Nancy from Functional Art WA dropped off a few totes on Thursday night. Each includes a photo of the original suit jacket or military clothing it is made from, and the stitchery is high caliber. In addition to the three pictured here, there is also a messenger-style bag.
A skill that I have developed over time is the ability to fix problems in my knitting that happened…oh, let’s just say awhile ago. Even if you’ve been knitting for awhile, even if you knit A LOT, there are going to be times when you should have gone to bed half an hour ago, or when you need to pick up and put down your work one too many times, when you think you know what the pattern says and just knit merrily along, or when you just plain misinterpret the directions. Or the pattern is wrong.
Sometimes, there’s nothing for it but to rip it out (or, as I am currently doing with three looooong rounds of Lucca, tink it, stitch by stitch). (The unrecoverable error there was that I forgot that I was to shift the beginning of round marker by a stitch, and my failure to do so meant that subsequent rows of the lace pattern would be misaligned. I had put in a life line, but not recently enough.)
But other times, a rescue mission is entirely possible. You may have to approach it with the mindset that it may still require ripping in the end. But if the fix is successful, you stand to save a significant amount of time compared to starting again.
When I made Drumlin, the cardigan I contributed to the CustomFit trunk show. I experienced a comedy of errors.
No? Well, it’s only because the fix went well.
Here’s what happened. I’d knit all five pieces of the sweater–two fronts, the back, and two sleeves. On to seaming! I started by matching the shoulders. Piece of cake. Then I set in the shoulders. More time consuming, but since CustomFit patterns are derived from your actual measurements and knitted gauge, the sleeve caps will fit into the armsyces smoothly, with only a little patience required. I moved on to sewing the side seams when the project came to a screeching halt. I’d knit a different number of rows of ribbing on the cardigan fronts than I did for the back. The fronts were the same, but they were both wrong, and didn’t match the back. Total number of rows was correct; I’d just started knitting in stockinette when I should have continued ribbing.
As the pieces were knit from the hem up, there was really only one viable option for correcting the problem. I needed to snip a stich in each front, remove the relevant number of rows of stockinette, reknit those rows in ribbing, and then graft the new edge back to the main part of the piece. Annoying, but I had all of the necessary skills–the ability to count and identify the correct rows, to create the correct fabric by reknitting, and to kitchener it all back together.
If knitting the wrong number of rows of ribbing was critical error #1, critical error #2 was beginning the repair after 10 pm. Critical error #3 was doing it on my lap, instead of spread out on a flat work space.
And critical error #4 was snipping a stitch in the SLEEVE, and executing the ENTIRE repair operation on a piece of the sweater that didn’t require it.
At that point, I may or may not have said a bad word or two, but I at least had the good sense to step away from the knitting, and go to bed. There was no possibility that I was going to improve the situation at 11:30 pm.
When I returned to the project (at a work table, in the light of day), I calmly reversed the procedure on the sleeve, and then repeated it on both fronts. The sweater pockets sit just above the area where this took place, but even before they were added, the fix was invisible, save for a couple of extra ends.
None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t learned to look at a piece of knitting and translate what I see into distinct rows of distinct stitches. Learning how to look at a piece of fabric and see (or sometimes, feel) what is “off” is the first step into figuring out how to fix it.
The Uh-Oh! Class offered Saturday June 11th is all about understanding what “normal” stitches look like, and what it looks like when you’ve dropped a stitch, or split one, or accidentally added one. It’s about developing the habit of looking at your work frequently, so you can find mistakes easily, and soon after they happen, when they are easiest to repair. (Imagine if I’d realized my ribbing wasn’t deep enough right after I’d finished knitting it, rather than after I’d knit the entire rest of the front, AND another front, AND started putting the sweater together!) There are lots of ways we can prevent mistakes, and ways to recover from them when they occur, and we talk about those as well.
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Just finished adding photos to the class page to give you a better idea of the projects we’ll be focusing on.
Take a look here!
It’s unseasonably warm here in Ellensburg at the moment, which has led me to jump start my thinking about what we’re looking for in a summer sweater. Because it has to be pretty hot before sweaters cycle out of the wardrobe altogether. Mornings and evenings can be quite cool, and my standard summertime response when the cashier at the grocery store asks me if I found everything on my list is, “Yes, and I also froze to death.” So what makes a great summer sweater?
- It’s lightweight.
- The style is either pretty casual, or reflects a very simple elegance. (Sometimes both!)
- It’s made from mostly natural fibers–maybe plant-based, or finer-gauge wool.
- It’s easy to layer.
- The sleeve length runs from non-existent to three-quarter length.
One of my favorite summer items is the Mock Lace Up Tee from Hélène Rush. I used Knit One Crochet Too’s Batiste, which is a wool, silk, and linen blend. Pleasant to knit with, and the fabric has great drape, but holds its shape well. Hélène has designed a number of hand knit tees–take a look here.
Another more delicate, but versatile, sweater is Hitofude. The one I made is from a laceweight merino and silk blend, but knit to the gauge the pattern specifies for fingering weight yarn. (Because the stitch pattern is lacy, this results in a slightly lighter weight garment that is the same size.) The pattern is clearly written, and the design is pretty brilliant–it is knit continuously from start to finish. Yesterday, I was wearing a light long sleeved tee, and because the shop stays quite cool until late afternoon, I was chilly. Hitofude to the rescue–it was the perfect amount of additional warmth.
My first CustomFit sweater was also a summer sweater, a v-neck tee made from CoBaSi held double. I like to advocate for CoBaSi because it is one of those yarns that really has the potential to exceed your expectations. The fiber content–cotton, bamboo, silk, and elastic–is more than the sum of its parts. It gets breathability from the cotton and bamboo, drape from the bamboo and silk, and a nice bit of “boing” (that’s the technical term) from the elastic. I’m seriously considering a CustomFit Featherweight in CoBaSi (even knowing that the 1×1 ribbing might kill me).
Cinnie is another very wearable warm weather sweater. The pattern is written for any DK weight–mine is Plymouth Cleo mercerized cotton–and can be made full-length or cropped. The construction is unique, in that it builds outward, and then down, from a center back panel.
And Low Tide! I’m seriously considering making another adult size to update my shop sample, even though the more prudent thing to do with the class (meeting June 1, 8, & 15th) would be to knit one of the small sizes. This is a pattern that shows serviceable a light wool can be in warm weather. It’s breathable, handles moisture well, and makes a nicely flowing fabric.
In addition to the CoBaSi Featherweight, I’m contemplating a Mama Vertebrae in a basic, neutral, sport weight wool. Probably with elbow length sleeves, though, since it is knit top-down, I can make a final decision when the time comes.
I started a bundle of favorite Summer sweaters on Ravelry–check it out, and I will be adding to it as more catch my eye!
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It came a day early, and Hunter Hammersen sent more pieces than I was expecting! Here are just a couple of the items.
Two of the twenty (!) pieces, these socks are knit at typical sock gauge (8/8.5 stitches per inch), but use Malabrigo Arroyo, a sport weight. GENIUS. They are so squishy!