Thursday, September 29, 2011

Viking Hood

See, I don't blog and you miss out on all kinds of good things.

One of these days I'm going to snap, write a bunch of blog posts, and back-date them. You'll never know what hit you.

Anyway, while I was ignoring you I knit this adorable hood!

I will be all set for the cold weather when it arrives. I will laugh at the wind!

You'll remember that back in June mom and I went to the Knitting Along the Viking Trail Exhibit when it was it was in Philadelphia.

I then went on a quest to acquire all three of Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Knits books, as well as The Small Thing Matter book, as those were the ones represented in the display.

One of my favorite items was the Skjalf Hood from The Second Viking Knits collection. The picture in the book doesn't do it much justice since it's focused on the sweater, and frankly my picture doesn't either, but trust me it's uber-cute in person.

I was dithering over what yarn to use to make it when a skein of Juniper Moon Farm Chadwick came into my possession. Actually, several skeins did. But it was the Clear Skies (#8) that caught my attention and made me think of the hood.

It was blue. The hood in the book was blue. It was a logical connection. (As an aside, the color #1-Indian Paintbrush is such an awesome shade of red that it fills my heart with greed and makes me want to do bad things to acquire more, but it didn't seem right for the hood.)

The main concern was that Chadwick is 202 yards, which is a little less than the 218 yards technically called for in the pattern. I was taking my life into my own hands and running the risk of running short of yarn.

My plan had been to finish the ribbing around the face in a different color, if need be, and maybe throw a few rows onto the neck ribbing to make it look coordinated. Happily that was not necessary and I think I know why.

Change it? Me?

Skjalf short rowsAs you would expect, I ended up making some modifications as I worked along.

First, I worked the neck ribbing for 3" not the recommended 4". I think I felt the 3" was long enough, but that might have been an early move to conserve yarn.

Then as I was working the main body of the hood I reached the recommended length on row 10 of the second pattern repeat, not row 16.

Fortunately,  or unfortunately, I was in the more or less plain spot between knots. I read the pattern and took a hard look at the cable chart and realized that I wasn't going to reach the knot again in the allotted space. Or if I did it would only be the first few rows.

After considering my options I skipped ahead to row 23 in the cable chart, which is where the knot starts again, and followed the pattern from there.

It's kind of easy to tell what I did since the ribbing connecting the first half knot to the full knot in the middle is considerably longer than the ribbing leading to the knot at the top of the head. By the time I got to that point I wasn't in the mood to rip back and try to balance it.

You, however, can perhaps plan ahead.

Of course, since I sort of shortened the hood, I guess, I ended up picking up fewer stitches around the face opening. But that's a minor change compared to moving the knots around!

Short Row This
The only other tricky part was the short row shaping for the crown of the hood.

Boy howdy, I don't know if the pattern is just vague or I'm dense, but it took me at least three tries to get it right.

Well, the first time it turned out that I'd worked too many decreases at the center back and didn't even have the correct number of stitches to short row. Also, the book doesn't say to wrap and turn, so I didn't and it just looked horrible. That got ripped back.

Then I tried to short stitches at both the center back and the front opening. That was just weird looking and obviously wrong, so that got ripped back.

Then, since I didn't understand what the pattern wanted I thought I'd just do it like a sock heel just over the stockinette stitches at the back. That pooched out unattractively, was obviously wrong, and got ripped back.

Then I went and read the section about short rows in Rhigetti's "Knitting In Plain English" and something finally clicked.

With the correct number of stitches, I worked to the center stitch, wrapped and turned, worked back across to the beginning of the row. And that's how it went. I only shorted on the stockinette stitch portion at the back of the hood, as directed, and worked the rest of the stitches in pattern. Once the stockinette section was eaten up, I worked back across the row, picking up the wraps, and worked out across the second half in pattern.

The process was repeated for the left side of the hood, only I had to work the short rows on the wrong side of the work. It is possible that the left side of the hood has one more row than the right side, but I was too happy to have it done to try to sort out a way to avoid that.

I did, as you might imagine, briefly consider trying to Kitchener the top shut, but in the end I just did a three needle bind of as prescribed in the pattern.

I am very pleased with it and am fighting a burning desire to make another one. In a different color. With a different cable.

But there are so many other projects to knit, I think one Viking Hood is enough for now.

It does, however, fill me with a desire to toss all my other WIPs and skip ahead to the yarn and hood pattern I bought back in June.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fully Cooperative

I am pleased to announce the Uncooperative Green Striped Schleppy Sweater is done!

Aside from weaving in ends, that is. Despite having knit in many ends as I went.

It always comes down to weaving in ends.

I used a sewn bind off on the collar. Of course as soon as that was done I had to try it on to ensure it fits.

Wouldn't that have sucked to to all that work and have it not fit?

I guess that is the benefit of a custom pattern, even if it was originally written for entirely different yarn.

Speaking of that, the sleeves are just a wee bit short in the cuff. I mean, a little, bitty, wee bit short that you'd probably never notice if you weren't wearing it.

Which you won't be, since it is mine.

I know just how that happened.

After I washed the original Schleppy Sweater for the first time it grew at least an inch longer. The second Schleppy Sweater I intended to make was also going to be out of Zara yarn, so I revised the pattern to account for the growth. Then I used that revised pattern for the Uncooperative sweater.

I can only hope that one of the yarns involved in this new sweater also decided to grow just a wee bit and then my problem will be solved.

Pattern Stats
Pattern: Schleppy Sweater by Traveling Ann Designs, i.e, my own personal pattern.
Needles: US 7
Yarn: from across a spectrum of companies. I'd have to check my Ravelry project page for the list. I can tell you I used almost all of each ball with little to no leftovers from each. Good thing I'm petite!

What I learned?

Um, stripes look nice, but I don't like working them. I'd rather have someone else figure out the color sequence and repeats and I don't like weaving in all the ends. Probably won't stop me from making more striped sweaters in the future.

Creating a sweater from single balls of yarn with no access to additional balls is just crazy and adds a new level of stress as you worry about running out. Much safer to ensure you have way more yardage than you'll need before casting on.

Also, make the stripes narrower so the various yarns spread further. Although I think the yoke ended up quite nice and is kind of attractive with the repetition of just the three yarns in contrast to the body.

Ok, I have to go weave in ends now. sigh.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

99% Cooperating

Are you seeing this?!

Ok, it's a bad picture, so probably not.

I'm on the neck ribbing!

15 rows of neck ribbing and the Uncooperative sweater is done! (again. Well, aside from weaving in the ends.)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Neck shaping in the Uncooperative Sweater!

After ripping back the lovely yarn that was the wrong shade of green I've been plucking away at reknitting the yoke using what remained of three of the original yarns.

I decided to cut the dark green Snuggly in between the two Crofters so there would be some separation since they are so similar. Six rows of the dark green alternated with 10 rows each of the other two.

I'm very excited that I've made it to the neck shaping.

It looks like I won't run out of yarn and won't have to add any random yarns after all!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Socks, word.

I went to check the mail today and found a package from SoHo Publishing waiting for me.

"Hmm," I thought. "I haven't ordered anything from Vogue Knitting."

I wracked my brain on the way home trying to figure out what it could be, personal, business, a present.

Turns out it most closely fits in the "present" catagorey.

I follow Vogue Knitting on Facebook. What, don't we all?

A few months ago they put a call out on their wall for people to submit sock knitting tips for a special section they were working on for an upcoming issue. If your tip was selected you'd receive a copy of their book "Knitopedia: The Ultimate A to Z for Knitters."

Well, how cool was that?

Since I knit socks all the time, and have had my Rainbow Swirl and my Eyelet & Feather patterns published, I felt qualified to weight in.

I won't tell you what my tip was (that would be stealing the magazine's thunder), but I will give you a hint about the topic.

The tips are in a special advertising section that starts on page 59. I have the last word, which amuses me greatly.

Even more amusing, the tip right above mine is from someone I know!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go flip through my new book.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Uncooperative Sweater

Sweater test Why are you resisting my efforts to knit you?

The sooner I finish knitting you the sooner I get to wear you. And isn't getting worn the ultimate goal of any sweater?

First you wanted this entrelac top. We all know how well that was working out.

Despite everybody else loving it, when I returned to you after a little break all I could see were the holes. Lots of holes. And the next tier I started pooched out funny.

I finally followed my gut and ripped that all out. At the same time I was still worried about running out of yarn. Fortunately a new batch of sample yarn arrived from KFI and I was able to dig through for potential greens and blues to round you out.
Green striped bad
I settled on this delicious Ella Rae Lace Merino Worsted. It was so soft and lovely to knit with. It has a whopping 230 yards giving me confidence I would be able to finish the yoke without an issue.

We had a wonderful week together. I knit you happily, even ignoring when I skipped a raglan decrease and had to make it up on the next row.

We were making progress. You were going to be finished in time for the cool weather.

And all that time I turned a blind eye to the fact that the new green yarn wasn't the right shade of green. It's was too bright, we both knew it, and yet you lulled me into acceptance with your promises that since it was the yoke it would look ok.
That since it was variegated people wouldn't notice.

I knit all the way to the neck shaping, believing your lies, and that had to face the truth.

It looked terrible.

Hubby, who I can always trust to be honest and have my best interests at heart, said it was a lovely sweater except the top didn't match. Even the ladies at the Library Knitting group had to take a polite breath, then admit that it didn't look good.

Out it came.

Green Striped subsI had selected other options from the new yarn and left them laid out on the sweater for a while on the porch so I could get natural light and debate about them.

In the end I decided to try to see you through with what remains of the three yarns left from your original yarns. I'm going to keep the light blue Willow Tweed on hand just in case I need it to finish the collar.

And I have a feeling that might be the case. Maybe I should start mixing it in on the yoke so it won't look out of place.

But know this, uncooperative sweater, I will have my way in the end. Eventually you will be cast off and worn!