Conceding defeat

May 29th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I’ve been told by one of my good knitter friends that I’m a tight knitter.  She’s been telling this to me for almost two years now.  I never believed her.  Everyone who has seen my knitting has always told me how uniform my tension is – that it looks machine knit a lot of the time.  I prided myself on good tension and having a garment that looked professional.  However, until just this past weekend, I did not realize that good tension does not equal (≠) tight vs. loose knitting.  One can have good tension and be a tight (or loose) knitter.  I did not know this.

Case in point – the quest for gauge.  Most knitters will admit that they always or never or sometimes do a test swatch to confirm that they have the right gauge for a project.  (Fun diversion, check out this Sh*t Knitters Say video, and you’ll know what I’m talking about).  Me, I usually do a test swatch if I’m doing a large project like a sweater.  But for a baby hat?  Nah, why bother?  Well, I should have bothered in this case…

I was in the process of knitting an adorable swirl baby hat (Ravelry link only) to match the adorable baby sweater I made for my friend’s baby (Emily, see previous blog post) when I realized about ¾ of the way into the hat, that this hat wouldn’t fit a 2 month old.  In fact, it probably would only fit a preemie.  Now what went wrong?  Well, I used 3mm needles when the pattern called for 3.25mm needles.  I figured that 0.25 of a millimetre wouldn’t really make all much of a difference.  However, when you factor in that I’m (ahem) a tight knitter, well, then I was left with an itty bitty hat that really wouldn’t serve my friend’s (or anyone’s) baby.

And so I frogged the whole thing this morning on the bus going to work.  This is the part of being a knitter that I try to just get to that zen place where I realized that yes, I royally messed up, but I’m gonna keep going dammit.

Hat mid-frog:

Swirl Hat Frogged

I’m going to redo this hat on size 4mm needles.  Perhaps a bit overkill on the up-sizing, but I ain’t gonna be foiled by my tight knitting again!  Here goes round two… cue bell.

Oh, and Kyrsten, you were right.  I am a tight knitter….blushes

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A cardigan for Emily

May 18th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

It seems to be raining babies in my familial and social circles these days. Most of my friends and family seem to be knocked up or have just had a new squirming baby enter the scene. Seriously, I think that 2012 is the year of the bouncing baby.

New life is always a good thing, and for the knitter in need of a project or two (or 7), knitting for the newly born is kind of a treat. First of all, babies are small. Thus, baby projects (with the exception of perhaps blankets) are also small. It’s almost like instant gratification if you are a project knitter – “gee, look at how many baby caps I can churn out in a week!!” 

And so was my line of thinking when knitting this really sweet baby cardigan for my dear friend Monica’s first child, Emily. This wee bundle of joy was born on March 29 and I started knitting on April 2. I figured that it would take me perhaps 2 weeks tops to finish the cardigan. Boy was I wrong. Two Horrible Things Happened.

Horrible Thing #1 – I injured a rib and the muscles surrounding my left rotator cuff. This meant that basically any task where I had to lift my left arm up even 45 degrees meant extreme pain and muscle spasms. I was losing sleep because of the pain. Its been about 4 weeks and its still problematic. Cue having to put down any knitting (to say nothing of my weekly dance class and my workouts) for a while.

Horrible Thing #2 – I had been warned that this particular pattern, Maile, was very fidgety when joining the sleeves to the body of the cardigan. I read a bunch of helpful notes on Ravelry and most knitters were saying to use a stupidly long circular needle (i.e. 60cm) and magic-loop the join. They were right, I was speeding along with the body and the sleeves and when I went to join them, OUCH. Not fun, and took way longer than I would have expected. I didn’t manage to send out the finished cardigan until May 14. But I did send it express, and Monica should get it today. I figure Emily should get about a month’s usage out of the cardigan (crosses fingers).

The other weirdness was that my buttonhole count seemed to be off even though I was knitting the pattern exactly as written. I had to fudge the finishing of the collar to accommodate another buttonhole so that I had 5 as per the pattern. In the end, I only ended up sewing on 3 of the buttons as I thought the cardigan was looking a bit busy; and also because I was advised that trying to close 5 buttons on a squirming baby would also be hellish. I mailed the extra buttons in case they happen to pop off in future.

Overall, I’m happy with how this cardigan turned out. Would I knit this pattern again? Probably not. However, it is rather cute and I’m happy to have made something that will probably been an heirloom in my friend’s family for years to come.

Finished Maile

Pattern: Maile Sweater
Yarn used: Golden Willow Sock, fingering weight, approx 319 yards
Points for the pre-process Stashdown!
Needles used: 3.5 mm circular for the body & yoke; and 4mm DPNs for the sleeves to ensure good fit
Size – 0 to 3 months

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