Saturday, 23 May 2009


OK, I need to finish weaving in a couple of ends, but other than that, I'm done. I'd left those ends just in case I wanted to resew the sleeves, but I think I'm going to leave them. They look better blocked and should be OK once the sweater has been washed a few times. So, enough chat, here it is...

ETA: See how nice and sunny these pictures are? That's because it's 90°F out today. Just in time...

Friday, 22 May 2009

Who ever said gauge swatches are pointless

OK, well, that might have been me. But I was right. They are mostly pointless as far as telling you what size something will be when you finish it. However, I have never been so glad in my life to have taken the time to knit a gauge swatch for Arwen.

Roll back to yesterday. Yesterday was a holiday here (Ascension) so I had time to knit. Being so close to finishing Arwen, I chose to work on it than something lighter, despite temperatures of 80°F plus and a relative humidity of 70%. As I knit, I worried. Was I going to have enough yarn to finish the sleeve? Would it work? Was I going to have to put the whole thing aside and wait until I could get more of that yarn? I knew from what I had in front of me that it would last until at least a few rows before finishing, but I dared not hope it would be enough to actually cast off. As it turned out, I was right. Hope was futile. 20 stitches. Yes, you heard me correctly, 20 stitches before I finished casting off, the yarn ran out (and probably did a little jig of joy at having buggered my day too). Did I really want to travel all that way just to get a skein of yarn to finish casting off? What would I do with one nearly complete skein of this yarn? I knew I’d get away with sewing it up with the left over yarn from my Linden, so even that was no reason to go buy more. So, I started searching.

The search for a piece of yarn just long enough to finish casting off 20 stitches took me through the garbage can, where the pieces were all too short for my purpose Then thinking I might have a single or partial skein somewhere in my stash, I went through all of my project bags, my stash boxes, my couch cushions, under the couch and even into cupboards which have never seen any yarn at all. Finally, I checked the box the yarn came in, filled with the knowledge that it would be empty, and it was. Except for my gauge swatch. Jackpot. I was able to both finish the sleeve and sew both of them in and still had left overs.

Arwen is finished, or it is for the moment anyway. It’s blocking as I type, but I’m not sure I’ll be happy with it. The sleeves are too big around to fit in the sleeve holes properly and I had to improvise. The look a bit scrunched in places, which is probably because they are a bit scrunched in places. I may have a go at fixing this, but I doubt it will work. I’d really need to reknit them, but I’m not sure where to reduce at. Width? Length? I dunno. Probably width really, but then I’m afraid the arms would be too tight and I hate that. Sooooo, I may just leave them or try and get all the scrunching in under the arms where it would be less visible. I’ll decide as soon as it’s finished blocking. When I think about how much work has already gone into this sweater, I’m inclined to leave it, but then why do all that work for something which is less than perfect? *sigh*, we’ll see.

I really need to take that course in sweater design/knitting.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Note to self

Feel free to stroll on by. These are just notes to myself which could come in hand one day. You might want to check out the cable grafting trick. It sounds really handy.

Source Tinker Tots
I learned a great trick back when I was knitting Rogue for the first time to graft the cables. When done the main knitting (don’t break your yarn) - knit about four or five extra rows with a light colour dishcloth cotton. Knit or purl the stitches as they present themselves. Cast off. Bring the two sides together with your kitchen cotton folded in like a seam. When grafting you can follow the light coloured dishcloth cotton in and out of your stitches. When you are done you just undo the bind off and rip back the kitchen cotton. You end up with perfect grafting in knit/purl and you don’t have to think about which direction you are going in and out of stitches. Don’t have to worry about stitches falling off your needles or juggling all the needles. It makes it as easy as straight seaming.

LJ Knitting - Tree Graph

Sunday, 17 May 2009


I finally finished the sleeve and I don't actually want to frog it this time! Oh the relief. I do believe that I've knit this sleeve at least 4 times in total. I've never frogged so much in my entire life. For a while, it seemed like I'd knit 2 rows and frog 4. I was beginning to despair and think of giving up. However, I persevered and this is the result.

It might not be perfect, the bit after the cuff could be straighter and the bit around the cable flatter, but frankly I'm not sure I'd have the skill to fix this, even if I did have the patience. I might be more bothered about it if I thought people would notice it when it's on, but I don't think they will, so I'm leaving it.

Oh yes, the cable bit is also not a "good" cable, as in it's not the way cables are supposed to work, but there wasn't much I could do without having the cable beginnings look really funky. I had to hide the behind the existing cables at the beginning and ends, so the rest of the pattern doesn't go under and over as it should.

Now I just need to knit the second. I also need to pray very hard. I have 3 skeins and a bit of yarn left. I weighed the first sleeve and it's 160g, which is 3 skeins and a bit. I'll also need to have a bit of yarn to sew the sleeves to the body. I hope there's enough. Funny, I usually have way too much yarn because I'm afraid I'll run out. I hope I don't run out and make my mania worse.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Arwen Continued

Well, I frogged. I had to really. It really was a bit unshapely for a sleeve and I really want to like this sweater when I finish it. Thing is, I had already frogged it several times before finishing it the first time. Then I frogged the whole and restarted. I've now frogged this at least twice more. I discovered that I needed to do a quadruple increase in the first row after the cuff to prevent the sleeve from becoming smaller from the cuff. Then I didn't like what happened with the pattern when I added the side cables. One of the cables started in a funky place and kind of skewed the look, so I frogged again.

I've reknit in a way that kind of messes with the cables, as in they are not as cables "should be" with the whole one over, one under thing, but it looks better than cables starting and ending in weird places and No One Besides Another Knitter Is Ever Going To Notice This. I asked myself how many knitters I know and see on a regular basis. Then I asked myself how many of them are going to care. Answer, probably zero. It's hardly likely that one of the guys from the technical dept. is suddenly going to look at it and say "oh hey, you're cables aren't quite right". That would be like me looking at their electrical schematics and saying, "hey, you've got your wires connected in the wrong place!" Not going to happen, or it might, but that won't mean I have a clue what I'm talking about. I'm just sometimes a bit ornrey. Ergo, I'm going with funky cables because frankly, even if I can stand to frog once more, I'm not sure the yarn will. I'm reaching the point where I'm not going to be able to reknit the yarn again. Pictures if I ever manage to finish the first sleeve again.

In other news, my good friend, Thepinksheep (who is incidentally selling a bit of hand dyed sock yarn) sent me a pressie! Thanks to her, I have the Earl Blue Socks from the last post and now I can make Earl Ivy and Earl Spruce if I want to! :0) I rather think I'll be making a different sock with these, but you get the picture. Thank again!

My other good friend, Inkysticks, who is currently buried under her dissertaion work, sent me The Knitter's Book of Yarn a while ago too. I've finally read it all and can recommend it as a good reference book. It has some quite useful information in it. I think it's meant to help with my growing yarn problems, which it might have, as long as I go back and read up on the yarn I'm using before knitting any projects with it. Thanks to Inky as well! And don't work too hard. You'll burn out you know.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Spot the Flaw

Having finally finished the sleeve (maybe), I laid it out flat on the table, which is next to the couch upon which there are two wool blankets and a cat couch, to photograph it. Can anyone else spot the major flaw here?

Meet Sydney, one of my cats. She's was once kicked around and neglected and is now afraid of every other human on the planet but me (which can be really annoying). She also once disappeared from home for 2.5 months (although I don't think that was intentional on her part). She also usually sits next to me and meows a lot while I'm knitting (also really annoying). I now know why. She is slowly plotting to take over me, my knitting and my stash. I just hope she never meets The Brain or I am doomed.

The sleeve was definitely not intended as a cat bed.

What I had intended, was this

I wanted to show you the shape of the sleeve. I'm not sure I'm happy with it. I should have started increasing every 3rd row just after the cuff and not after the cable thingy. I'm kind of thinking I should frog the whole sleeve and start over. Don't you think? Advice anyone? Opinions?

Very randomly, my current favourite commercial just came on. I just love that chicken. It really looks like a happy chicken, even if the ad is really ridiculous.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Ousted by Cows

Well, Spring has sprung. It finally rained here and everything decided to turn green pretty much over night. I meant to get a few pictures earlier when everything was in full bloom, but forgot, so now you’ll have to make do with these.
Unfortunately, I’ve now lost my picnic spot
to the cows. I tried to point out that it wasn’t fair as they certainly don’t appreciate the view or the peace like I do, but we’re in Switzerland where cows are spoiled and that didn’t wash. So, I’ve been relegated to the front field for the time being. Eventually the cows will be moving to the front field and I can have the back field back again (complete with cow patties) but this will be a while in coming. Actually, it’s not like I’m suffering much. The front field has a good view too but not as good and there’s more noise from traffic and the demon spawn, oh, sorry, children, from next door. For the record, the children aren’t actually at fault, it’s just that the adults lack parenting skills so the children have no manners and spend most of the day screaming at the top of their lungs. This is Switzerland, we have good air and they prove it, constantly.

Which brings me back to the cows. I watched a report last night on "Gourmet Milk". There's a guy in the depths of Switzerland (somewhere in the alps), who sells milk for something like $4 a litre (ca. 1 quart). Apparently it has more healthy bacteria in it than normal milk and tastes better. Somehow I think the Swiss will be the only ones buying this guy's milk. No one else in their right mind would pay that price.

I’ve been spending more time outdoors and less time knitting, so I haven’t much to show. I did finally finish the Earl Blue, and have worn them a couple of times too (it cooled off with the rain). They are nice and soft and I love them.
Please ignore the dog hair. That's just sort of a part of my life.
I’ve also continued working on the Arwen, but haven’t made much progress, especially in relation to the amount of time I’ve spent knitting it. I wanted to add a bit of a design to the sleeve, but since I’m not knitting the sleeve as it’s meant to be knit it’s been difficult. I think the Arwen calls for the sleeve to be knit “sideways” and then sewn together, but since I restructured the sweater from the beginning, I can’t do this. I’m knitting cuff up and have added the middle portion of the St. John’s Cross from the back, only it really just looks like a diamond with cables in it. I would rather have had the whole Cross, but I think that might have been a bit overwhelming on a sleeve. Still, it’s more interesting than a plain sleeve and since it’s small, it’s not overpowering. I’m going to leave it, even though it’s not what I really wanted. I should finish the first sleeve tonight and hopefully the second one by the end of the weekend. I’m a bit worried about getting this done because it’s such a heavy sweater that if I don’t finish it while it’s cool, it will get put on the back burner until next fall, by which time I will have forgotten how I’m doing it. There’s a real disadvantage to winging it, you have no pattern to follow when you get ready to knit the second sleeve. Pictures will follow once the weather gets a bit better and I have time. The two things must coincide.