The jumper, day 10

In which there is great excitement

After a bit of super fast tinking back to a missed increase, all the increases were done and it was time to separate the body from the sleeves. Very, very excitement!

Elaine is that excited
Elaine is that excited.

Unlike yesterday, the tinked stitches were all mounted in the same direction, albeit backwards.

Even though it looks enormous, in the final trying on before the separation I was concerned the armhole would be too tight. But when I separated and cast on the extra stitches under the arms, I realised those stitches would also be added in to the sleeves and all would be well. At least I hope that’s what will happen.

I did a sanity check after the first couple of rows of the body, counting everything, and all was well: 110|78|110|78. For once. This was excitement in and of itself.

And in further excitement, there was a new ball of wool joined in. The party was in full swing.

Finishing the body should go pretty fast, since the rounds have much fewer stitches and the underarm already appears to be about waist level. I hope I can get it finished before it gets too hot. It’s already getting heavy and noticeably warm in my lap while I’m working.

I’m checking into ways to knit both sleeves at once. So far I have only found one post but my research in ongoing. My failed attempt at socks last year a year ago two years ago (OMG) was two at a time, and that wasn’t what derailed me. My problems with the socks included teeny needles (3 mm, LOL) that smelled bad (sorry, Addi, but they do) and my finally-conquered-inexplicably-increasing-stitch-count. I can’t remember to KFB when I’m supposed to, but back then I could KAFB about every row. Thanks to Lucy Neatby, I now know what a knit stitch is and just where to stab it.

If I can get this jumper on my body I will wear it every single day. Next winter.

The jumper, day 9

In which several things almost happen

We packed lunch and the knitting and drove to Orford to visit the Three Thumbs State Reserve. Along the way I began to feel slightly unwell and put the knitting aside. We went to nearby Spring Beach to have lunch before heading to the lookout at Three Thumbs. Spring Beach is a very small, very beautiful beach that looks out to Maria Island. From the signage across the street, it is soon to be ruined by development.

Also across the street, a very accommodating echidna posed for photographers for the entire time we were there. (I’ve linked to Google images because we didn’t join the queue.)

At first I thought lunch revived me, but after a brief walk on the beach I changed my mind and we drove back home instead. It was as anticlimactic as it sounds, actually.

I got back to the knitting later in the day. The highlight was a long section of tinking, which I got much better at. I learned it was easier to turn the work over and do it from the back side so I could work with my right hand.

I knew I was tinking two different ways which was mounting some of my stitches incorrectly, but I didn’t bother figuring out which was correct. I learned in Knit Faster with Combination Knitting how to knit into the back of incorrectly mounted stitches. (Though I feel compelled to comment that the cookie analogy therein did not work for me.) Combination knitting is a variation on continental knitting with much easier, but backwards mounted, purl stitches. Sadly my wrists did not like combination knitting at all.

In addition to almost visiting Three Thumbs and almost being sick in the car, I almost joined in a fourth ball of yarn and almost knit to the part where you separate out the sleeves.

No gratuitous image today. Gratuitous images. Camera practice at Kingston Beach, July 2018. Because dogs.

The jumper, days 7 and 8

In which the knitter misses the target

I knitted right past the target for stopping the raglan increases. I know I have a thing with counting—you would never believe I was really good at math in school—but this wasn’t that. This was just being too lazy to look it up to see when it was coming.

Anyway, it didn’t turn out to be a drama. Elaine, a hanger with a top that fits well, and I all tried on the yoke. I did some long overdue measuring of my upper arm. I checked my real life gauge to see how well I was matching the swatches. All of this led me to decide further increases were required.

Based on recalculations, my new target is 50|78|100|78|50 and I’ll add 10 stitches to each underarm.

I found this chart a while back and it’s been helpful for defining terms and validating measurements. Yes, it is for men’s clothing. I told you I like loose fitting clothes. What can I say? I grew up in the era of unisex clothes. No negative ease in my jumper.

Also during this time, I learned that when the stitches are getting all twisted on the needle, turn the needle toward the twist and when the cable pops back it untwists the stitches.

Here’s a completely gratuitous image. This is the first one I took and I hated all the clutter, so I tried and tried to recreate it after I cleared the table, then I gave up.

Hanging out waiting for action
Hanging out waiting for action.

Jane, the loom

We’ve been apart as long as we were together

I got Jane late in 2015, but we’ve been separated since early last year and I miss her. Here’s some photos of plain Jane with her maiden warp and again later, looking a bit more tricked out. Also some gratuitous images of bobbins and warps.

I’m hoping for a reunion early next year. Jane is very bored with being in storage.

Here is a too-close view of my first multishaft weaving. Ai yai yai! Dressing the loom took hours and hours and hours. I lost the will to live on multiple occasions—it was So Hard. Straight draw across all eight shafts with really lousy yarn and that many threading and sleying errors. Eventually, in the fullness of time, it was done enough I could weave. My pattern book (Strickler) had not yet arrived but I had a basic idea about twill, so I just threw levers to see what happened. Probably all four shaft twills in the end.

The first image below is a Bateman blend using handspun for weft. William Bateman was a PhD chemist who made important contributions to weaving during his retirement.

The second image is the start of a warp for trying out turned taqueté and echo weave. This one is based on work by Bonnie Inouye, who is an outstanding weaver, author and teacher.

The jumper, day 6

In which there is good progress and fewer mistakes

The jumper, modelled by my trusty mannequin, TR-6. (Seinfeld, S5, E15)

I prefer to think of her as... Elaine
I prefer to think of her as… Elaine.

Just a few things of note:

A new ball of yarn was joined in, hence the dangly bits at left. Third ball already. Do I have enough yarn? If I run out I guess I can always do stripes. (Little joke from yesterday.)

The prominence of the BM of day 4 has receded somewhat, perhaps in response to the gentle round-and-round massage as the knitting continued. It’s still visible, to be sure, but not nearly so much as I expected. My hope is that when the jumper is washed, it will sort itself out. Wool has memory and hopefully this wool will remember that it wasn’t originally all stretched out. If that doesn’t work, maybe I can tease the bigness into the surrounding stitches. Or embroider a giant flower.

Or maybe just glare. “WTF are you staring at? Mate.”

You may note the increase marker is dangling by a removable marker. The error de jour is forgetting to toggle the increase marker in and out. I’m getting really good with the raglan markers. You can zone out the rest of the round but right here, right now, you have to pay attention. Either you need to increase or you need to be sure you increased last time around. But for some reason today I’m just blowing by the BOR marker without toggling in the increase marker. I know, know, know not to improvise any increases here. That lesson took. And I note-to-self that I’m now on an increase round, so I’m catching it at the first raglan. But still. Really?

I admit I was also reading, but I have to work this out. Sometimes just knitting is enough. Other times it is a background activity.

Or maybe I have to wait until I’m past the increase rounds for that.

The jumper, day 5

In which the knitter remains undecided about spots

In between monitoring emails for client emergencies, setting up an Instagram account, a D&M with a neighbour friend, having the crown placed (finally) on a dental implant, shopping and forgetting to start dinner, there has been a little bit of knitting and a big bit of contemplation about colours.

When I bought the first of the yarn for swatching, I bought three colours that went together nicely. There was a striped jumper in my mind’s eye. I learned lot about how striped-jumpers-I-like are not constructed.

Uh, no
Uh, no.

Let’s stick with a solid colour jumper, shall we?

Then I knit a few inches of the pattern I’m using and added a collar with the yellow which I quite liked. Sorry, no photo, I frogged it. I knit another swatch recently that I don’t like so much but I think the first collar was probably 1:1 ribbing, so maybe that’s why.  I don’t like the one row of darker yellow in the collar, so ignore that. Also ignore the darker yellow stripey bits. I think the contrasting collar would be cute, but maybe in a way that should be saved for a toddler’s jumper.

Probably not
Probably not.

I also bought three more colours that might go nicely with the blue.

All the colours
All the colours.

A few stripes of coloured, textured stitches, towards the bottom, something like this. (Only not upside down.)

Cute, too cute
Cute, too cute.

I need some toddlers to knit for. (That’ll make my sister-in-law spit out her coffee.)

Being undecided about spots (Coupling S2E3) is blocking me from picking up the stitches around the neck and adding the collar. There’s no rush, I guess.

Let’s stick with a solid colour jumper, shall we?

The jumper, day 4

In which serious mistakes are made

It is to laugh. You may recall I mentioned yesterday that I hadn’t counted in a while…

Apparently at some point I decided it would be fun to add some extra increases in the middle of the front neck, around the purple markers that have nothing to do with increases. I removed them by dropping the stitches and laddering them back up, sans extra KFB stitches. This left some very loose stitches in their place.

An inconspicuous mistake
At least it’s an inconspicuous place, so no one will notice.

Then there was another trying-on. To be sure the neckline still looks largish, but it now looks more like the collar will take care of that. But the rest looks a tad snuggish. I not so sure those smaller relatives are out of the woods yet, there could still be an unwelcome Christmas pressie.

Own the wrinkles
Own the wrinkles.

This morning, I couldn’t shake the feeling there was still something wrong. An analysis ensued, requiring most of my new knitting tools.

Definitely something wrong
Yep, there’s definitely something wrong.

The next last marked stitch was definitely twisted. I dropped the stitch (again) and laddered it back up, properly this time. It’s amazing how much the fix settles the eye, even though it still looks all stretched out.

All better now
All better now.

Now I can get back to the knitting.

The jumper, day 3

In which a new ball of wool is joined

I started the day with my first trying-on. The designer says: “It’s no big deal at this point to rip it out, make whatever adjustments and knit it again.” I agree with this in theory, but since (a) I’ve not knit a jumper (or anything else) before and (b) I don’t own the sort of jumper I’m knitting, I don’t really know what adjustments I would make. The neck looks a bit largish perhaps. I’m pretty sure I won’t be gifting it to a hapless victim relative who is smaller than I am. Being somewhat fond of sloppy, shapeless clothing, there is still hope that I can wear it myself.

The knitting today has been unremarkable, in a zen-like, round-and-round sort of way. I’ve become quite adept at recognising a KFB on the needle, so I haven’t had to count so much to ensure I haven’t missed one. In actual fact, I’m a bit overdue for a count as I haven’t counted at all. Shhhh.

Also, I’ve joined in a new ball of wool.

New ball of wool
No, all the photos do not look alike. This one shows the ends where the new ball of wool was joined.

The jumper, day 2

In which the knitter’s ability to follow simple instructions is revealed to be rubbish

Apparently, I cannot follow simple instructions, such as “count the stitches between the green thingies” and “KFB in the stitches on either side of the green thingies.”

I sorted out yesterday’s dropped stitch/not dropped stitch issue without any drama. And, after multiple recounts, I was able to establish that the HUGE difference between the counts at the front and back neck was one stitch, a missed increase at the front neck (25|28|50|28|24).

I analysed my options, as you do.

Option Pros Cons
Frog project Stitches are not precious Don’t learn anything
Frog back to joining round Invisible fix Don’t have a lifeline
Drop missed increase,
make KFB when laddering up
Invisible fix How would I even do this?
Tink back to missed increase Invisible fix 100 stitches, are you kidding?
KFB twice next round Could finish jumper in my lifetime Potentially hideous flaw at front neck

I implemented the last option. Then much time was wasted with me trying to read the increases in the raglan area, both live and in photographs. By the way, I’m also rubbish at reading my knitting, both live and in photographs. In the end, I decided that the split stitch loop right in the freaking middle of first row of the neckline is much, much hideous-er than the raglans.

Please feel free to point out the myriad flaws in my raglans and my photography. (I was going to show you the hideous split stitch loop, but now I can’t find it.)

Is this the good one?
Is this the good one?
Or is it this one?
Or is it this one?

A few rounds later it happened again (27|32|54|32|26). WTF? Is there a flaw in my increase round marking system? Last option implemented, again.

Also, system revised: Toggle a larger “increase marker” in or out every time you reach the BOR marker. Marker in, increase. Marker out, count.


So far, so good.

The jumper, day 1

In which stitches are cast on, twice

No more procrastination. I’ve swatched and blocked and counted and calculated until I no longer care. I’m going to knit a jumper and it will fit someone. Bonus points if it’s me.

I’m using Karen Templer’s Improv: Basic pattern for a top-down seamless sweater. The idea is to shape the front neck working back and forth. Once you’re happy with the neck, you cast on enough more stitches to match the back neck count, join and continue in the round. Later on, you add the collar.

One false start: I missed the bit where you increase the front at the raglan markers AND at each end of the front neck. I cast on and placed my markers (1|10|32|10|1). I was knitting along and contemplating the math. Why is any math required? Since I’m only making the raglan increases, I already know how many more stitches will need to be cast on, no matter how deep the neckline. When it gets time to join, back neck minus front neck is going to be the same as the original back neck minus the original two front neck stitches. Way more stitches than given in the example. Reread instructions. Frog.

First jumper beginning
Sorry, didn’t have a photo from day one, so this is from day two.

Now it’s smooth sailing. I really like this yarn. I have needle tips that feel great in the hand. I have a proper length cable. I have tiny round stitch markers that don’t interfere with the increases. I have a great system* for keeping up with increase rounds. I have even, pretty stitches. I have a lovely glass of wine. Knitting is bliss.

You see where this is going, don’t you?

I split a stitch and have it on and off the needle. It drops. I fix it. There’s one of those giant long ladders now which I decide is another dropped stitch. I fix it. I decide I’d better count. There’s now a HUGE difference between the stitch counts at the front and back neck. I’m not knitting, but the counts keep changing. Inexplicably, sometimes one is odd and I’m not on an increase round.

And there’s no more wine.

I put the offensive item aside and drink one two of Gary’s beers. Knitting is horrible.

*If you care, I don’t at the moment, my system is: Toggle a larger “increase marker” by putting it in or taking it out every time you reach the BOR marker. Marker in, increase. Marker out, no increase.