemy: None. This is knitting. Nothing can be evil.

Expert commentary on the war:

“If only the sizing has you worried, then you are braver than I... after all, I never actually completed this sweater!” –Jenna Wilson, the designer of Morrigan, in an email response to my question about sizing

“This [pattern] makes experienced knitters cry.” —Amy Singer during a television interview for a Canadian morning news program

Outcome of the first skirmish: Victory! I got gauge with 3.0 mm needles, though the swatch with the 3.25 mm needles was only 0.2 cm wider. I may consider using the larger needle in hopes of “upsizing” the sweater slightly.

* Apparently Ana’s stitch markers are all the rage now, with all the cool kids blogging about them. I will now smugly inform you that I have owned these stitch markers for nearly a year—since before they were sold on Etsy. Ana gave these markers to me after I expressed extreme jealously of the markers that she gave to Monkee.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Love, Love Changes Everything! *

I am overwhelmed! I can’t believe how many comments Scout’s sweater received. I tried to thank each of you personally for your comment, but I couldn’t find blogs or email addresses for all of you. So, if I haven’t thanked you yet, THANK YOU! Scout thanks you, too.

I’ll now confess that part of the reason why I knit a sweater for Scout was that I had lost almost all desire to knit. It was all Lotus’s fault. I felt like I needed to finish it, but I couldn’t bear to knit it either. So I didn’t knit anything and I was sad. Scout’s sweater was intended to be something to lift my knitting spirits. I think it helped me on the road to recovery. Lotus is hereby banished to the “deal with it later” corner of the yarn room.

But still, I needed something to get me really excited about knitting again. And then it happened. I saw THIS:


I first saw it on Wannietta's blog and nearly swooned. How could I not love that sweater? Cables, cables, and more cables. And it looks so HARD. Seriously, my heart started racing when I saw that photo for the first time. Moments later, I ordered the book (No Sheep for You) and began shopping for yarn. Happily, I found some pinky lavender Calmer on sale at Janette’s Rare Yarns. But hmm…that’s still a lot of money for one sweater.

MorriganYarn.JPGSo I did what I always do before I spend a lot of money: I called Peter for “permission.” (I’m not really asking for permission, because I’ll still spend the money if I really want to, but I feel better if Peter knows about my big purchases before I make them. So don’t think I’m some sort of oppressed woman who isn’t allowed to do anything without her husband’s stamp of approval. In fact, Peter has told me that I don’t have to check in with him all the time. I do it more for my peace of mind than for his.)

Anyway, as usual, Peter laughed at me and told me to go ahead and get the yarn even though it was for another pink cabled sweater. (At least he’s learned that one can never have too many pink cabled sweaters.) However, he said, I had to make HIS vest first. Oops. Forgot about that. Some time ago, Peter had picked out the Gray Cabled Vest from Men Who Knit & the Dogs Who Love Them and I had recently purchased the yarn to make said vest.

So what does a knitter who is obsessed with pink cabled sweaters do while she’s waiting for her pattern and her yarn to arrive? She knits a vest for the man she loves:


Well, it’s not done yet, but it’s getting there. You’re seeing about a week’s worth of knitting. I’d say that I got my knitting mojo back, wouldn’t you?

* Bonus points if you know where those words are from.