Saturday, February 02, 2008

New year, new yarn

I wanted to call this Loose Knits Sink Ships, but I resisted. Well, at least in the title, which is a zone of many puns.

Here's my swatch for Ilga Leja's Antique Lace, worked in Handmaiden Lady Godiva, a worsted weight silk-wool. Pattern calls for a size 7 needle. I went down to a size 6, and the gauge is still loose. But lately, I've been finding that there is a difference between the way that I knit a swatch - even a large one - and the way that I knit once I'm working the project. With both the Snap Cardigan and Bianca's Jacket, the larger the piece that I'm working on, the tighter and faster I knit. The result is that my size small sweaters end up a shade smaller than I want them to be, a bit shorter in the body or a bit tighter in the chest. I've jury-rigged solutions by using a brooch to close the front, instead of buttons (I hate making buttonholes, a perfectionist's nightmare), but I still want to know why: why would knitting longer rows at a quicker pace tighten my knitting up?

Here's today's You Had A Hard Week at Work and Deserve a Present. Misti Alpaca Chunky to make the Juliet pattern from Zephyrstyle.
My favorite yarn store set a display at the front, with a sample of this cropped cardigan with lace panels and a copy of the pattern for inspection. It was like the Sirens calling to Odysseus. I could only resist it so many times. Today I gave in. Instant gratification knitting is needed. For me, that probably means two or three weeks of work, compared to the weekend that it would take my friend Joyce and the day that it took the shop owner to make the sample. Never mind.

I'm in swatch hell again, though. I tested the gauge with a 10.5 needle and it was huge - 10 stitches instead of 14 to 4". I worked about 10 rows on the next size needle down, and that felt too tight. Switched back and started over with the 10.5. Left it to brew while we went to the symphony. (Go, coronet section in Petrushka! And Pierre Boulez: I want to be that spry at 83. And even a Berlioz song cycle that I enjoyed.) Came home and measured the size 9 work so far: dead on where the measurements should be for size small. So, here's the next choice: struggle some to knit with the size 9 needle, or switch to the 10.5 and make the X-small size a bit bigger than the specs? Like sewing, knitting doesn't allow for much guaranteed planning.

And lastly, Misti Alpaca laceweight to go with the beautiful Schaefer laceweight silk-wool given to me by Joan. You can't see much purple in the skein, but in real life, these look goood together. This one is going to be a very long-term project. I'm thinking of trying Wing of the Moth: a gigantic lace shawl designed by Anne Hanson, or something rectangular that could double as a blanket when I fly. On an airplane.

1 comment:

FairyGodKnitter said...

I swear this post wasn't here when I emailed you this morning. Love the Misti with the silk - it should be perfect for Wing O'the Moth. And the Chunky yarn, have you tried a size 10 needle? Would that put you between the 9 and the 10.5? The Alpaca is so soft that it might be harder to knit too tight as time goes on.