Monday, March 12, 2007

Sweater Design for the Lazy

There are a lot of good guides to designing sweaters out there. Books, blogs, websites, etc. Most of them say something similar: Knit a swatch, using gauge determine how many stitches to cast on. Design entire pattern out before knitting anything.

That's too much like work. I'm not saying that you shouldn't design a sweater that way; you probably should. It's just that I don't want to design a sweater that way. So without further ado, I give you

Sweater Design for the Lazy

1. Decide what weight yarn you want to use. I chose DK weight, Merino Style from Knitpicks.

2. Find other sweater patterns that use yarn of that weight. Sesame from MagKnits.

3. Using the already-established patterns, get a rough idea of how many stitches to cast on.

4. Decide that knitting the sweater in pieces is unnecessary, and wouldn't it be cool if there was no finishing to be done afterwards? Ignore the voice in your head that says set-in sleeves can't really be done without seams.

5. Fiddle with the number of stitches to accommodate your pattern, shaping, etc. Make sure to always go up in the number of stitches, so you can be sure it fits.

6. Discover that the size 6 needles you had intended to knit the sweater on actually measure (according to your needle gauge) as a size seven. Decide that you'd rather knit it on size 5 anyway.

7. Despite going down a needle size, make no adjustment to the cast on number. Justify this with such statements as, "I want it to be snug anyway." or "I'm using more stitches than the original pattern, it'll fit."

8. Cast on your stitches. 182.

9. Knit for about twenty rows before trying the sweater on (as much as you can). Decide it doesn't really fit. Rip it all out.
10. Knitting it in pieces does kind of make sense. Add more stitches to your ultimate stitch count and start again, on the front.

11. Knit, past the bottom ribbing and begin the pattern.

12. Decide that the original pattern doesn't work. You like the idea, but it needs some tweaking.

13. Rip back down to the ribbing.

14. Spend a couple of hours on Paint, redesigning your pattern.

15. Start knitting again, this time really liking your design.

16. Ignore the little voice in your head that informs you that you still don't know how to do the sleeve shaping or the neckline.
When all sixteen steps are completed, you should have something that looks like this:

One sweater front, just about ready to start armseye.

Of course, most of the above mentioned steps could be skipped if you just knit a damn gauge swatch in the first place.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Makin' my Megan a hat...

The title is supposed to be sung. The complete song (also useful for my boyfriend, or any person with a two-syllable name) is:
Makin' my Megan a hat.
Makin' my Megan a hat.
Gonna be nice when it's all done,
'Cause I'm makin' my Megan a hat.
Then I usually scat for a bit and start over.

A friend just went through some surgery. Mind you, this is after dealing with cancer last year, and now surgery for something completely unrelated. It's been a rough time for her. Anyway, shortly after the surgery, when she was completely doped up on painkillers, she commented, "Oh, I want a beanie."

If my friend wants a beanie, she's gonna get a beanie. She wanted it in blue, but she doesn't wear wool (it lies very heavy on her, so she can only wear it when it's freezing cold outside.) Luckily, I have some blue acrylic in my stash, in a DK weight.

I started out with Shedir, from the breast cancer issue of Knitty. I've made it before with no problems, but this time, all of the little cables drove me freaking crazy. It got ripped. I decided to knit Odessa, by Grumperina. The ribbing went fine, but the larger needles seemed too loose for the yarn. I tried to switch down to size 5, but I could only find three of them. So most of the hat was knit on three size 5's and two size 6's.

By the way, sorry about the bad picture. My boyfriend's at work, so I held the camera out at arm's length to get this. I'm usually much cuter, and the hat's not so pointy.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Bradly rather liked his hat. I giggled when he first put it on, and commented that he looked like one of the mushroom people from Super Mario Brothers. He apparently agrees, and now, he wants one in red, with white, so he can be a Koopa Trooper, and one in green. Which is good, because I'm not entirely happy with the fit of this one, so I should be able to perfect this pattern.

My knitting friend came over yesterday. I helped her get started on a hat, and our boyfriends killed Ewoks on Star Wars Battlefront. I had a good time, and we're talking about doing that again.

I'm right about at row fifty on the veil (Ingrid's Bridal Knot Shawl). I only work on it a little bit at night, so this will take me a while to complete. I just need it done by June, so I think I'll be all right. Plus, since I only want a half-circle, I'm about a fifth of the way done with the center portion.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

(with apologies to Raymond Carver)

Way back when, when I first started knitting, I went to a yarn store in Little Rock with my parents (my mom weaves, my sister crochets, and my dad enables). As with any store, I went for the clearance section. There, I found a few balls of a cream colored alpaca yarn. Being new and not knowing any better, I only grabbed one ball. And from that, I fell in love with alpaca.

That sad ball of yarn has sat in my stash for close to three years, waiting for a project worthy of it. A few attempts have been made, but always ripped out, the yarn returning to my stash, to be admired and petted.

Then, my boyfriend asked for a hat. With navy blue and white. The only white yarn I had in my stash, without plans, was the glorious alpaca.

This, my friends, is love. My beloved boyfriend has a hat made from my beloved alpaca. Although he has agreed that if he doesn't like the hat, I can reclaim my alpaca, to return to the stash bin of admiration.