Archive for August, 2009

From Our First Twins’ Game

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

I'm posting live from the Metrodome, where we've brought the girls to
see their first Twins game. The whole family is here, including Grandma
and Grandma and Uncle Dave and Aunt Jinnie.

Spiral Sweater KAL Assignment Five

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Alright, friends. I’m sorry about the long delay in posts here. My brain was just working in other places the last few weeks, and it was hard to post day-to-day stuff when I was feeling a strong obligation to my sweater knit-along friends to continue with these instructions. I’m at least partially back on task now, though, and ready to do some more explaining.

When we left off, we’d just done a bunch of math to get us started on the sleeves. I haven’t gotten any questions on that part yet, so either nobody is actually knitting along with me, or the directions mostly made sense. Feel free to ask questions about the sleeves either here on the blog or over on the Ravelry forum, and I’ll do my best to explain further. By the way, anyone who wants to join the knit-along is still welcome to do so. The instructions are going to be hanging around here on the blog indefinitely (and oh, hey! Today is my fifth bloggiversary! Woot!) and most people over in the Ravelry forum haven’t gotten all that far yet.

Here on the home front, I’ve been busy knitting away on two projects that I’m not going to tell you about – well, I may mention one of them in a couple/few weeks, but the other one is a private surprise gift. I’m still working on the second one, and expect it to be done some time this week. That was another reason for my blogstipation. So let’s review the current status of my green and yellow Kauni sweater.

There is almost all of the body, plus a chunk of sleeve, which I started so that I could at least pretend to be knitting along with y’all. I gave up on trying to finish this in time for the State Fair when the two other projects started screaming at me to be knit up, but I dropped off the original spiral sweater with my other entries last week. If you’re local, maybe you’ll see the original one in the Creative Activities building in the next couple of weeks.

Here’s another look at the sleeve so far. It’s even prettier in person, and I’m sure will look better yet once it’s blocked. Someone asked me in the comments? Over on Ravelry? I can’t remember – about the Kauni yarn I’m using and why on Earth anyone would enjoy knitting with it because it’s way too scratchy. Well, it is a little scratchy, yes. I have a fairly high tolerance for the scratchy wool yarn. Dare I say, I almost enjoy the feel of it on my hands, albeit in an entirely different way than I enjoy working with super-soft merino or alpaca or cashmere. Also, this yarn does soften up quite a bit with washing – enough to make a garment comfortable to wear over a t-shirt certainly.

Really, it’s the colors that grab me with this yarn. The slowly shifting colors simply mesmerize me. I kind of like knitting with thin-ish yarns, especially since they produce a lighter, more elegant fabric more suitable for layering during a Minnesota winter. Also, I can tell that this is going to be a very sturdy yarn. It’s not going to pill all over the place during the first wearing (as super-soft yarns are notorious for doing!) It’s going to wear durably for quite a long time. Plus I had it in my stash. So there.

Onwards to the actual instructions for the evening. Even though I don’t have my body and two sleeves completed, I have a good idea of what they’re going to look like when they’re done, enough to talk about how I’m going to bring the three pieces together as a whole. I know at least one or two of my knit-along friends are in that place now, so let’s walk through it. Here’s a picture of the little diagram and notes I made as I was figuring my numbers out, and I strongly encourage you to make some similar notes before you start knitting along.

Let’s start with the body of the sweater. Once you have your spiral-cylinder, you’ll need to figure out how many stitches to pick up along the top edge to make a smooth fabric join. In my case, my sweater circumference is 40″, and I know that my stitches per inch is 7. 7 times 40 is 280, so that’s the target number I’m going for. If you want, you can go ahead and pick up and knit these stitches right now before doing the rest of your math.

Here’s what I did for the original sweater. First, I started at the point of the top spiral join, and picked up and knit one stitch in each of the chain loops around the top edge. Only that won’t give you exactly the right number of stitches – you’ll be a bit short with that. So I ended up picking up and knitting 4 stitches, then performing a M1 before picking up the next 4, and then repeating all the way around – pick up and knit 4, M1 – over and over. I got a number that was pretty close to the target number, and I’m betting that you will too. If that doesn’t work out math-wise for you, you’ll need to M1 either a little more or less often. Now you’ve got a bunch of live stitches on a big circular needle, and if you want, you can knit a couple/few rounds if you need a bit of calming knitting to settle your nerves after all that, or if you think a couple more rows of length on your sweater would look nice. Just don’t forget that you’ll still be adding a border at the bottom later. Oh, and end with your yarn right in the middle of the front, straight over the point of the spiral.

Once we have our sweater circumference number, we can figure out how many stitches to leave for the underarms. Elizabeth Zimmerman recommended about 8-10 percent of the circumference stitches. I like to to the math for 10% (because it’s easy) and then round down if necessary. So I marked 28 stitches on my little diagram. Now, how many stitches to designate for the front and back? Well, 208 (body stitches) minus 28 minus 28 for two underarms comes out to 224. If I divide that by two, I get 112. That’s 112 stitches for the back, and 112 divided by two gives me 56 stitches for each side of the front. So far pretty simple, right?

Now go put a bunch of stitch markers on your circular needle to mark the center front and underarm joins. This makes it easier when you’re knitting the whole mess together, and also serves as a good reality check for your numbers. You can also put some waste yarn in the underarm stitches while you’re at it, or wait to do that until you’re knitting the sleeves on.

The math for the sleeves is just as easy, if not easier. We know we’re going to need 28 stitches for the underarm. We know how many stitches our lace panel takes up – go count them on your sleeve if you’re not sure, and stick some stitch markers in while you’re at it just for fun. I have a 27-stitch lace panel. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I know from my previous math that I’m going to have 103 stitches of sleeve circumference at the underarms for my sweater. So, 103 minus 28 for the underarms minus 27 for the lace panel is 48. If I divide that number by two, I get 24 and that’s how many stitches will be on either side of the sleeve between the lace panel and the underarm stitches. Go put some more stitch markers on the needle to double-check your math.

By the way – you’ll want to end your knitting on the sleeves at the edge of the underarm stitches, either right before or right after – it doesn’t matter. Also, end having just knit a wrong-side type row of the lace – you know, the side that would be the purl back side if you were not working in the round. We’re going to start working back and forth again here in a minute, and we’re going to start on a right-side row.

Okay, that is all my poor little brain can handle for one night. Hopefully, I can talk you through the actual joining and knitting up the yoke sooner than later. I have a huge backlog of other material to post as well. The State Fair opens on Thursday, and I’m going to be there with my girls and my in-laws bright and early. I love the State Fair!

Block Captain Duties…

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Work with me here, friends. I'm taking a quick moment this morning to
bring you a silly little post from my Sidekick. I came down to my
kitchen this morning and found it taken over by picnic supplies for 50.

Tonight is National Night Out, and my main job as block co-captain with
my awesome across-the-street neighbor is a trip to Costco for party
food. I'm excited. I'll bring you pictures of the actual event later.

Oh, and totally unrelated, I had this picture of Sophie with underwear
on her head and couldn't resist.

And It’s August…

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Yeah, hi friends. I’m still suffering from a little blogstipation over here. I have my reasons, but really I will get around to the next step in the sweater instructions soon.

Meanwhile, I’m signing up for Technorati, and they want me to put this code on the blog to prove that it’s mine. cygi5h8twu