Archive for the 'ribbit' Category


Headed to the frog pond

p1185802scarfftf.jpgAfter finishing the B.O.B. Sweater, I decided to knit a scarf for myself. I’ve had a copy of Scarf Style from Interweave for some time, and whenever I look through it I find that I like patterns that I disliked the last time, and dislike those I liked the last time. So as you can imagine it’s hard to me to settle on any project from this book.

This time, though, I had just finished looking through my stash, and when I came across the Midwest Moonlight scarf (Ravelry link here) I remembered that I had the exact yarn it called for: Cotton Comfort, from Green Mountain Spinnery. I love this yarn. I’d bought five skeins of it on a trip to Vermont a couple of years ago and used about two-and-a-half skeins for a baby sweater. The scarf pattern calls for three skeins, but I figured that two and a half would be fine. I don’t really need a scarf that’s seventy-two inches long.

Nor do I need a scarf that’s full of holes, apparently. This is technically a lace pattern, with yarnovers and k2tog and ssk all over the place. But it seemed substantial to me—certainly not flimsy lace. After knitting several inches of this scarf, though, I’m finding that I just don’t love it. It’s pretty enough, but just not me. And I firmly believe that, considering how limited my time is for all the things I want to do, I don’t want to waste any of it on something that I don’t really like. So I’m frogging this sucker.


Good news, bad news

p2249375vest.jpgLet’s start with something positive, shall we? Remember that disaster I mentioned a few weeks ago? The vest that was supposed to have 160 cast-on stitches but somehow had 194—a fact I did not discover until I’d knit ten inches of it and was all set to divide the fronts and back? Well, I frogged the whole thing (which didn’t stress me out too much, honestly, because this knitting is not only quick but enjoyable) and—in a “get back on the horse that threw me” frame of mind—cast on again right away.

I placed markers every twenty stitches, then counted the stitches between the markers six times, then counted the markers five times, then counted all the stitches on the whole thing another few times, just to be sure. Yup—160 stitches. Houston, we have liftoff! As you can see, the knitting is going well! With luck, I’ll have a finished object to show you all (and to wear!) very soon!

p2249373wrap.jpgAnd here’s the bad news: I regret to inform you that one project has bit the dust. Way back in August, I swatched for a wrap cardigan called Damson Wine. The pattern is from The Family Book of Knitting* (which is more like an extra-long special issue of a magazine), published by the folks who do the Simply Knitting magazine in the UK. I bought the book mostly for the knitted gnome pattern it contained, but also really liked this cardigan—so much so that I actually bought the yarn the pattern called for, Rowan Kid Classic.

So I swatched succesfully (hooray!) and a couple of weeks ago finally got around to starting to knit the sweater. You know how some patterns have those “do this pattern until you have X stitches left, then K X stitches” lines? Every time I got to one of those points with this pattern, I had X stitches. Wow! I was feeling pretty good about this!

And then I got to where you start the raglan decreases. And I got stuck. I simply could not make it work. I kept ending up with the wrong number of stitches.

I looked online for help and found nothing. Not a single person on Ravelry has knit this pattern (at least, not a single person on Ravelry will admit to knitting this pattern). Simple googling yielded nothing but sites where the pattern is for sale (usually listed in the contents of the book) and my own original post about it.

So I turned to my local knitting group for help. There are some very accomplished knitters in this group, and I knew that some of them would enjoy the challenge of figuring out why the decreases just didn’t work. Much math was done. Papers were scribbled upon. Heads conferred. And then came the verdict:

“This pattern is written like crap.”

(Well, maybe they didn’t actually say “crap.” I think they said, “This pattern is very poorly written.” But my subconscious heard “This pattern is written like crap”—partly because it’s a more efficient way to say the same thing, and partly because I think “crap” is one of the most useful, versatile, expressive words in the English language.)

My friends said that it would be possible to figure out the math of each line of the pattern, but that would be a headache. And they were pretty sure I’d be all set to tear out my hair when it came time to put the thing together, because the pattern yielding some pretty lousy seaming points.

So I’ve decided to bag it. For me, knitting is supposed to fun, and thinking ahead to the amount of cursing all that math and seaming up will inevitably produce, this cardigan doesn’t seem like a fun project. I’m going to frog this sucker and move on.

This was my first time knitting with Rowan Kid Classic, and I really enjoyed working with it. So now I’m trying to think about what to do with seven balls of this stuff. Should I try the Hourglass Sweater? Something else? I’m open to suggestions!

*This book is called The Bumper Book of Knitting in the UK. That title is way cooler than the one on the book I bought. Why is it that American prints of UK works always get the lame titles? Argh.


A disaster

For Christmas last year, my friends Gina and Todd gave me some yarn and a pattern book from Green Mountain Spinnery. After much thought, I decided to make the Artisan Vest in that book, using the Double Twist yarn called for.

The smallest size in the book is for a 36″ chest. That’s a bit larger than what I wanted, so I did some math and modified the pattern to make it fit me better. So instead of casting on 180 stitches, I cast on 160. And I counted them three times before starting to knit.

p2039172vest.jpgOr so I thought. After a week and a half of merrily knitting along (this vest is worked in one piece from the bottom up), Saturday afternoon I found that I’d reached 10″ and was ready to divide the piece. I knit the right front and put those stitches on a holder. I bound off for the right armhole. I knit across the back. I put the left front stitches on a holder. Then I bound off for the left armhole. And then I thought, “Gosh, there’s an awful lot of stitches left on my needles for the back.”

So I counted them. And I counted them again. And I undid all of the bound-off stitches and worked back to right before I started to divide the piece…and I counted again.

Somehow, instead of 160 stitches, I had 194. How this happened, I have no idea. Like I said, I triple-checked the number of my cast-on stitches. The number 194 doesn’t appear anywhere in the pattern, so it’s not like I accidentally followed the wrong line. And I haven’t added stitches anywhere—my rows are beautifully tidy all the way up.

The only solution, I’m afraid, is to rip out the whole thing and start over. Yes, it’s a fair amount of knitting on size 6 needles. But it’s “mindless” knitting—the kind I can easily do while chatting with friends or watching a movie. So I’m sure I’ll be back to this point in no time—and this time around, I’ll have the correct number of cast-on stitches. I plan to quadruple check them this time. And I’ll make Jan count ’em for me, too.


A knitting disaster

It figures, of course, that as soon as I publicly announce that a knitting project is on the verge of completion, something goes horribly wrong. I finished the second sleeve that same day and set out to seam the whole thing together. “I’m nearly done with this!” I thought. “I’ll actually get to wear this sweater this winter!” And then the gods who like to tamper with the lives of knitters decided to strike me down for my hubris.

p1149045sweater.jpgSee how big the armhole is here? See how narrow the sleeve is? No amount of tugging or fudging will make the two line up.

How did this happen? Well, I started this sweater three years ago. I didn’t use the yarn the pattern called for (it’s from the first Yarn Girls book—and all of their patterns call for outrageously expensive boutique yarns that result in $200 sweaters) but I thought I had the gauge right. Apparently I didn’t.

I also didn’t keep good notes (or any notes, actually) about what measurements I was aiming for or what changes I’d made to the pattern. And I also didn’t check my knitting as I went along, blindly assuming that everything would fit together just right.

My friend Katie happened to stop by as I surveyed the disaster, and she and my husband both endeavored to convince me that the sweater is salvageable. But even if I rip back to the bottom of the armhole and reknit from there, the body of the sweater will still be far too wide for me. I want something that’s good for layering, not for disappearing in.

So I’m going to frog the whole thing. Honestly, though, I’m not terribly heartbroken about it. I’ve learned a lot about knitting in the past three years, and I think I can make a much better sweater now. Also, this is bulky yarn knit up on 10.5 needles, so it won’t take too terribly long to knit up again.

Now I just have to decide what to knit with all this yarn. (And I have another two skeins of this stuff beyond the five or so I used for the sweater.) Suggestions, anyone?