Sunday, August 24, 2008

Half baked

This is the shawl that didn't make it over the finish line. At about 50% done, it still has a long way to go. It's warm and cozy for the cold weather we have had the last two days!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ravelympics rock!

Well, I have successfully finished three out of my four Ravelympic projects. This one I had some challenges with sewing it up. At the cast off shoulder edge, the eyes open up quite dramatically, and I had two wavy bumps in the shoulder seam the first side when I had finished sewing it up. I looked at it, contemplated options, discussed with knitting friends, and then emailed the designer - Norah Gaughan. Norah suggested that sewing them up firmly would work, as the weight of the garment would pull the seam straight. What I had sewn on the first shoulder didn't look like it would straighten out, but I thought about possibly drawing the eye together by catching only the knit stitches in the seam and pulling them up taut. That seems to have worked, although there is still a bit of a wave to the shoulder. In any case, I am very grateful to Norah for her suggestions and support.

One last project, the Fleece Artist shawl, is still on the needles. I doubt very much it will make the finish line before the deadline - which is roughly 9:00 am tomorrow morning. I have no intention of pulling an all nighter just to finish a shawl!!! I am still happy about how much I have completed though. The shawl, though not complete, has progressed a lot since the start of the Ravelympics, so all is not lost.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sprint to the finish line

Love the colour of this sweater, love the design... not so happy about the fit. I may have mentioned that I made the mistake of not reading the yarn indications on the pattern carefully enough. Debbie Bliss designed this pattern to be oversized anyway, and then wrote the instructions even larger because she was using Rowan Denim yarn and she allowed for 20% shrinkage on the final garment. Because I was knitting to the measurements, without thinking about this shrinkage factor, I have successfully created a beautiful garment that is about 6 sizes too large for the boyo. I should really rip it out, take about six inches off the length and off the sleeves, and redo the neckline. However, he will grow. We know that. He has been doing that successfully for 11 1/2 years...

Two out of four Ravelympic projects complete. The white sister sweater is ready for sewing up, and the shawl is coming along, albeit slowly. It looks like three will be complete, and possibly (fingers crossed everyone!) four!

Monday, August 11, 2008

WIPS wrestling

Well, here is one finished object in the WIPS wrestling event for the Ravelympics! A member of Ravelry, in a tip of the hat to the Yarn Harlot, has established the Ravelympics. The idea is that you begin and complete a project during the Beijing games. However, the organizers were brilliant and also established an event wherein you could complete some of those languishing projects that have been cluttering up the work basket forever! This was perfect for me. I have entered four objects in this category: The Backyard Leaves scarf (shown above), the sister sweater (for sister's 50th birthday in March), the Stewart sweater (just needs to be sewn up!), and the Fleece Artist shawl. I have high hopes for all but the shawl. It is not a project I am enjoying working on - the needles keep getting caught in the loopy ends of the yarn. It's a very boring knit, too; straight garter stitch, with an increase at the beginning of each row.

In any case! I can excitedly jump up and down for the completion of the first WIP. This scarf was an easy knit, even though I had to concentrate on the chart a bit. The only thing I don't like, and this has been mentioned by other Ravelers, is the join at the centre back. The instructions say to knit two halves, then sew them together. Others have complained that the cast on edge is too tight, that it is hard to join them together. In fact, the problem is not that the edge is too tight, it is that there are fewer stitches here than in anywhere else in the scarf. I did a provisional cast on, then picked up the provisional cast on, plus a few more, and started knitting in the other direction once I had one side if the scarf complete. If I were to make this again, I would increase the number of stitches at the second cast on (you knit two rows, then cast on additional stitches). I would also see if it were possible to do a provisional cast on at that point, as well, so you would have two cast on edges to pick up from, and then a very small seam between, where the two extra rows met. Sounds confusing? You sort of have to know how the pattern is established...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Back to the drawing board...

Did you ever have one of those projects? You know, one of those projects that no matter what you do or how careful you are, you find yourself knitting and tinking and knitting and frogging and by the time you are finally finished, you have knitted at least two complete garments with only one to show for it? Enter Lucy two. This great pattern is beautiful when knit, but it has caused me a bit of a headache. (In no way the fault of the pattern!) As I was knitting the two fronts for this sweater, I cast off a few stitches for the neck edge, and then decreased several stitches up the neck edge. just as I would do if knitting by hand. My machine knitting mentor, Joan, suggested that short rowing the neck edge would be a smoother line for the neckline and would be easier to pick up for the edging. So, when I started the backs, I thought I should try short rowing (which I had only done once before). The backs worked out beautifully and were easy to do - until I took them off the needles and realised I had forgotten to wrap the stitches and there were big holes between the rows. That's alright, I thought, I will just rip them back to the beginning of the shaping, and rehang the stitches and do it again. There's only a few rows. So, I pulled out the rows, knitted about six rows by hand in waste yarn so that I could hang the stitches, and did it again. Then I thought I had better do the same with the fronts, even though there were a few more rows to deal with. So, I ran a knitting needle through the row right before the cast off, pulled out the knitting, reknitted a few rows by hand on waste yarn, hung the stitches again and redid the necklines. When I was working on the purple front, though, I must have forgotten to place the weight near the neck edge where the short rowing was happening, and when I took it off the needles, several stitches were pulled and/or dropped. Frustrated, I put it to the side for a bit, did the sleeves, and soaked and blocked them and the one correct front. Looking at the backs, now, though, I realised that I had 27 shoulder stitches on the fronts, and 30 shoulder stitches on the backs... Yikes. So, insert knitting needle again, frog back, knit by hand, hang the stitches, redo the neck edges. Then I realised that the purple front was ok in the short row stitches! All I needed to do was the ten rows of straight knitting from the neck decreases to the shoulder. So, I inserted a knitting needle, and pulled out the offending rows. I was about to knit a few rows of waste yarn by hand, rehang the stitches on the machine, and then knit the last ten rows, when I thought, why don't I just knit the last ten rows by hand - it makes as much sense as trying to prep this for the machine. Ok, So I have all the pieces reknit, everything is looking great. I take the three pieces down to soak in the sink and bring them out to block them on the ironing board. Now, take a look at that damned purple front. Check in particular the location of the armhole and the neck edge. Do I do a good job when I decide to screw up or what?!!!

Just to show the pieces are all there! Here are the two (correctly shaped) back pieces!