Sunday, February 22, 2009

(Almost) False Start

red harf swatches I finally cast on for the real Heart Harf.
This is the red Invernal yarn from Aslan Trend that I showed you a few weeks ago. There was some confusion about the color of the harf—the orange and yellow one was just a test run to see how the pattern would look and edgings and stuff. This red one is the real deal.
Of course, as soon as I started I was reminded of the importance of swatching with the yarn and needles you intend to use for the project.
However, this yarn is rather soft and fluffy and I don't think it would have survived the trauma of being worked, torn out, and reworked. I was actually seeing signs of distress from messing with the cast on edge. You can't see it in the photo, but the angora fuzz is quite pronounced where I was messing around. (The yarn is 50% angora!)

Big or Little
I was working with a US7 needle, which is what I used for the test model out of Cascade 220, and the fabric seemed a little floppy. I pulled out a US6, cast on enough stitches to work the cable panel, some ribbing, and one cable edge, and worked a few rows.
The US6 version is at the top in the photo, which you might have guessed because it is so much smaller.
At first I kind of liked the US6 version better. The fabric was denser and more similar to the fabric of the test model, but it also wasn't as soft as the US7 version. But it was late at night and I couldn't deal with the situation, so I went to bed.
Today I worked both pieces through row 16 of the cable panel, so they would be even.
I've decide to stick with the US7 version. The US6 version is denser and almost looks like a different color. I think if I was making a sweater out of this yarn I'd go with the smaller needle.
But the US7 seems to have more drape and the fabric is more soft and snuggly, which I think will be important for something wrapped around my head and neck.
Although the cables might pop a wee bit more with the smaller needle, I don't think I really loose much going up a size. Besides, the version on the larger needle seems to have a little more spread, which is a good thing since I don't want the scarf portion to be too narrow.

Getting Provisional
harf hiccupThere was also some confusion about the construction of the harf. Remember, "harf" stand for hat + scarf, which is my adorable name for it instead of "hooded scarf." So, yes, there will be long scarf tails coming down. I didn't work the scarf portion on the test model as it would have taken too much time. The hood portion is the bit that needed testing/designing, so I cut right to the chase on the test model.
At the same time, while the hood portion is the important bit, I want the scarf portions to be the same length.
I bought three skeins of this yarn, which wiped out the supply at the store, so I have to get it right the first time or I'll be scrambling to find more yarn.
Because of this, I decided to start "in media res" with a provisional cast on, work the hood bit from both sides to the middle, which I'll graft shut, then pick up the cast on edges and work the two scarf tails down simultaneously.
In this manner I'm hoping to ensure the hood is made, have the scarf end up even, and use up every scrap of yarn.

Being Too Clever, Again?
samson snuffel(remember, you can click on small pictures to go to a bigger version on flickr.)
Of course, as we all know, when you change knitting direction, such as with the other end of a provisional cast on, you sort of loose a stitch.
I was concerned this would be obvious and I'd be forced to start in a traditional manner. But, as you can see in the second picture, I don't think the change in direction is terribly obvious. I even put in arrows to try to help you see it.
Is this a case where no one should be that close to my knitting to tell? Not quite, since I'll be entering it in the contest, they might examine it closely and notice.
Samson claimingOn the other hand, funky construction shouldn't effect my chances too much. I looked at the entry form again. They want the finished object, not the pattern. The winning items will be photographed, replicated, and the copy will be auctioned off to benefit charity. So my funky construction won't matter until their knitter needs to make one. (see me being positive?)

More Technical Stuff
Baru yawning(Baru says HI!)
In case you're wondering, I used Judy's Magic Cast On rather than a crochet chain...for no reason I can articulate. Didn't want to fuss with the chain I guess.
Because of the ribbing and reverse stockinette stitch, I had to go through and reverse a number of stitches to get the pattern correct. IE, they were all presenting as, uh, purls and I had to drop them and pick them back up as knits.
Pulled it off rather successfully, if I do say so myself.
In the picture with the arrows, I have actually worked, uh, three rows going down, just to see how it would look and make sure it works. I think it looks good. I'm also rather pleased with myself for managing to get the cables going down to cross correctly. Hopefully I'll remember what I did when it comes time to work it for real.

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