Tuesday, July 26, 2016

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Gauge Issues

One of the craziest things that we do is take yarn, knitting needles, and expect to get a wearable garment at the end of the process. So many things can go wrong. It's an indication of the single-mindedness of making something that we believe that there will be something that fits, at the end.

All the same, I keep knitting sweaters. And most of them turn out great. I try to stick with designers whose designs work for my size - short, long in the torso, a little wider at the hips than the shoulders - so that going in, I have a better chance of a good result. I've started to recognize what looks good on me, too. And I've knit enough to also begin to have an idea of where to start when swatching for gauge.

But all of that goes out the window when I try to knit for my husband. There's something that goes wonky when I cast on a much larger number of stitches. Instead of getting gauge and a reasonably-sized sweater, I am knitting a sweater for the Hulk. The very first sweater that I knit for him, way before I knew anything about gauge or changing needle size or schematics, was a navy blue gansey designed by Jo Sharp. When finished, I could have fit two to three large football players inside that sweater.

This winter he requested a Cowichan-style cardigan. Kind of like Andrea Rangel's The Dude. But knit, like my Fringeandfriends Cowichan-style vest, in Puffin. I checked the gauge of my vest. I measured his favorite fleece. I measured him. I cast on for a cardigan with about 5" of ease.

The result so far: huge! Much much larger than my intended width of 44 inches. About 8 inches larger, in fact. So wide that it looks ridiculous. Same size knitting needles. Same yarn. Same type of garment. But instead of getting 3.25 stitches to the inch, I am getting only 2 to 3 stitches to the inch.

What is happening, folks? I tend to be a very loose knitter, but this time I've done the homework, and my vest is perfect and a great fit, and more than large enough to count as a good reliable blocked swatch. All I've come up with is that when I work with a much larger number of stitches than usual, I have less tension between stitches, and my gauge opens up even more than usual. Version 3.0 will be cast on tomorrow: the plan for now is to cast on at a rate of 2.5 stitches to the inch and hope for a human-sized result.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


A misty picture from the window of my room in Burrastow House on Scotland.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Blue fingernails make everything better.

Tapas re Middlemarch

This line from Middlemarch reminded me of the Yoga-Sutra-s of Patanjali:

"I have insisted to him on what Aristotle has stated with admirable brevity, that for the achievement of any work regarded as an end there must be a prior exercise of many energies or acquired facilities of a secondary order, demanding patience."

Of course, this being said by Casaubon, there is no brevity. Still, I like the sentiment. Achievement takes lots of practice and patience.

I am hoping to apply patience and practice to reading some of Middlemarch each morning as I eat breakfast. Currently on page 71 of 738.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Too early?

Is it too early for a cocktail at noon?


Swatching colors in Rowan Felted Tweed DK for a fair isle vest. And trying to sit in a patch of sunshine. Another week of frigid dry cold weather.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sweater Attack

I am determined to finish this sweater.

I have attacked the sleeve not fotting issue by running a line of stitches on the sewing machine and cutting away the excess fabric in the armhole and sleeve cap.

Almost ready to just seam the sleeve on by machine. But that's impossible to rip. So I will try again by mattress stitching by hand.

The third picture is the other sleeve. The lump at the top is what the sweater surgery hopefully will remove. Most of the puffiness seems to be steeking that should have folded in nicely instead of bunching up.

Sometimes you learn by study. Sometimes by mistakes. (I prefer method 1.)

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Cutting the steek

Crocheted the center steek for the baby fair isle sweater after an abandoned effort to machine sew it.

Next up is picking up the ribbing along the front edges. Crocheting button loops. Buying buttons. Sewing on buttons. Blocking.

This little sweater is having its own gestation period.