Take-backs!

Lazy Ribbing Swatch
Lazy Ribbing Swatch – top half was knit on US 7, bottom on US 3 needles

I take back everything, well, almost everything I said about this swatch last week. I switched to a US 7, adjusted the pattern so that most of the action rows involve knit stitches instead of purls, and it went swimmingly. Except for the yarn which would be great for its intended use of socks; it’s not as soft as I would like and judging from the sweater that I used it to make last year along with another sock yarn, it’s not going to soften up with wear/use. Most of this was knit in the car on Saturday; I had a headache and was feeling barfy on the way home, so no car knitting for me on Sunday.

The pattern, the important part, is starting to speak to me again which is a good thing. Most of my designs have been me just fooling around with yarn; this is the first time I started with an inspiration picture instead of the foggy idea of an FO that’s gradually is clarified. Now I just need to add the beginning and end to the scarf (cowl?) and clean up the edges. This is starting to feel fun & good again, what it should be, instead of like drudgery and work.

Knit & Design Projects Update

I haven’t been posting much about knitting or designing. I realized the other day that I’ve been avoiding working on the swatch/project for my next design because I don’t enjoy knitting it. It’s essentially lace knitting without any yarn overs – it’s all increases and decreases. To make it more challenging, it’s almost all purl increases and decreases. I’m using sock yarn on US size 3 needles that are rounded; this would probably go better with a set of lace needles. I also don’t particularly like the yarn I’m working with. I like the color but almost nothing else about it, and even the color adds to the difficulty of knitting because it’s so dark.

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The Swatch: Lazy Rib from the 3rd Walker Treasury with a temporary cast on.

I do (mostly) like the end result: it is very close to what I was shooting for. If I did enjoy knitting this, I’d redesign the pattern to make an even number of stockinette ridges so there isn’t one center line that draws your eye to … well … the center. And I’d make the center of each bulb 1×1 ribbing instead of stockinette stitch; I don’t like that the rest of the fabric is ribbing except for the centers, I want it all to have the same texture.

I was going to try switching to a larger needle, a US6 or 7, but I really don’t think that’s going to change how I feel about this project: I dread working on it. If I’m going to knit (or create anything), I should enjoy the process, not put off working on it and not have to force myself to complete x number of rows/repeats a day until the piece is done. This confirms, once again, that I’m a process knitter. The product is still important, but if I don’t enjoy the process, it’s not worth it and I’m not going to put myself through that.

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I had to include this; the yarn is so pretty (but looks basically black at night).

So it’s back to the drawing board for a third time on this one, which really doesn’t bother me as much as you might think. I’d rather start over a bunch of times and get it right than hobble along to completion with something that’s off somehow. And there’s a lot off with me and this swatch. I’m pretty sure I can do something similar and closer to the effect I’m going for with cables and I like cabling much better than lace for some reason. Maybe because it looks complex but is relatively easy to pull off, while a long lace pattern like this looks complex & is complex to pull off (for me anyway – I lose track of where I am in the pattern too often & too easily).

This weekend is a holiday weekend in the US and my family is taking a quick road trip to New Jersey, land of the jug handle turn and not pumping your own gas (no really: there’s a law). I’ll have 4 hours of knitting time in the car each way and will take the new design with me if I can finish the chart today, but I don’t think I will, so I think instead that I’ll make a lot of progress on my Old Town cardigan.

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My Old Town progress. This is the right back upper shoulder; this sweater has a pretty unique construction. 

 

TBT: Knitting Patterns from the 1940s from the V&A

I love the 1940s – the clothing & hair styles, the music, a lot of the movies. I also really like shows & movies set during this time; I particularly enjoyed the sweaters in Foyle’s War and Home Fires. The Victoria and Albert Museum has a gallery of knits & knitting patterns from this era. My favorites:

Rolags

I’m participating in my first ever fiber swap via a Facebook group I joined about a month ago, Fiber Artists and Yarn Spinners. I have 2 swap partners, one sending me something and one I’m sending something to. I have another 2 weeks (I think) to send something, but my sending partner messaged me yesterday to say she’s mailing my package out on Monday. Eek! I don’t want to get and open my package without have sent one, so after seeing another post about rolags in the group, I decided to give that a go instead of just making a batt. I watched a few youtube videos (this one and this one) before getting sidetracked (with videos on using a diz) and today made my first rolags.

I think they turned out pretty well. I need to get a rubber doorstop or something else to keep my drum carder from turning too easily; I had a hard time drafting the rolags. I also suspect I may have loaded the carder up with too much fiber. I have a Strauch anniversary edition405 Series Drum Carder which I’ve loaded up with 100g (3.5oz) and more (probably). I laid out 84g total of alpaca (32g), cotswold(34g), silk (4g), and angora (10g). But I only used 68g total, leaving some angora and alpaca left over. Probably next time around I’ll shoot for 50g total or less for rolags.

TBT: Stripe Identification

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17th Century Hat, courtesy of the Rijks Museum

17th century Dutch whaler hunters & workmen wore knitted wool hats with unique stripe patterns to identify themselves; winters were very cold and the men had to wear so much to protect themselves from it that only their eyes were visible.  More details (such as they are) here. I find the idea of personalized stripes really appealing and might someday design something based on this concept. It’s a neat idea!