Friday, July 30, 2010

Kitties and Knitting

Have you ever noticed that if you have a cat, he or she always wants to be involved with the knitting or crocheting? They essentially LOVE all things yarn. I find our little Franklin either needs to snuggle up with me while I'm knitting, play with the yarn, or pose with the final product. In this picture, he's doing his part to model with my Barnes and Noble Nook cover. In a future post, I'll include instructions on making this!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Set-In Sleeve In-the-Round Sweater FINALLY DONE!

I'm happy to report that the sweater is FINALLY done! As Dudley DoRight would say, "It was an ugly business, but clean living prevailed!"

I'm not entirely happy with how the tops of the shoulders came out, as they looked a bit poofy when I tried on the sweater. Yes, I did put on a WOOL sweater in JULY, and yes, I do need to have my head examined...thank goodness for air conditioning. I'm hoping a few washes will eliminate the poofiness issue. Part of the problem might be that I chose to start doing the "every row" sleeve decreases when 1/2 the stitches were gone, counting from the # of sleeve stitches I had after I'd joined the sleeves to the body. Next time, I'm going to go with decreasing them when 1/2 the sleeve stitches are gone, but counting from the very beginning, before attaching the sleeves.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Set-In Sleeve Angst

Well, I’ve woven in all the ends for the Set-In Sleeve In-the-Round sweater, but I’ve come across an issue. It appears that all along the armhole “seams,” where I decreased on the sleeves, I have ugly gaps. I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that I decreased right at the marker or because the Shadow Cable pattern does have a tendency to pull in at the twist. Either way, it has completely defeated the whole purpose of a Set-In Sleeve In-the-Round sweater, which is--you’re not supposed to have to SEW THE SLEEVES! I had to take a length of yarn and weave it through the entire arm socket for each sleeve, to close up all the holes. I suppose the only saving grace is that I didn’t have to actually set the sleeves into the arm holes, which is always the 7th circle of hell.

Next up will be the collar. Usually, I’m not wild about doing row upon row of ribbing, but after the aforementioned little adventure the collar is going to seem like nothing.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ladybug Afghan Modifications

Okay, I'm taking time out from the ENDLESS task of weaving in all the ends of my set-in sleeve sweater to address a grievous omission. About a week ago, at this point, someone messaged me on the Crochetville Forum, asking if I could detail how I modified the Ladybug Afghan. I finally have some free time to explain...

Those of you who've seen Janice Slocum's crocheted Ladybug Afghan will agree with me, I'm sure, when I say it is hands-down the most adorable child's afghan ever. One might even say it is "cute as a bug" (pun intended).

However, I'm sure you'll also agree with me when I say it's one of the MOST frustrating patterns to follow. If you follow the directions to the letter, you will end up with an excessively wavy afghan that frankly looks ODD. At first, I thought it was me. As a knitter, I'm pretty much dead-on with the stated gauge of a pattern. As a crocheter, however, I'm all over the map. I checked out Ravelry, though, and I found that I was far from alone in my angst over this pattern. Everyone has pretty much struggled with the directions.

So, to this end, I decided to modify the pattern, so that my final product wouldn't look bizarre.

1) To start with, I decided to throw in a straight row every 5th row, to even out the wonkiness. This meant I needed to adjust all the increases. Once you understand that there are 12 increases in a row, all you have to do is space out the 12 increases evenly for each row. This involves painstaking counting for each row, plus basic math, but the results are well worth it.

2) I found that I needed to add 4 more rows than what is indicated in the pattern. This could be me, as my double crochets (DC) are sometimes shorter than usual, even when I carefully do a gauge swatch and think I'm right on the money.

3) Seeing as I was adding straight rows, I ignored the directions for the black face after Row 14, where she has you begin with two black DCs in a stitch--I did do this. However, this is what I did after Row 14. When I got to the black section for each row, using the black yarn, I crocheted one DC before the black stitch. I crocheted to the last black DC, and in that last DC, I crocheted 2 DCs, then changed back to red. I counted this double DC as one of the increases, adjusting the placement of the rest of the increases accordingly. When I had to do this on a "straight" row, I made up for it by eliminating one of the decreases in the following row.

This all sounds weird, but it works. Since you are turning the afghan every time to get to the end of a round anyway, the double DCs alternate on each side of the face. This fixes it so that the face doesn’t get too wide.

4) Finally, I didn't place the increases at the same point every time (you especially can't do that when you're doing the black face). I found this made for a rounder afghan (I mean, really, have you ever SEEN a ladybug with 12 flat sides???

I hope this helps!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Almost done with the Set-In Sleeve Sweater!

This is the Set-In Sleeve sweater, from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Workshop, knit in the round. Those who know me know I absolutely LOATHE to sew, so I'm forever searching for any and all sweater methods that have the least amount of sewing possible. Of course, I've taken complete leave of my senses, in that not only am I doing an in-the-round technique that I'm completely unfamiliar with, I'm also doing it using the "Shadow Cable" stitch found in the Leisure Arts 99 Knit Stitches booklet. Let me tell you, it's been quite the challenge to decrease stitches for the shoulders, while at the same time keeping the cable pattern going.

I've varied EZ's basic pattern by dropping down the collar a bit.

The cable pattern is another story altogether. I have a very dear friend, who knows nothing about knitting; but for my birthday, somehow, she managed to find the ONE stitch book I didn't have. I didn't tell her what to buy--she just figured it out. I couldn't not use the booklet for my very next project...which is how I ended up mentally patting my head and rubbing my stomach at the same time!

At this point, I'm FINALLY done with most of the knitting. I just have to graft the shoulders, knit the collar, and (of course) weave in all the ends. Seriously, is there such a thing as paying someone to weave the ends in for you??? LOL...

My Brand-New Blog!

Yes, I've finally entered the 21st century and started a blog! I'm calling this "WildKnitter" as that's also my Twitter username. As you can tell, I do a lot of knitting...LOL. I also crochet. I thought this would be a great forum for me to post progress on all my various knitting and crocheting feats. More later!