Sunday, 29 January 2012

Weekend (sweater) Update

I have now knit through four balls of yarn on my sweater and I just joined the fifth.  This does not count the ball of yarn that I started using for one of the sleeves.  I just finished decreasing for the waist, and have to knit a few more rows straight before I start increasing again for the bust.  However my friend/knitting mentor Helen told me that I should only do half the amount of increases as it says because otherwise the bust of the sweater will be too big for me.  I think she was trying to tell me something.

Anyway this is what it looks like so far.

When I had about half that amount of the body (after the cable band) completed, I started working on a sleeve.  I realized that the moss stitch of the body would likely reach epic mind numbing proportions at a blistering rate, and also once I'm done the torso portion I can't progress any further until the sleeves are done.  Which means that I have to also do two looooooong tubes of moss stitch.  I don't relish the idea of having to do both of those in a row, so this is why I started the sleeve.  However, I hit a bit of a snag.  After knitting about four inches of sleeve I decided to compare it to the body of the sweater, and was startled to see that the gauge of the sleeve was noticeably tighter than that of the body.  I couldn't figure out why this was, as the needles were the same size (yes, I checked and double checked), and they are both bamboo.  Frustrated by this discovery I stopped knitting the sleeve and went back to the body, thinking that I would rip out the sleeve and start on larger needles later.  So I finished ball four and decided to compare it with the sleeve again and decide how much it actually bothered me, wanting to avoid frogging if possible.  I'm glad I didn't rip it out right away though, because somehow in between starting and finishing ball four the gauge now seems to be the same, or at least close enough that it really doesn't bother me anymore.

I know I wasn't looking at it wrong before, because I had independent confirmation of the difference in gauge from two other knitters and a non-knitter.  So what happened?  I have no idea but I don't care!

One technique that has been really useful so far with this sweater is wet-splicing.  It's a great way to join two balls of yarn without having to tie them together and then worry about weaving in the ends (however it only works with non-superwash wool).  I think I've previously discussed my dislike of weaving in ends.  I'm too much of a perfectionist to not do it, but I just don't enjoy the process.

Wet splicing is where you actually felt the two ends of the yarn together.  This is how I do it.

1. Find the end of the yarn in your new ball of yarn.  This often results in what we like to call "yarn barf".  It can be a time consuming and frustrating process, but is ultimately satisfying, not unlike popping a stubborn zit.

2. Pick apart about 1.5-2" of the ends of both the new ball and the yarn attached to your project

3. Overlap the ends, intertwine them a bit if you wish.  If you're really intense, try weaving them together.  I don't do this, but don't let me stop you.

 4. Run some hot water over the overlapped section of yarn, and rub vigorously between your palms until it starts to felt together.  Keep rubbing until both the ends have disappeared into the strand, adding more water if necessary.

It probably won't be completely invisible, but once it's knit up you won't even notice it's there.  Let it dry (or don't, I'm usually too impatient to wait the 5 minutes for it to dry), and knit on!

That's all the knitting talk for today, but I have a treat for you because you're such good blog readers!

...A picture of my cats doing their best impression of this.

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