my inexperience is getting the better of me

Thursday, June 30, 2005
Debbie Bliss Cabled Jacket SleeveDebbie Bliss Cabled Jacket Sleeve
Debbie Bliss Cabled Jacket Sleeve

My inexperience is getting the better of me. This is my second sweater with sleeves, well there was a baby sweater but they really don’t have the same fit issues as sweaters for adult shaped bodies. To be honest the stitch pattern for Carla is so outrageously stretchy that it did not provide much experience in getting the right sleeve fit either. So this is where I am, knitting my first serious adult sweater, first cabled sweater, first time using such bulky yarn, first time using this particular yarn, first, first, first….

I blocked the sleeve (as in washed and laid flat to dry on a towel, there were no pins involved) and it fit better than it did prewash, the ribbing definitely does not need to be any bigger. I decided to keep knitting. I am now ready to start the raglan decreases and it still fits, sort of. I am not sure whether to finish the sleeve or rip back. I just don’t have the knitting experience to weigh up the issues and make the right guess. What are the issues?

1) This is a chunky sweater with a whole lot of design ease in the body - will the arms look strange if they are too close fitting?

2) This is a chunky sweater, and Jenna’s explanation of why heavier yarn requires more ease to get the same fit as a lighter yarn makes a lot of sense to me. I have other sleeves that fit like this one and I am perfectly happy with them, my feeling is that the fabric being so thick is what makes the fit of this sleeve seem not quite right to me.

3) I have no idea how much this sweater is going to stretch with wear, if it is only a tiny bit, well it probably won’t be enough, but anything from moderate to significant stretching will make it quite a nice fit.

4) I think I do want a bit more ease in the arm that I have at the moment (pre any stretching that might be provided by point 3) but I absolutely don’t want it over sized or puffy either.

Can I say again how much easier a decent photo of the design in the pattern book would have helped with both choosing and knitting this sweater?

I think the only solution here is going to be to finish this sleeve, seam it in and then depending on how it fits possibly knit the second sleeve differently and see how that fits before reknitting one of them to match the other. Post blocking I can see that I definitely don’t want to add 4 more stitches to the ribbing as I had previously thought. At the moment I am thinking that if I were to modify this sleeve I would be knitting the ribbing as per the pattern, knitting the increases much faster than the pattern suggests and then possibly adding one or two more increases a bit further up. The question is, how to then get rid of those extra stitches so that the raglans all match up correctly.

Updated to add: I wrote this before I took the photos. The sleeve was fitting better by the end of what seemed like an endless attempt to get a decent photo in poor light. So I am currently feeling like it is worth the effort to finish this sleeve and assemble one side of the sweater before making any rash decisions. At least it’s an easy one to seam….

first things first

Monday, June 27, 2005

Of course before I start anything else I actually need to finish the Debbie Bliss Cabled Jacket (well, before I start anything other than Isabelle’s travel blankie). So far the right front is the only piece I have knit just once. Clearly this sweater just wants to be knit twice, the first sleeve is ready to rip. It’s only half done and I haven’t blocked it, but I have seamed it and it is just way too tight. Turns out option B was probably the way to go….I will leave this one as is, block it too I guess, and knit the second one with the extra stitches before making any final decisions.

Knitting everything twice really is wearing thin.

what next?

Monday, June 27, 2005

Last night I updated my knitting/quilting queue. I want to make Isabelle’s velour cord blanket before our two week trip in early July. I plan to give it to her as a “travel blanket” in an attempt to dissuade her from trying to use it permanently on her bed. I may need to stop working on the Cable Jacket in order to get it done in time, which is a pain but I am hoping to at least finish the sleeves before pausing for a manic quilting session.

While I am away I plan to make a pink and orange Sophie bag for a family member and Shedir, also for a relative (though not the same one). Baby Felix is due soon after our return, but he may well arrive while I am away, which makes his baby blanket quite a priority too, but I can’t work on that until I return. There is a very good chance I will get both Sophie and Shedir done early in the trip (like in the 16 hour drive there perhaps) so my mind is wandering to the Apricot Jacket for the drive home.

I really want to knit this pattern but I am also really questioning the wisdom of it. I just don’t know how flattering all that waist ribbing will be. Is wearing a sweater that looks like it won’t do up over your tummy a good look on someone who is anything but rake thin? As it is I have found it somewhat difficult to remain unworried by the 4-5 kgs (9-11 lbs) I have gained over the last 18 months while trying to get pregnant. I worry this sweater will only emphasize my expanding waist and hips (it is particularly galling that they are expanding for the wrong reasons). I bought the yarn last year hoping I would be pregnant by the time it was done. I thought a pregnant belly poking out of it would be cute, little rolls of fat poking out will not be nearly so charming… The thing is I am not over weight, I am just heavier than the ideal weight I was a year ago, so my worry is about feeling fat more than being fat. It would suck to knit such a beautiful sweater and never wear it because it made me feel bad.

I have been pouring over all the apricot jackets I could find online. Every single one of these ladies looks great in their jacket. I think at least some of them are about my size (about half way between a US 8 and US 10). Trying to be rational I can see that this may well be just another one of those things I am getting all anxious about for no good reason (yes I do see there is a pattern here)….Oh and my other anxiety is to do with how well it will work with my SAHM uniform of jeans and tshirts (of varying seasonal weights and lengths).

Have you knit an Apricot Jacket? Are you around my size? Do you feel good in it? Do you wear it? Should I go for it or maybe get some contrast yarn and make a Ribby Cardi instead? Or if I can get more GGH Java in the same dye lot perhaps I could make a sweater more like this?

so now I really am confused

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The back of the Debbie Bliss Cabled Jacket. Again.

The back of my Debbie Bliss Cabled Jacket is done, for the second time. It is smaller, it matches the fronts, all appears to be well. So tell me this, if I used only about a yard less yarn when re-knitting the left front, why is it I used more than half a ball less yarn for the back? The back is exactly twice the size of the left front, so I was expecting, oh two yards leftover, maybe three. I was not expecting this:

half a ball of yarn, that's half a ball more than I expected.

Should I be worried or should I just accept this as one of the mysteries of the universe? Perhaps I should weigh the two fronts to see if they used a similar weight of yarn? Does it matter if one front is heavier if they both seem to be same size?

I cast on for the first sleeve last night. I have done the ribbing and a few repeats of the cable pattern. I pinned it together and tried it on. It does fit, but it is kind of snug. It is also going to come out too short unless I knit some extra rows at some point. I figure one can never have too many basically trivial things to worry about, I was not surprised when the sleeve was not straight forward. On the one hand I seem to have chunky upper arms compared to the rest of me, certainly I often have to go up a size in store bought sweaters to accommodate my arms. On the other hand gapey sleeves that drag in everything drive me nuts. I am trying to decide between two possible plans:

A) knit the sleeve exactly to pattern, with my shorter row gauge the increases will end lower down on the sleeve than intended and I will then have to knit more rows than expected to reach the requisite 18 inches of sleeve before the raglan shaping.

B) I could add 4 stitches to the ribbing, which would become 2 stitches of stocking stitch at either side of the sleeve and then do less increases more evenly spread across the length of the sleeve.

At the moment I am leaning towards option A. I suspect that the sleeve will become looser with blocking and even more so with wear and I don’t want it too loose…

it’s all good

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Isabelle appears to be lice free, at least for now that is. She thought packing her head in conditioner and wrapping it in glad wrap was fantastic.

Isabelle, all wrapped up

Isabelle, all wrapped upIsabelle, all wrapped up

It was just as well she enjoyed this part because the hour and half spent combing her hair was no party. Though David Attenborough made it bearable, and for that we thank him. Isabelle thanked us for the marshmallows we gave her afterwards.

The Cabled Jacket is also going well (for now? at last?). The blocking resulted in two well matched fronts and there was no great effort involved in the matching. If it had been hard work getting them to match I would have been worried, but for once something went well. Actually two things went well, because the button shopping was also just fine and a day later I still like the buttons I chose.

Buttons for the Debbie Bliss Cabled Jacket

I was actually really lucky. I was the only one in the shop, their toy box was engrossing and the guy on the desk actively wanted to help me. At first I was a bit put off by his determination to find me buttons but he was the one that got it right in the end. These buttons are made from mussel shell and they are double sided. The side I didn’t like was the side on display so I would NEVER have found them without his help and they are exactly the sort of thing I was after. The ones I found on my own were the same size and also shell but they were much paler and thinner. I think the weight of these is better suited to the sweater and I like that their colours are more varied than the ones I found myself, so yay for helpful sales people!

Time to knit up the back. Again.

of hair lice and hand knit poncho hoods….

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

We have a problem, really we do. All I have to say at this point is - UGH! I think I have her head under contorl but I need oncho cleansing advice? Anyone? Please help.

riddle me this

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

How is it that this one giant ball of recycled Debbie Bliss Cabled Jacket left front yarn (Isabelle did some mighty fine winding here if I do say so myself):

One great big ball of yarn

When knit up on needles 2 sizes smaller ended up with only this much yarn left over:

Not much left over

I don’t know how much less yarn I thought would be required for knitting this up with the smaller needles, but it was definitely more than a meter. The weird thing is that I actually felt like my gauge was tighter re-knitting the the left front that it was knitting the right front, and yet it has come out slightly bigger. Well at least I think it has. The right front has been blocked, but only up to the start of the raglan decreases. The left front has been knit, blocked, ripped, the recycled yarn washed, balled and reknit, I am hoping this has had some impact on how it knit up the second time. I guess I won’t really know until they have both been blocked again whether they match or not. I will be beyond pissed if I have to knit one of them again.

But before blocking (which may take days of drying time given our weather at the moment) they are coming with Isabelle and I for a little outing - to the button store. For now this is what they look like and it has me worried, almost as worried as I am about the buttons….

A pair of fronts

Wish me luck, on both fronts, buttons and blocking.

unfair trade

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I received two parcels last week from people I had made trades with for my stitch markers. Both of them sent back way more than we had agreed on, or than I could possibly have imagined. They also did a far nicer job of the packaging. When I post my knitted gifts I always take great care with the packaging. In fact the wrapping, card, packaging and post for the green scarf I sent my mother this month cost more than the yarn and beads. And yet for some reason I just haven’t been as engrossed in the process of presenting my stitch markers nicely to the people I post them too. Perhaps it is because they are so tiny that they need to go into a zip look bag for fear of one of them disappearing. If you have received a set of markers from me in nothing more glamorous than a zip lock bag and a padded envelope please accept my apologies. Trading with these lovely ladies has pointed out the error of my ways.

Froggy agreed to send me a skein of Lambs Pride Worsted in Orange You Glad. This is what I found when I opened the parcel.

Yarn and knitting cards from Froggy

The Orange Lambs Pride is to go with some hot pink Cascade 220 that Cara sent me for some stitch markers months ago (Cara also sent twice as much yarn as she was supposed to btw). I am going to make a bag, or two. The rest is well, wow, I have no idea. I was thinking of using this gorgeous Rowan Big Wool to make Isabelle a hat.

Rowan Big Wool

But given Isabelle’s general reluctance to wear warm clothing I am swaying towards making a lovely scarf like Steph’s for myself.

The second parcel came from Nikki, and I have to say receiving such beautiful markers made by someone else is just so much fun. It makes me even more excited about joining up for Anita’s stitch marker swap. Nik sent twice the number of markers we discussed, packaged in this beautiful bag. I can’t wait to start knitting on a needle smaller than the broomsticks required for the Debbie Bliss Cabled Jacket so that I can use them!

Stitch markers with bag and knitting cards from Nik

The knitting cards that both Nik, and Froggy sent are just too cute, I have never seen anything like them here in Australia and I have already sent one them off to another knitter. Thank you both for trading with me, your kindness really made my week.

And finally one more item to tie in with the stitch markers theme. I am a huge fan of using a row counter but I always knit on circulars and I just don’t remember to turn the numbers unless it is actually attached to my knitting. Up until last week my inelegant solution to this problem was to hang the counter from a loop of string. I can’t tell you how annoying this solution was, almost annoying enough to forgo the use of the row counter. I cut off that string and made this the very first chance I had after seeing Anita’s very clever solution to this problem.

Row counter on a ring

This, is much better. So thank you too Anita!

bath time

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Debbie Bliss Cabled Jacket - back and left front in the frog pond

I hope it was the right decision not to reknit the ribbing, it was done on the same needles for all three pieces so I am hoping that when I re-block them all they will all come out the same.

an unexpected victory

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Progress on the right front for the Debbie Bliss Cabled Jacket has been slower than I had hoped. This was partly due to rude interruptions from the rest of my life and partly due to gauge anxiety.

Just before bed last night I finally reached the raglan decreases and it seemed like a good time to see how different it was from the left front. I was too disgusted to take a photo and I went to bed believing that I would now be ripping more than half a sweater today. I knew I had to block it before giving up but I wasn’t hopeful.

Debbie Bliss Cabled Jacket - the right front is the right size!

How wrong I was. Turns out the 6.5mm needles were just about perfect. This piece was far easier to handle wet than the two pieces knit on larger needles. Gently laid out on a towel, with neither any stretching nor smooshing back into shape, it is exactly the size I was hoping for. Yay! Time for a little ripping (of the back and left front).

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