theraineysisters knitting and so much more

April 23, 2012

From Sally — There Are None So Blind . . .

Filed under: Milkweed — surly @ 1:39 pm

Sometimes, I can look and look at something without noticing one small detail. Once that detail leaps out, though, it’s impossible to ignore. That’s what happened with my Milkweed sweater. I was knitting merrily along, admiring my work and my progress, without ever noticing the glaring error I had made in one of the cables on the front. And then, somehow, it finally caught my attention. Rut roh. The mistake was even evident in one of the photographs I posted here a week or so ago. Either none of you noticed, or you were too polite to tell me. Here is a photo, with the mistake smack dab in the middle.

Do you see it? It’s not in the big cable on the left. It’s the little cable in the middle repeat of the Milkweed pattern. It’s not that the cable crosses in a different direction — that’s deliberate. It’s that it crosses four times, instead of three. Oops. Because the stitches are traveling, and the traveling involves decreases and other complications, the fix wasn’t going to be as simple as just dropping down the cable stitches. Instead, I had to “take down” a larger section of knitting. I isolated the large cable because it was fine, and then took out all of the stitches involved in the milkweed pattern itself.

The spaghetti tangle of yarn you see are the running threads, that is the stitches that once connected the big cable to the rest of the sweater. Now all I had to do was reknit that section of the pattern using the running thread from each row as my working yarn. It’s awkward, but doable, and much less painful than ripping out the entire cardigan back to that point. (Remember, I had chosen to knit the entire body in one piece. This is where that decision could have come back to haunt me.)

All better. The running threads got a little stretched from all of the manipulation, but I think once it’s blocked it will look fine. This happened a few days ago, so I’ve made more progress than this photo shows despite my stupidity.

It’s tempting to keep these kinds of mishaps private, but in the immortal words of Mr. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice: “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?” And if you ever wonder how I’ve learned to correct these kinds of mistakes, it’s because I’ve made so many of them!

ETA: A concerned reader commented errrr, is now a bad time to point out that the one you’ve corrected now crosses in the opposite direction of the others? the top bit that flows up into the leaf now comes from under another cable instead of from over it.

Just so that no one else worries, that is a deliberate design element of the pattern. Those cables alternate crossing directions. So that is one mistake I actually didn’t make!

April 15, 2012

From Sally — Decisions, Decisions

Filed under: Milkweed — surly @ 5:50 pm

Sometimes, the hardest part of a project is to keep myself from casting on before I think through how I want to finish it. Some decisions made in the excitement of new yarn! new pattern! can’t be “undecided” later. I finally just started a long cardigan that I’ve wanted to make since I first saw it. Because some of our readers wanted more “in progress” photographs and information, I thought I would walk you through some of the decisions I made before I cast on and then update you on other choices as I progress.

The cardigan is Milkweed, designed by Carol Sunday of Sunday Knits. I loved its length, the dramatic “milkweed” cables, and its vintage look. Carol has designed many beautiful sweaters that are in my mental queue.

I didn’t have any yarn in my stash screaming to be used, so I bought the yarn from Sunday Knits as well. I chose her Angelic 5-ply, a nice blend of merino and angora in the colorway “Bone.” It’s a “natural” color, with the barest hint of a gray undertone. Lovely. It came beautifully wrapped in tissue with a lightweight tote. Even better!

Two decisions were made off the bat:

1. I decided to knit the body of the cardigan in one piece to the armhole. (The pattern has you knit the back and fronts separately, as many patterns do.) On one hand, I knew it would make the knitting feel “slow” even though it’s the same amount of knitting in the end. My reason for doing it this way was aesthetic: I don’t think that seams in seed stitch ever look perfect — at least mine don’t. Even though it’s a short little 2 inches of seed stitch at the bottom, I prefer the continuity all around the bottom.

2. As you can see in the picture of the cardigan itself, the bottom of each front piece is angled or slightly curved. I chose to square my fronts off. That meant I had to figure out ahead of time exactly how many front stitches I was supposed to end up with and where the cables were placed. Not hard, obviously, but just one more thing to do before casting on.

So, I was good to go, except I had to choose which cast on I wanted to use because they all look slightly different flowing into different stitches. I swatched a little bit, and then settled on a cable cast on, with the “wrong” side of the cable cast on being on the right side of my cardigan. Finally, I made one other small decision. It may not be evident in the cardigan photo above, but the small cables within the milkweed design alternate in how they cross. I kept that alternating, but started one of my front milkweed charts in a different place so that the cable crossings on each front mirror each other. (They both either twist away from the center or towards the center.)

Are you beginning to wonder whether I think too much? Here are a few progress photos. This is unblocked, raw knitting still scrunched on the needles, but I think it’s turning out. I can’t wait to get to the shawl collar!

The left front

The back

Finally, let me share a little touch of spring. We have a beautiful cherry tree in our front yard and when the petals fall the yard is carpeted in pink “bunny snow.” This year, Thor the Wonder Puppy (our aged but beloved golden retriever) was rolling in the grass when he was hit by a sudden petal blizzard. The result was an overload of cuteness.

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