Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Finished Object: A Tribute to Valerie

I always accuse Valerie of copying me (because she does!), but in reality, she and I simply have similar taste in knitwear and yarn. We are of one mind. I decided that instead of her trying to be me and me trying to be her, I should just WEAR her.


Pattern: Val from RYC’s AM to PM booklet
Yarn: RYC Baby Alpaca DK, 100% alpaca, color 200 Blossom, 10 balls
Needles: 2.75 mm, 3.25 mm, and 4.0 mm (US sizes 2, 3, and 6)

TubeCO.JPG• Another sample knit for Yarntopia. They wanted something relatively simple and none of the stockinette patterns jumped out at me, so I picked this one. I’m very happy with it. Such a lovely stitch pattern—the parts between he eyelets look braided to me. It was a quick and easy knit. (I could even working on it while watching movies with subtitles!)

• But just because something is easy doesn’t mean you can’t make it technically challenging. First challenging feature: tubular cast on! I have practiced the tubular cast on, but this was the first opportunity that I’ve had to use it on a garment. Boy is it pretty! However, the version of the tubular cast on that I used isn’t as stretchy as I would like. I the future, I will try other methods.

TubeBO.JPG• Challenging feature number two: Tubular bind off! First time that I’ve ever done it. Again, very pretty. It took me a bit to figure out how tight to pull the yarn during the bind off, so the first bit of the bind off is a little more sloppy than the rest. But I’m still happy.

• Challenging feature number three: Shortened sleeves. I’m sure that doesn’t sound very challenging, but let me explain. The stupid schematic made it impossible for me to easily find out the finished sleeve length. So I didn’t know if the sleeve was going to be too long or not. (Past experience with RYC patterns tells me that either I have abnormally short arms or British models are mutants with abnormally long arms.)

BraidedPattern.JPGTo determine my correct sleeve length, I measured from the back of my neck to my wrist and measured some well fitting sweaters. I needed a sleeve about 76 cm long from the back of my neck to wrist. Next, I had to measure the shoulder length of the completed back piece and subtract it from the back-to-wrist length to find the total sleeve length: 76 – 17 = 59 cm.

THEN I had to count the number of rows in the sleeve cap, multiply the number of rows by the row gauge to find the length of the sleeve cap, and subtract the sleeve cap length from the total sleeve length: 59 – 18 = 41 cm.

So 41 cm was the length of the sleeve before the sleeve cap shaping. Lo and behold, the math worked perfectly. The sleeves are the right length!

I’m sure you’ve all noticed that I’m not wearing the sweater in these photos. Trust me, it fits well. I tried doing the self-timer thing and no amount of good lighting, good focusing, and good photo composition can make up for awkward poses and goofy facial expressions. So I had to resort to Scout-modeled photos.


(In case you are wondering: Getting Scout into the sweater was not a problem at all. She liked it! Her own alpaca sleeping bag! Getting her out was not as easy. She didn’t want to leave. No, she’s not a stuffed cat.)

Friday, September 21, 2007

A good thing, a bad thing, and an other thing

A Good Thing

Furry, fuzzy, pink yarn! Sarah sent me some amazing pink angora. “Vintage!” she said. Apparently it is from stash that she inherited from a relative. It came in a little box and I really want to play with it. But it looks so nice in the box and (as evidenced by the messy looking ball in the lower right corner of the box) I’m unable to put the yarn back into the box as nicely as it was before. Thank you so much Sarah!


A Bad Thing

I knitted another sweater for Yarntopia. That’s not the bad thing. The yarn is yummy, the sweater is well designed, and the pattern was clear—all that was good. The bad thing was the schematic. What’s the point of this schematic? It doesn’t contain any information to make it useful! All the measurements in it could be read of the pattern. But to make a bad thing even worse: That’s not the sweater in the pattern! The schematic shows nice, feminine waist shaping. The sweater has straight sides. Sigh!


An Other Thing

I’ll bet that you thought “An Other Thing” was a typo. It’s not. My other thing is that I’m pursuing a new hobby. This week, I went back to school to take a Basics of Photography class at the Rice University School of Continuing Studies. I want to know how to use all those manual settings on my camera. I want to know how to take better photos.


As a result, I think my knitting and certainly my knit blogging will slow down over the next few months. However, I will be uploading feeble attempts at completing my class assignments on my Flickr page. I even created a new collection for the class. Each assignment will go in its own set. I can only show two photos per assignment to the class, so comments on the photos posted are welcome, appreciated, and desperately wanted.

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Really Long Post

This post was originally twice the current length. Seriously. Apparently I thought I was so important that I needed to say much more. The first version of this post was a description of all my trials and tribulations with Morrigan (so far). But I decided that it would be too boring for anyone not making Morrigan. I considered not publishing the post at all, but thought that those 15 or so of you who are knitting Morrigan might actually want to read what I have to say. So I present a two-part post: Part 1 is general interest and Part 2 is obsessive compulsive ramblings about Morrigan.

Part 1: Finished Object: Baby Bobbi Bear


Pattern: Baby Bobbi Bear published by Blue Sky Alpaca
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpaca Sport Weight (100% baby alpaca), natural white, 3.5 hanks and scraps of natural light tan
Needles: 5.5 mm (US size 9) DPNs
Drew gave me the kit to make this bear. I love love love the bear, the yarn, the pattern—EVERYTHING!

ScoutAndBobbi.jpg• Like S t a c i before me, I ran out of yarn. S t a c i had graciously offered her extra yarn, but I didn’t take it because I wanted an excuse to visit Twisted Yarns. I had never been to that store before and I thought that it was time to go. While I was there I picked up yarn for another Baby Bobbi Bear (did I tell you that I love this pattern?) and I stumbled upon the most gorgeous shade of Silky Wool that I had ever seen. (Click the link! See the pretty yarn!) I bought it with the intention of making the Twisted Yoke Cardigan from the latest Interweave Knits, but now I think it is destined for something else.

• I have not yet determined if the cats are a threat to Bobbi. I haven’t had the courage to allow Bobbi to sit out unsupervised. So far Scout has attacked Bobbi’s ribbon and Cleo has licked Bobbi. Was Cleo getting a taste of Bobbi for future feasting? I don’t know and I don’t want to find out.

Part 2: Morrigan “Errors”

Things happened as I was knitting the body of Morrigan. Everything worked out fine for me, but I went through a lot of charting and mathing and thinking and discussing and waffling to finish the body of the sweater. (This is the real reason why it took me so long to get from the armpits to the shoulders on Morrigan.)

MorriganSleevesAfter all that, I was pretty sick of Morrigan and I jokingly said that I was thinking about turning Morrigan into a vest. I really had no intention of making a vest. In fact, I’ve started the sleeves. But anyway, onto the business at hand.

If you are looking for tips, hints, or errata for Morrigan, you have two choices: Easy or Convoluted.

Other than the teeny-tiny error that I found in Chart B, the instructions for the body of Morrigan are completely correct. Do not follow the correction to the side chart that I mentioned in an earlier post.

Part 1: The Side Chart “error” and its ramifications
I posted the Side Chart corrections on the No Sheep for You KAL. It just so happened that the person who tech-edited the pattern saw my post and commented on it. Apparently, the “error” was in the original pattern but the tech-editor didn’t realize it was an error. (Which is completely fine, the pattern still works, the error really is just a matter of esthetics.) But here’s the rub: The tech-editor worked out ALL the stitch counts from the armpit up with the “error” in there! What’s the problem? If you correct the “error” in the way that I posted your stitch counts will not match the stitch counts in the pattern.

MorriganShoulder1Okay, I’m highly math enabled. I can rework stitch counts, no problem. Thankfully, I decided that I would work out the stitch counts BEFORE I started any “error” correcting. With the help of math, a diagram that I built in Excel, and a careful study of the photos in the book, I noticed something interesting about the “error” and my possible correction. Look at the photo. Along the shoulder seam there is a column of twisted knit stitches. Very elegant, don’t you think?

That column of stitches is Chart F in the pattern. If I corrected the “error” I would not have that nice, strong column of stitches next to my shoulder seam. Instead, Chart C (that pretty cable next to the column of stitches) would be right up next to the seam. So I had a dilemma: Fix the “error” as my anal retentive side said or ignore it to please my artistic side. I chose to ignore the “error.” (gasp!)

Part 2: The error that both there and not there
I should pause for a moment to tell you that as I was working through all these error/no error issues, I was corresponding heavily with the tech-editor. She’s a saint. I think I love her.

In our email conversations, she noted that when you finished working all the armhole and neck shaping, you would have three more stitches on the back shoulders than you would have on the front shoulders. However, one must have the same number of stitches on the front and the back to do a proper three-needle bind-off. So, Ms. Tech-Editor told me, she had worked in decreases on the back shoulders to get rid of the extra stitches. I checked my math, confirmed what she said, and went on my merry way.

But then I got an email from someone else who was making Morrigan. Janis had surged ahead of me during all my mathing and charting and futzing. She was up to the shoulder shaping already and had a question about what she believed to be missing markers. Somewhere in the back shoulder shaping, the instructions say something about knitting to a marker and turning. The marker indicated one side of the back neck shaping.

What Janis didn’t realize (or forgot) was that the markers for the back neck shaping were placed on the VERY FIRST ROW of the pattern. Janis had placed markers all around her Morrigan and didn’t realize that back neck shaping markers were different from all the other markers on her needles. Anyway, I didn’t email Janis back immediately because she emailed me at night and I didn’t check my mail until the morning. So she emailed Jenna, too.

So by the time I did check my mail, I had the original question from Janis and a forwarded correction from Jenna in my in box. (Jenna also took the opportunity to point out that someone was beating me on Morrigan.) But wait! It gets more exciting!

Jenna ALSO didn’t realize that the back neck markers were already placed! So in her correction, she added a line right before the back shoulder shaping instructions saying to place markers X many stitches from each side of the back. BUT what I immediately realized was that the originally placed markers were not X number of stitches away from the sides. In fact, the original makers were X+3 stitches from each edge.

You see what’s happening, don’t you? The whole time Jenna meant for the number of stitches on the shoulders to be the same. The markers placed in the very first row are placed in the wrong place! Each marker should be placed 3 stitches closer to the center of the work.

But if you do this, you should not do the decreases on the back that get rid of the extra stitches because the extra stitches will not be there! If you move the markers to the corrected positions and do the decreases, you will end up with 3 fewer stitches on the back shoulders than you have on the front shoulders. (Whew! did you follow that?)

So what did I do? I moved the markers and didn’t do the decreases because it made much more sense to work it that way.

If you managed to read all of that: Congratulations! Sorry it was so long, but you know what it says at the top—I use too many words to describe what I’m doing.