Thursday, November 02, 2006

Much Knitting

Despite not having posted about it in a month, I have, in fact, been knitting. I mean really, when aren't I knitting? Unfortunately, lighting has not been conducive to great photography, so you will have to bear with me.
This is the second of the scarves I am making for the ALS/Sue Smith Euchre Tournament. This is random wool of the same variety as the other scarf. I had a really hard time picking a stitch pattern for this one. I had a few criteria: I didn't want the ultimate owner to have to block the scarf when it is washed; it had to be an easily memorized pattern (which pretty much limits it to or two rows for me) without being soul-suckingly boring; and I didn't want it to curl. While this pattern doesn't quite measure up, I like it enough to keep going. It curls and it is boring. The latter can't be helped, that is the nature of scarves, but I wish I had done something about the curling. Since I kind of suck, I can't remember which stitch dictionary this comes from, but it's a stockinette-based mesh; the yarn overs happen on the knit side, the decreases on the purl side. To prevent the curling, I could very easily have changed this to a garter stitch-based pattern without much trouble, but I had already ripped this yarn out many many times and I really didn't want to do it again. I've decided that it is a design feature. Moving on:
Swatches! Not just swatches, washed and dried swatches. I feel faint. I never do that, my usual swatching technique is to knit a few inches, decide it's right and rip it out and start the sweater. That just wasn't going to work this time.

The two swatches on the left are the blue tweedy Rowan yarn (Magpie!) from the other day. That yarn decided to be a sweater from a 2001(ish) Interweave Knits called Tuscan Hills:
Tuscan Hills
It's a simple, rolled edge pullover with the added fun of ridges: on the wrong side, you pick up stitches from several rows below and purl together with the next regular stitch (you do this at varying number of rows and it's supposed to resemble the "rolling hills of Tuscany". I've never been to Tuscany so I wouldn't know.) I was having trouble getting gauge and not really enjoying the yarn during the swatching process, when I remembered something from a discussion on the Aran Knitlist: wool can "bloom" and relax in unexpected ways. So I knitted a swatch on size 7 needles and one on size 8's. They were both stiff, curly and kind of unpleasant; once they were washed the fabric became soft and drapey, with the one done on size 7's being a little denser. I didn't get gauge with either needle (and really didn't want to go any smaller than 7), so I made some calculations and am knitting a size smaller than I would normally.

The swatch on the left is the yarn that Judy found for me. It thinks it would like to be this:
Modern Lace
I wasn't getting gauge with this either, but washing the swatch seems to shrink the yarn just enough. This seems to be the same basic pattern as my Waving Laces socks, which is good, because for some reason the chart for this one is giving me fits.

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