Wednesday, March 12

Switch Swatch

We're all delighted that one of our Rav members, Adriprints, is sharing her mitered detail cardigan with us as a MKAL on the big MK Ravelry group.  I've been swatching and washing on and off since Saturday trying to get gauge with the Kauni. Five swatches later, I finally managed to get 27.3 sts x 43 rows to 10cm - the pattern calls for 27 sts so I'm hoping that's close enough, I might have to add or subtract some rows if the row gauge isn't right. I'm well aware that the pretty swatches I made are unfroggable (Kauni is like a Shetland yarn) and thus the yarn is going down. As it's Kauni EQ I'm hoping if I do need another ball that the long colour changes of it will hide any dye lot mismatching. Here's hoping! 

I think in future I'll swatch three full numbers - eg T5, T6, T7 - and then fine tune from there. The pattern's written for Wollmeise but there's not a hope in h*ck of me getting hold of enough of that, and I'm not sure I want to - a friend brought some skeins to knit club once and I was underwhelmed by its rough texture. Of course, it might well improve when washed - I will keep an open mind should any fall serendipitously into my lap! :) I know it's prized amongst the knitterati.

Swatching is a tedious but necessary component of machine knitting (or indeed, any knitting/crochet where size is important). Just because you can knit it faster doesn't make it any less tedious, although in the past I've cheated by knitting either a front or a sleeve. Knitting a front means you can see straight away if the length/width is right and if the neck is decent or wider than the mouth of the Thames. You have the added complication that wide pieces might not be weighted proportionally as much as narrow pieces on the machine. In all cases, bigger is better swatch-wise. My usual trick of leaving needle 21 out of work was a bit fraught this time - it only really works on acrylics or non-slippy yarns but after washing it it's almost invisible in Kauni. Bearing in mind I've now made 5 swatches I've just tried plotting them in Excel to see if I could extrapolate whether 8. (8 dot) would be closer to 27sts than 8. The graph I got wasn't completely a straight line so I'm wondering whether one of the measurements is wrong. 

The boring grey jumper is finished. Going to Holland in the middle obviously obliterated some important brain cells, because Monday night I frantically knitted what I thought was the first sleeve, watching the yarn disappear and thinking there's no way I'll get a second sleeve out of that. Then I suddenly realised it's a raglan, and having completed the neck (THAT took several attempts!) the sleeves should already be part of the construction. Finally, I picked up the part-sewn jumper and realised the truth. The knitting is finished - I just need to sew it up and wash it. The Cog thinks this is all hilarious and is wondering when exactly I'm planning on growing a third arm?

I'm up to the armholes on the Quick Sweater. I was supposed to start them when the garment measured 12.5" from the hem. Which would be fine, except the garment is knitted in 1 row K2 P2 and 1 row K throughout, thus meaning I can stretch it. I'd much prefer a row count I think, because it looks like it might turn into a cropped top at the slightest provocation, and NOBODY needs to see that part of me! :/

Somebody told me this week that the garter carriage monitor can't possibly work because they don't have one. Well, I don't own a helicopter but I'm pretty sure they mostly work ok. Aren't people weird sometimes? It was a US invention and I have both sets of brackets (for main and ribber bed). I bought it to corral a naughty garter carriage I had at the time that would otherwise turn early just to cheek me - great if I wanted to knit bookmarks, but little else. Next garter carriage project I do I'll try and video it in use, and then there can be NO argument!

Someone chided me for trying a crochet project I was struggling on, too. "Why do that, it's too hard?!" Well, chimp work is fine sometimes, but sometimes I want to stretch myself. I learnt to spit-splice yarn last week. I remember my first major double-bed jacquard project, a banner for our knitting group (you can see it here at Godivafest). I was having no end of trouble getting a striped background, all I could produce was solid black, and I posted a query to that effect on one of the main Yahoo MK groups. The response, from one of the stalwart members, no less, was basically along the lines of "why are you doing this when you're a beginner?" To which my rude mental response was "not helpful, there's a deadline, just answer the effing question" and my polite response was, is - because otherwise I will ALWAYS just be a beginner. Without challenges, how can we grow? And I LIKE a challenge, even if I moan a bit when it gives me troubles. The only stupid question is the question never asked, and the only impossible task is the one not tried. 

Deep thoughts for a Wednesday! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I found your blog! I was able to knit one mitered square-ish thing today and it only took 3 cast ons and one Zantac tab for stomach upset. I really like the knit-back cast on you show, and I got plenty of practice today. :)
Oh, and after swatching T6,6+,6++, and 7, none of them matched gauge so I made the executive decision and went with T7. And wouldn't you know it - that square I knit today matches gauge. Pffft! I hate gauge. knittinbunny