Tuesday, April 25, 2006

And aah hey-yulped!*

So Sunday night I got a comment from Kate, who found my blog as a result of searching for help with the Secret Garden pattern she's doing. Since I've made Secret Garden before, my site showed up in her search results, and - tadah! - she'd found someone she could ask for help.

Now, I love helping people. I especially love the challenge of successfully explaining something very visual in nature, but using only words. So I really enjoyed doing this. Happily, Kate thought my explanation "made perfect sense" (Joy!) and was able to perfectly run through the part that was giving her trouble and is now forging on ahead in the pattern. Yay. :)

So, a note for anyone else who ever has any questions about any of the stuff I've done, either because you want to know more about how I did it, or because you're stuck on the same pattern and would like some assistance from someone who already worked through it - don't hesitate to ask!

(I'll also, of COURSE, take compliments about how beautiful my daughter is. Thanks, Gill. Not that you told me anything I didn't already know. :) You, too, will experience the joy of knowing that you have the most gorgeous kid in the history of the universe.)

Self-patterning socks #2 for DH
I finished sock #1. I tried it on. As I expected, it fit me very nicely towards the top of the sock (the most recently-knitted bit). This was good because it meant that my continental gauge had approached the same tension as my English gauge. But this was also bad because it meant that the top of the sock (and likely all of sock #2) was going to be too small for DH to wear.

So I ripped it all out.

I even ripped out the toe, because that was the most loosely-knit section of all, and I figured the gauge difference between old and new would be extremely obvious.

(Sorry, I forgot to take a shot of the completed sock before I frogged.)

Sock #1, take two, is now approaching completion of the toe. I comfort myself in the fact that I have 42 days before I need to have the socks done for DH's birthday. Also comforting is the knowledge that I could probably switch back and forth between continental and English during any same project and not worry significantly about gauge differences. I consider this far more valuable than not having to knit a sock twice.

Stornaway sweater for DH
This weekend I thought I'd test the theory that my continental knitting gauge has tightened up to be on par with my English knitting gauge - I swatched the forest green lambswool intended for this project, knitting continentally. Yes, I do actually plan to knit this whole sweater using my new-found continental skills. I figure, with all the ribbing and texture patterns used in this sweater, the whole thing will likely go way faster with the continental technique. (This is the theory. I am really hoping I'm right. We'll see.)

To my absolute joy, I got gauge. I mean, I really got gauge. Precisely. No futzing with the swatch; squooshing it up or spreading it wide; no, "Oh, I'll just block out the difference" rationalization...NOTHING. Stitch gauge is 15 stitches per two inches in stocking stitch, just like the pattern asks for, no word of a lie. Okay, row gauge is off, but I can live with that. (My row gauge is always off. I am weird.)

So, Sunday and yesterday I cast on, and now I'm into the ribbing.

I'm finding the lambswool a bit stiff to work with. Stiff as in, the yarn doesn't slide through my fingers very easily as I'm knitting. It's probably the lanolin. It sure feels really nice when it's all knit up, though. I've, uh, felt up the swatch probably more times than is strictly necessary. Ahem.

Self-patterning socks for DD
Just a tiny bit more got done on this over the weekend. I'm now a few rows into the top ribbing of the first sock.

Garden Shawl for MIL
This got worked on last night at my parents' place. I took it along yesterday for 'cover', since I couldn't very well knit any of the stuff for DH right in front of him while chatting to my parents. (Not knitting was, naturally, not an option.) I only managed to complete one row, thanks to some dumb errors two rows back. This is the problem with lace - you can't fudge having forgotten a yarnover in a previous row, because otherwise the pattern will look wrong. You have to go back and correct it (not my choice of method for lace, especially when I'm at the point of having hundreds of stitches on each row), or do some 'surgery' on the problem bit to recreate the forgotten yarnover (obviously my preferred solution).

Still, I did manage to complete the row, and was very surprised to discover this morning, while checking the shawl calculator [calculator link in sidebar] that this meant I was over 60% done the shawl body! Woo! Another milestone reached.

Textured cardigan for baby Harding
The test swatch for the pattern came out both good and bad. When the light hits it just right, the motif in the texture pattern was really obvious. Otherwise...it wasn't too terribly obvious, at least, not to me. DH insists you could absolutely tell what the pattern is. I'm not so sure.

So in an attempt to settle the matter, I'm knitting the test up again, this time using the yarn that I want to use for the actual cardigan, with 2.75mm needles instead of 3.25mms. I'm not that far into it at the moment, so it's hard to tell, but at least it's not so bad that I've given up all hope.

* Apologies to the Shake n' Bake people.

1 comment:

The J said...

Congrats on getting your Continental gauge! I've only managed a swatch in two-handed fair isle (got the video from the library - not sure if I remember how now!), but it was enough to figure out that getting gauge with throwing wasn't impossible for me. Maybe I should make up some wash cloths...

And I never get row gauge either.