Saturday, May 25, 2013

Finish Weekends!

I have been so busy with knitting for our monthly craft shows, gifts for other people or special orders and then a few MUST HAVE NOW items for me (currently a new bath mat and a cotton/linen top that I want to wear on my trip 4th of July weekend) that I have a ton of UFO's sitting around not being knit.  In the past, I've tried dedicating an hour or two on fridays to working on projects and I keep a pair of deep stash socks in my desk drawer to work on at lunch but the weather's been so nice lately that I've been walking at lunch instead of knitting most days and my fridays have been so busy that I haven't had time to do much knitting.  So last weekend I tried something different.  I carried a project around with me all weekend and knit whenever I could; in the car or when I had a free moment.  I didn't get a ton of knitting done, but here are the results:

I'm knitting the Onion Market Wrist Warmers.  I think the pattern is cute and will go well with my Cloudy Day Beret and Cladonia Shawlette that are made out of the same Mad Tosh Merino Light in Silver Fox that I overdyed more silvery (I'm starting to wonder if I bought magical yarn that never gets used up.) I decided I wanted to make them more like fingerless mitts and add a purled thumb gusset and I tried adding a bit of ribbing at the cuff.  I didn't like how the ribbing looked and the purled thumb gusset bugged me so I ripped it out and started over.  This time I left out the ribbing and I'm going to do another thumb gusst, but in st st instead and I'll increase every 4th row instead of every 3rd.  This is how much I had when I started:

And at the end so the weekend, this is what I had gotten done:

Not a TON, but I got through a full pattern repeat at least.  I put that aside for now because I won't be needing those for several months.  Instead, I want to focus this weekend on the socks that I keep wishing were done because I want to be wearing them!  I'm knitting Concentric in a 716Knit self-striping colourway called "Sire Whipped".  Jenna, the creator of 716Knit, is a local dyer and knitterly friend who makes awesome yarns in super bright colours.  And all her yarn names are hilarious quotes from Buffy.  What's not to love??  This is one of those projects where the yarn and pattern are working perfectly together and I WANT to be knitting them, but I put them aside to knit socks for my sister and then got busy with other things.  :(

So here is where I am this morning:

I know it looks weird, but it fits perfectly!

I marked my spot so I can see my progress.  Wish me knitting luck!! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Long Tail vs. Knitted Cast On

I'm currently on the third sleeve of the cap sleeved t-shirt I'm knitting.  The third, of course, because I had to rip out the first one and reknit it.  Why? Because I realized after I finished it that I'd used a knitted cast on and since there's no ribbing at the beginning (it starts with 2 purl rows before going into stockinette), it had zero give.  It would be tight around my bicep and probably cut into my arm if I dared to move my arm at all (You know, because of my huge muscles.  Yeah.)  Grr!  I broke the cardinal rule of casting on. Which is, of course, to match the cast on to the project!  I started the second one with long-tail and am reknitting the first one the same way.  These sleeves have give, the cast on edge doesn't draw in AND, I know I'll get even a bit more room once I block.  Just what I wanted!

So, a refresher for anyone out there who is wondering about different cast ons:  The knitted cast on is a great all purpose cast on.  You can use it for just about anything.  BUT, if you want your cast on edge to be super stretchy, like for the edge of a hat or sock cuffs or, in my case, a ribless sleeve edge, you want to go with something more like the long tail

Now, there are tons more cast ons out there, and everyone has their favourite, but the key thing to remember is to take a moment to consider which one is best for your project. Pattern writers rarely recommend a cast on. They leave it up to you to figure out which one to use. And, trust me on this, there is nothing more frustrating than to get to the end of your project and realize it is all wrong because of how you started! was a fantastic resource for me in my earlier years of knitting, and I still go there first when I have a knitting related problem.  She has a long list of cast ons, descriptions of them and videos teaching you how to do them.  AND she records all her techniques in continental AND English.  (If only she also did them in mirror!) It's just one in a huge array of websites offering knitting help (you know, apart from Ravelry, which is the be all, end all of everything knitting), so if you have questions about cast ons, want to try a new one just for kicks or want to make sure you're picking the right one for your next project, I encourage you to do a bit or research.  Learn from my mistake!

May all your cast ons be the right ones,