Monday night I spent doing math for my new cardigan pattern, pretty much until I went blind and didn’t know what addition was. I even did the math for multiple sizes at once. I kept going until I finished all of the math, and some general written instructions, for the back. Oh yes, I’m doing this in pieces. The benefit of this being not only that seams give a garment structure, but that I can start it piece by piece. The back was cast on Tuesday, and I’ve spent all of my knitting time ignoring that I can’t have a cardigan with only the back math done. But perhaps that’s what this weekend is for.
I’m also being vicariously productive (is that a thing?) through my test knitters. I set up a test on Ravelry for my Katherine hat pattern. I was debating back and forth for a few days about doing a test for it, but ultimately decided that if I was going to expect people to pay real money for the pattern, the pattern better be fool-proof. It’s actually really exciting having testers, and I can’t wait to see their hats. Because it’s a group for free test knitting on Ravelry, there’s only so much that I can ask for. I’m having two people using 100% wool and two people using 50% silk 50% wool. I even got so lucky as to have someone use exactly what my pattern calls for, Malabrigo silky merino.
Despite all of this excitement, if I’m being completely honest, I think I’m having sock withdrawal. It’s been very comforting having a sock going these last three months, something that I can just relax with, something that’s not too big or complicated. Soon enough I’ll be casting on for the April socks, just as soon as I figure out what they’re going to be.
I feel so accomplished! I actually finished the March socks a full week before the end of March. It’s surprisingly invigorating. I might even try to finish the rest of my monthly socks well before the end of the month. Well, we’ll see.
These socks turned out well in the end, despite the horrific amount of pooling. I’d still rather they have come out truly random, but I guess what really matters is that Ty likes them. And I like to think that I’m vastly improving Ty’s sock drawer.
I’m hoping that I’ll get over the mismatching on the foot and just be happy that the swirling on the leg matches. Ty’s encouraging remark was that only the swirly part will be visible when he has shoes on. I guess I can deal with that.
(A whole week of March left!)
It’s happened. I’ve finally succumbed to the insanity that is swatching. Why is swatching insane, you ask? Because it involves expecting the swatch to tell you the truth and that the finished project will be faithful to the gauge measure on the swatch. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve certainly had projects that were dead on with the swatch gauge. Usually those were small projects like gloves, and less likely to be sweaters. If you took all of the projects made without a swatch, and all of the projects made with a swatch and compared them based on accuracy with the pattern, fit, frustrations endured, or happiness of the knitter with the final project I honestly don’t think that there would be any statistical significance. But this time my knitting angel has won out over my lazy knitting devil and I’ve swatched. Multiple times for multiple projects.
The pink is for my editing of the Starburst pattern, and the purple is for a new pattern, which I haven’t decided if I want to share it before it’s completed, written, tested and edited. But we’ll see how patient I am. The missing swatchlette, which was a herringbone stitch done in the round for a pair of fingerless gloves, is missing. It was on the table when I went to bed and the next morning? Gone. Disappeared. I looked under the couch, under the bed, behind the tv. Nothing. I’m seriously hoping that I walk in to the apartment tonight to find the cats playing with it. I really just want my swatch back. I’ll forgive the cats for stealing it, really, I will. Just bring it back to me.
This weekend was very productive pattern-wise. Not only did I swatch, but I took pictures for Rose’s mitts and the Katherine hat. Also, I’m about two steps away from buying Stitch Mastery. I played around with the demo and emailed Cathy about her policy on switching computers. The demo was easy to work with, and I was even able to create my own stitch (which I need for Katherine) and I got such a speedy reply from Cathy that I nearly had whiplash.
I do believe I’ve cured my knitting ennui.
A week or so ago I had decided that this Tuesday would be the day to use my 15% off at Looped. It had (impatiently) been waiting for me since perhaps December. I’m still not sure how I managed to wait that long before using it, except for my excuses of needing to buy enough yarn to be worth it, and the inability to combine it with sales. So Tuesday was the day and I had a short list of projects in mind: baby sweaters, socks, and a sweater for me. Socks were by far the easiest, because I had been eyeing a beautiful orange in the Wandering Wool for weeks. The ‘local yarn section’ of Looped is conveniently kept directly across from where I normally sit, meaning that I cann’t help but stare at the gorgeous colors. The baby sweaters, for a coworker who’s due in June, were also not too bad. I knew I wanted a green and a brown in fingering weight. So I picked two out and that was that. Except then I realized that one of the patterns I had printed out called for aran weight, not fingering. So a quick look at the Dream in Color Classy and I had it down to a brown and a gorgeous red. Kate agreed with me that the red was better. Through my search for baby yarn Ann repeatedly tried to convince me to get all sorts of pretty blues. It’s something I’ve been stubborn about lately, that strange gender color segregation: blue for boys and pick for girls. It seems entirely unnecessary to label children by color, and really, there are so many other colors that deserve just as much attention. And I never liked pink all that much anyway, or pastels for that matter.
Sweater yarn. Oh sweater yarn. It seems that you have decided that I am unworthy, or perhaps just that I need to come back again and buy more yarn from Looped. I spent about twenty minutes wandering around grabbing skeins of worsted in ‘warm’ colors (I’ve decided that I have too much teal) and at one point Susan (one of the lovely owners) asked me if I needed help, or if I was just going to stand there holding mismatched skeins for a while, which is apparently just fine by her. Eventually I decided that, based on color and wanting a plied yarn, Cascade 220 was in fact what I wanted, in the beautiful orange heather. Now, I let my pile of yarn sit there for a while and continued to wander around the store. I happened to wander a little too close to the Tosh Sport, and fell in love with the Candlewick. Now I was worried. Did the 15% off do enough to cover two sweater quantities of yarn, plus my odds and ends? I decided that it wouldn’t, at least not to my satisfaction. I then realized that there possibly was not enough of my Cascade 220 on the shelf. Well, off to Susan I went to see if they had more. Nope. No more in the back and not enough on the shelf to make a cabled sweater. Thank goodness for Candlewick. The intense yellows that had called to me mere moments before were now my saving grace. I grabbed up five hanks of the Candlewick, and my various other yarn, leaving the Cascade for another day, and made my purchase minutes before closing time.
And what happened then? Susan handed me the brand new 15% off that I had just earned with my purchase.
I’ve decided that it’s about time to get myself a grown-up chart maker. But first things first, a little research into my options. One feature that I would want is simply logistical, being able to download the program multiple times on different computers, both Mac and PC. Other things like stitch customization and export options are a little trickier to pin down.
$185 – single timed download
Aran Paint +Plus
$49.95 – PC only – potentially multiple downloads available
Stitch & Motif Maker
$89.95 – PC only
Intwined Pattern Studio
$44 – multiple downloads PC/Mac
$99 – PC only – multiple downloads (Mac in development)
£60 (~$94) – 2 machines PC/Mac
Cochenille Stitch Painter
$85 – PC/Mac
After reading through several Ravelry forums, I think that Stitch Mastery rises to the top, which also happens to be the official charting software of Knitty. I’ll definitely need to spend some quality time with the demos and see how I feel after making some charts and poking around. For now, I’m not intending to use written instruction, which a lot of these programs seem to be able to translate charts into. And I’m mostly looking to use the image of the chart to edit the program in Microsoft Word or something, but that might change in the future, so having options is good.
If you have an opinion let me hear it!
I finished a hat a while ago. The hat that I wasn’t very excited about in the first place, Ashley’s hat. As I finished it I decided not to sew in the ends, but not for my usual laziness reasons. My spidey sense was tingling, something wasn’t quite right about this hat. It still needed to be blocked, and although superwash yarns don’t usually grow when they’re blocked, the pattern needed to be stretched out quite a bit for all the lace to show. Well, I waited about a week so that I could have Ashley try it on and tell me what she thought of the pre-blocking size. With her go ahead I put it in the water. Lo and behold it grew as soon as it hit the water. Now it’s about five sizes too big, and I didn’t even bother to stretch block it, just let it dry. Take two will begin soon. ish.
In further humbling news, the March socks are doing alright, but only after a few tries. I love the color, but it was pooling maddeningly. There was a distinct light and dark side of the sock, and not in a way that I could deal with. Finally I decided that it just wouldn’t do and tried decreasing the number of stitches to see if that would break the pooling. Alas it turned into an aweful spiral. Take three had me using the inside and outside of the skein to alternate rows. It’s been the most successful, as well as my final attempt at getting this colorway to cooperate. You can see that there’s still a slight spiral of light and dark, which almost look like shadows.
And strangely, that doesn’t seem to be the case on the other side. I completely give up on understanding colorways and their strange behavior.
Look, it’s a flower! This is the first time in months that this African Violet has bloomed since the vicious attack it survive a few months ago. Apparently African Violet leaves taste sweet to cats. I give up on understanding cats as well.
Well isn’t it strange that gauge actually matters? Who would’ve thought that the strange notation shown as stitch or rows per inch actually makes a difference in the real knitting world?
Last week I cast on to redo Rose’s fingerless mitts with some Knitpicks yarn I had set aside for them and just started right off with my pattern. After about an inch I realized that it seemed a bit larger than I had remembered the mitts to be. After seeing that my stitch gauge was considerably off I decided that I might need to take a second look. Now once the pattern is re-finished, it might be a little different than it started out, but I think I like it better now, which I guess is the point of taking a second look at these patterns.
The last few days I’ve been down and out from a nasty stomach flu, which means that I haven’t even been knitting. Even Ty remarked yesterday that it was the longest he’s seen me go without knitting. It’s strange to think that in the nearly nine years I’ve been knitting there’s been very little time spent not knitting. Particularly in the last four years there’s hardly been a day that I haven’t knit at least a row or two.
I wonder how many people started knitting out of curiosity, or because a friend urged them to and now years later they can’t stop knitting and thinking about knitting and buy yarn and planning projects. I’m sure that my Girl Scout leaders didn’t think that that would be in my future when they taught me in high school. I’m certainly happy that I needed to learn how to knit for a Girl Scout badge, it’s led me on such an amazing path full of inspiration, fun, frustration and lots really amazing people.