This is just a quick update to say that yes, I am still knitting and not just buying yarn. Please do not come to my house to gawk at the piles of new fiber. Please. (I have not even posted about my Maryland Sheep & Wool purchases. I may never do so in order to protect the guilty.)
I finished the body of my Spring Snow Cardigan a week or two ago. I started the sleeves, but decided to interrupt myself and do the edging and collar so that when the sleeves are finished, there is no other major knitting to do. I’ve got buttons that I think will work out even if they are not the buttons o’ my dreams.
So here is that little tart Lucy wearing the cardigan. As I mentioned before, I am knitting this out of Blue Sky Alpaca’s Royal Alpaca in the color Cameo. (This is a Japanese pattern by Hitomi Shida: Let’s Knit Series Couture #12, but it may be difficult to find).
I make my share of mistakes while knitting. Sometimes I misunderstand directions. Sometimes I miscount. Sometimes I think I’m smarter than I really am. And sometimes I get caught up watching Jeremy Irons in The Borgias and just don’t pay attention.
For example, the other day I randomly threw a p2tog into my pink Japanese cardigan. (I can’t even blame Jeremy for that one.) I figured it out four or five rows later when my stitch count was off. I came to the end of a section of traveling stitches and instead of two purl stitches remaining, I only had one. It wasn’t difficult to fix that mistake — the hard part was finding it. I looked and looked at both sides of my knitting until I realized it wasn’t a dropped stitch, but a “gee what was I thinking” decrease. I dropped down a few rows, undid the p2tog, and laddered back up, adjusting the tension of the surrounding stitches to have enough yarn for the stitch that had been decreased on the rows above the mistake. Here are a couple photographs of the fix.
That wasn’t so hard, now was it?
I’m also working on a lace shawl — a gift for a dear friend. It’s a beautiful but relatively simple pattern (more on it at the end of this post). That’s where Jeremy Irons comes in. I was working on the shawl the other night. I glanced down at the pattern repeat, memorized it, knit that row, and kept going while Jeremy did things modern Popes just.do.not.do. In the light of day, I noticed something wrong. The pattern has lines of stitches that converge. Left leaning decreases (sk2p — slip 1, k2tog, pass the slipped stitch over) are paired with right leaning decreases (k3tog). I know this. I had already done these decreases on other rows. This time, however, I did the left leaning decrease across the entire row, and by the time I noticed I was five rows along in the pattern. Rut roh. The mistake is shown below.
So, to fix it I was going to have to drop back, and then recreate the intervening rows. (Did I mention there were fifteen repeats of this mistake?) The key part of the five rows (from where I was down to the mistake):
1. Current row (RS): yo, k3tog, yo
2. (WS): purl back
3. (RS): yo, k2tog
4. (WS): purl back
5. Mistake row (RS): yo, k3tog, yo (instead of yo, sk2p, yo)
I chose to work the next wrong side row and correct as I went along. I worked to each mistake, turned the knitting so that the right side was facing, and dropped down to the mistake. I only dropped down those stitches that I absolutely had to. Because I was correcting just a few stitches, I didn’t pin out the running threads to keep track of them — instead, I used a different wooden (non-slippery) needle for each row. After fixing the mistake a dozen times, I had it down to a science. It suddenly occurred to me that I should try to demonstrate what I was doing for the blog. That was harder than I thought it would be, even with a tripod. But here it is. (Disclaimer: I hate my voice, and I know this is not going to win for best documentary short at next year’s Oscars.)
Here is a close up of the repair.
Whew! That was one of those mistakes that I could have left — it didn’t change the stitch count. I obviously kept going without noticing it. I am making it for someone who doesn’t knit, and so I doubt she would have noticed. But the overall effect of the pattern would have been diminished.
As for the shawl pattern, it is Romi Hill’s Asterope, from her book Seven Small Shawls to Knit. The photograph below is from the book (I hope Romi doesn’t mind!).
The Asterope pattern is very clear, as are the charts. I cannot blame Romi for my mistake. I blame you, Jeremy.
Spring in Washington means cherry blossoms. A few days ago, it was in the seventies here in Washington, DC. My bulbs began to poke timidly out of the ground, and one of my cherry trees blossomed open, even while the buds on its more cautious yard mates stayed firmly closed.
Sadly, caution may have been wiser — our temperatures dipped down into the thirties last night and we could have snow this weekend. Cherry blossoms are fragile, and I’m afraid our intrepid early blooms won’t last.
Washington’s most famous cherry trees — those that line the Tidal Basin — were a gift from Japan, and this spring my thoughts have turned frequently to Japan for many reasons. Just a day or two before the horrible earthquake and tsunami, I started working on another Japanese sweater pattern. I love Japanese patterns because they are so beautiful and unusual. And I love how even the most complex patterns are reduced to a few charts that experienced knitters can follow without speaking a word of Japanese.
The cardigan I’m knitting is by Hitomi Shida, and was published in the Let’s Knit Series (Couture Knit 12: Adult Luxury Knits).
I’m knitting it in Blue Sky Alpaca’s Royal Alpaca in the color Cameo. I’m working it in one piece to the armholes. It’s not a difficult pattern, but there is patterning on the wrong and right sides so I have to pay some attention. I started with a provisional cast on in waste yarn, which is why there is a white “border.” The collar, button bands, and hem are knit at the end in one piece. At least I think they are. I’ll worry about that after I finish the body and sleeves.
The other object in the photo is a pair of Japanese scissors that I bought when I was in Minneapolis visiting Susan. (They came from Bella Lana.) They are a wonderful marriage of beauty and function: very pretty, but also very sharp.