Monday, July 23, 2007

The second sleeve, cont'd

It's boring, working on the second sleeve, but at least they will both be done when I finish the body. That will be nice. The second one is coming along better than the first. The gauge is more even, though it is looser. In the picture you can see that the bottom part of the first one is smaller. I wish that one was larger and the second one was smaller, but the second one will be okay, since this is sort of a jacket-like sweater. I used a larger needle and added one pattern repeat to get it larger, but my knitting was looser besides that and so the second one turned out a whole lot bigger than the first. I hope when I redo the first one at the bottom, it looks okay. I wish after all the practice I've had with faire-isle type knitting, that my stitches were more consistent. I keep trying and hoping it will improve.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Still plugging away: the flat stage

I'm working on the second sleeve. It is coming along better than the first, I think. It doesn't seem worth posting a picture of, but maybe when it's a bit longer.

I have a couple other things I need to do: Make window treatments for our study, that we have just redecorated, do some work in my garden etc.

And for fun I'm reading a memoir by Claude Michelet called "Une fois Sept". He was the youngest of 7 children. It is a lot of fun. He writes with a lot of humor and he had an active imagination as a child.

I visited a local art museum today and we went to the opera last night and saw "the Barber of Seville".

That's it for today.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Rest day: sleeve complete

Here is the finished sleeve. I have to redo the color border, so it's not really finished, but I reached the top and bound it off. I'm not entirely happy with it. I wish I could get my two-color knitting more even, but at least none of the stiches have completely disappeared, so it's not as bad as some of my earlier efforts. It's acceptable.
Do we have to take a day of rest now? I do have two other projects that need just a bit of finishing to be done. Maybe I should work on those today and start the next sleeve tomorrow.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Progressing on the sleeve:

I thought I'd show you how I keep track of where I am in the pattern. I scanned the pattern into my computer. (If you don't have a scanner make several copies.) This pattern has a repeat of 26 rows and 26 stitches. I don't think I'll ever be able to keep it in my head, so I will have to use these diagrams for most of the sweater.

The arrow printed on the pattern indicates the stitch that should be at the center of the sleeve (midt pa ermet) I started with 73 stitches, so the 37th stich was the mid-point. I counted backwards to find where I should start the pattern. I also needed to increase one stitch each end of the row every 4 rows. So I next drew a solid line on the pattern at the starting point which jogs out one stitch every 4 rows. This helps me keep track of the increases as well and I don't need a pesky stitch counter, which kept getting in the way. I highlight the row I'm doing next, knit that and highlight the next row. I'm alternating my highlight colors, but that doesn't really serve any special purpose. When I put the work down I highlight the next row and indicate with an arrow that that is where I should start next. Each time I complete a pattern I throw that one away after transfering the starting line to a new page. This is the third page I've done now. So I have almost completed 3 complete pattern repeats.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Stage 4: Sleeve hem

So I started on a sleeve, which is what I should have done in the first place. It is always easier to rip out a sleeve and start over, than to do that with the body. I will have to start the body over, but if I have enough yarn, I won't have to rip the first one out. Not sure if it can be used, but not having to rip it out and untangle the yarn and rewind the balls will be a good thing.

I completed one repeat of the pattern on the sleeve. It is a 26-row repeat and 26 stitches also.The hem is still tighter than it should be, but I think I can live with it. I may start the second one with more stiches and if it comes out better and the difference bugs me I can undo the bottom of this one and reknit it in the other directon. I have never done this, but I have seen it done and I know people who can help me do this.

In the interest of being brutally honest, here is the other side of the sleeve showing the increases. It's not great, but it's not horrible. The pattern called for using fewer stiches in the border than in the pattern, but my knitting with 3 and 4 strands pulls up so much that I should have just started with the larger number. I didn't realize it was pulling up so much. Actually the first one I did was looser, but looked horrible. Oh well, this is what I can do now. I'll keep practicing and hope to get better.

No question this is a mountain challenge for me. I'm glad I joined this tour de france kal, because it has given me the incentive I need to keep at this project and not get discouraged.

As for doing French while I do this, I listened to a Frech CD while I was knitting and also finished reading a mystery in French last night, after I quit knitting for the day. I read "Maigret et le Phantome" by Simenon. Is anyone familiar with his series of police novels?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The lower border - continued

The Border:

Here is the border pattern, completed. I pinned it to the carpet, because it rolls up otherwise. I also folded the ribbed facing under it. This is how the hem should look, but without the pins.

I really hope I don't have to rip this out.

Stage 3: Border

Stage 3:

This is the gauge swatch that I made before I started. I did one repeat on #3 needles and a second one on 3.5mm. I decided the second one is closer to the gauge, so that's what I plan to use.

I did the border pattern again, after ripping it out once. It turned out much better the second time. In fact I am happy with how it looks. I have a picture, but it's still in the camera. Now I am afraid to measure it, because I think it is too small, which means I'll have to rip it out and do it again. Aaargh! For some reason this pattern calls for doing the border on 2.5 needles with 265 stitches and then increasing to 273 stitches and 3 or 3.5 needles for the body, which is the all-over design in the gauge swatch here. I can't figure out why they wanted me to do the border on smaller needles. The number of stitches I understand. That is because the repeat is different and that is to make it come out symmetrical at the center front. But it doesn't seem like the bottom hem should be smaller than the rest of the jacket. They do call it a jacket (jakke).

So I'm going to go up to my yarn store to see friends who knit there on Tuesdays and ask their opinion.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Stages 1 and 2: casting on and ripping

Stages 1 and 2:

I did get started on my sweater on the 7th. I was flying home from a family reunion over the holiday weekend. the reunion was held in Alabama and we flew home from Atlanta. I cast on the 269 stitches, joined them (being careful not to twist) and started knitting the ribbing. After 3 rows I checked for the 3rd or 4th time to be sure it wasn't twisted. It was!!! I tried and tried to get it to come out right, but no, I had twisted it. So I started over. There is no way to fix that other than to start over. I was using a needle that was too short, but it was the one I had. It is hard to be sure you haven't twisted the work when it is scrunched up on a shorter needle.
Attempt 2: I did the ribbing (the pattern called for 21 rows.) this will be turned under as a facing and I really wondered why I needed 21 rows, but I kept going. I think I quit at 20 though. Then I started the border pattern. This is when I discovered the border rows require 3 and even 4 colors carried in one row. Not somethng I have experience with. This is truly a challenge for me. I tried carrying two colors in my right hand and 2 in the left and got 6 rows done, but it was unacceptable, so I ripped it out, untangled the 5 colors and started the pattern again this time carying only 1 color in the left hand and all the others in the right, dropping one and picking up the next. I even figured out how to do this without twisting the 3 colors in the right hand, so I learned a new technique. I also found out it didn't work to try to do anything else while I did these rows, so I took my knitting up to the deck to work on it in silence. I have done 4 rows of the pattern and they look okay, I think. I still need to check the size, though. If it's too small that will mean ripping it all out again.
The picture above doesn't show much except the colors. The knitting rolled back, so what you do see is the back side, but I'll make it show better in the next one.

I have to go out today, so will come back to this later.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

My Norwegian sweater - tour de France - project

My mother and I were visitng Norway in May. Our relatives took us on a tour of the area (near Egersund in Rogaland) which included a visit to the Gjestal factory outlet store. My mother picked up some lime-green yarn (10 balls for $10.00-total!) I spent more than that, but this was still a bargain. I also bought a pattern, which is in Norwegian, so I'll have to work on figuring it out. It is a cardingan with an all-over two color pattern using the dark blue and brown yarn. The other three are used in the contrasting border. I hope to get started on the gauge swatch today and be ready to start the sweater on July 7th along with the start of the Tour de France.

I have finally managed to instal my scanner. We got a new computer and it hadn't been reinstalled. So here is the picture from the pattern book of this sweater. (I hope) The photo is not a good one, because it doesn't show the contrasting border very well. Why don't knitting pattern books think about these thing?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Considering starting a blog

I might change my mind and do this afterall.

I will be living in Paris Sept 2 through Dec. 1, 2007. I am thinking about writing a blog at that time.

I also have decided to do a knit-along project with the Tour de France knitters. I picked up a Norwegian pattern for a cardigan in Norway last month and have hardly even looked at it, but I need to start a new project, so I think this is going to be it. It is a two color all-over pattern. I'll see if I can find a picture of it on-line. My colors are teal and brown, with accent borders in red and gold.

The pattern is in Norwegian, which is not one of the languages I read, but I have translated some of it and I know a knitting friend who knows Norwegian so she can help if I get stuck.

That's it for now.