Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sweater for Little-Sis

The resident eleven year old recently announced she needed a sweater. These moments don't come often, so this is a drop-everything situation. We looked at pictures and he decided a Norwegian sweater would be best.

At first she was thinking along these lines:

Which is pretty amazing. It is by Shiri Mor and I think is about everything I love in a sweater. Little-sis mostly liked the hair. After a visit to the Knitting Basket she changed her mind to brown and blue and wanted a bit more input into the pattern, plus "more snow-ish". And for the record, if you are in Richmond and HAVEN'T been to the new location for the Knitting Basket it is worth a trip. Decent selection and super friendly. 

Back to the sweater, the base is just plain old Fisherman's wool. I have a serious love affair with that stuff. Once ball is enough for an entire kid sweater plus some. Two balls is enough for a sweater for me. I'm guessing the mister would be three if he let me knit for him. The blue is some left over Knit Picks and Rowan.

So we swatched, and liked it OK. I tend to do a rough swatch, then start with a sleeve. If gauge hold true, you are fine. If you are wildly off, frogging a few inches of sleeve isn't too painful.


And then we measured, and swatched some more:

And hated it. Dark blue on the brown is too hard to see, and not nearly "snow-ish" enough. So then then we watched Star Trek and planned:

I use Excel for planning out knitting. Just set the column width to 3 and use the fill option to create your pattern. Very easy to copy and paste to create repeats. Then I swatched again - much better. It caused a lot of happy bouncing.

It has been a lot of fun planning this with her. Big sis usually want something very "one color" and there's not a lot of chit-chat about design. Little-sis, like everything else in her world, throws herself head on into the process.

Some details:
  • Yarn weight: worsted
    • Lion Brand Nature's Brown
    • Rowan Pure Wool Worsted in 2 blues
    • Knit Picks Swish in Big Sky
  • Needles: Size 5
  • Gauge: 5 st/inch, 7 rows/inc in plain sections, 6 rows/inch in stranded parts
General plan is to knit the body in the round with a steek. I am leaving 10 stitches for the steek. I originally cast on 140, then realized that once I added 1" button bands to the opening it was going to be a mite big. So I absorbed an extra 8 stitches into the steek with some ktog over several rows. My figuring is the extra fabirc in the first seven rows will just get folded back ito the steek.

Size is coming out just right. Sleeves and half the lower body are done. I'd like to get this together before she has another massive growth spurt. She'd like it a bit smaller, but I am banking on growth.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Darn it!

This fall's knitting theme has been finish it/fix it. Fortunately after the last crazy year I have plenty of fuel. Between leaving one job and starting a non-profit sleep, much less knitting time, has been at a premium around here.

Darned sock - the same yarn was used for the darn and the original sock. The fading was terrible.

The best part of fix it/finish it is the time from re-picking up the project to completion is so much faster. Lots of finished things flying off the needles. My main fix it inspiration has been Tom of Holland - The Visible Mending Programme: making and re-making.

Before weaving in the ends

These socks are about 5 years old. I bought the yarn while in Lynchburg doing an AP Computer Science training several years back, and we very excited about the bright colors.. The yarn has held up well, but the color was a dud after the first washing. Machine washed in cold water - so no chance heat did this. Had the store not been 3 hours away I definitely would have tried to return the yarn.

The idea of using mending as decoration and art is fascinating. I've been avoiding reinforcing these socks because the yarn had faded so badly that the original yarn didn't even look similar. The darns you see here are in the original yarn. Quite the difference. Finally last week the heel busted out, so it was either fix or toss. I still can't toss hand knitted socks.


I darned by marking off a large rectangle around the worn area. I went out beyond the busted yarn until I found yarn that wasn't thinning. I picked up stitches beneath this rectangle and knitted a flap long enough to cover the hole, then sewed down the edges. The first time I got fance and tried picking up the stitches from the sock along the edge of the flap and incorporate them as I knit. Big mistake - terrible puckering and a big lump under my heel.

The fixes went well, and I added some color back to the front the stitching on some hearts on the toes.

Before washing I plan on using the method talked about in the Knitmore Girls podcast for locking in color.

Full story and solution here.

It is interesting. I had this issue when I first started dyeing. I've since mastered it, and haven't had a repeat. It is sad someone selling their work has this drastic an issue.