Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Judgement Calls

I spent this weekend completely irresponsibly. I got a lot of knitting done, but I didn't photograph any of it. I thought about putting off this post until I took some pictures but...well. We all know how well that's worked out in the past.

Friday was pretty much a bust. I don't know if it was something I ate or what, but I felt awful all night on Friday. I really didn't get much sleep. So, I slept in on Saturday and spent the rest of the day on the couch - mostly knitting.

I have kind of abandonned my attempt to finish the featherweight cardigan and the Veronique cardigan. Not totally, but after being as frustrated as I was the last time I looked at them, I decided that they should not hold me back from casting on new sweater. So, I have begun the Simone sweater. I've finished the entire cowl and I'm currently increasing for the sleeves.

The beginning of this pattern presented me with a dilemma. The guage instructions were for a stockinette swatch on size 7 needles. As my faithful readers will recall, I got guage with size 9 needles, 2 needle sizes and 1mm bigger than the recommended size.

The instructions for the cowl were to start out on no. 10 needles. Now, it seemed logical to me that I should go two needle sizes up for this. The only problem is, the jump from 10 to 11 is not 1mm, it's 1.5 mm. An 11 is a full 1 mm bigger than a 10.5, despite the fact that every other needle size up until that point represents a .5 mm increase. I don't understand this. Anyway, it left me with a dilemma. The cowl was supposed to start on size 10, decrease to size 9, decrease again to size 8, and then decrease one last time to size 7 just before you begin the body.

I therefore had a decision to make, as to whether I would start with the 11 (too big) or the size 10.5 (too small). I chose to go with the 10.5. However, this left me with a problem, because I would go down as the instructions indicated from 10.5 to 10 to 9 to 8. But I didn't get guage with the 8, I got guage with the 9, so I need to end up with the 9.

I settled this by skipping one of the needle jumps. In the original pattern, you're only using the size 8 needles for three rows before you switch to the 7. So I just stopped decreasing the needle size when I got to the nine. If those three rows screw my guage so bad that my sweater doesn't fit...then I was doomed from the start.

Measurements on the cowl actually look pretty good; they don't exactly match the schematic but it's close. And, I figure there is at least a little wiggle room on the cowl, because it's the same size for all sizes of the sweater. Since there are at least three sizes larger than the size I'm knitting, and the cowl has to fit all three of those sizes, I'm thinking that I'm probably okay even if I'm a half-inch or an inch off (I think it's a half-inch, but I'm acknowledging possible optimism in my attempts to measure).

I was rather amused, because as I was knitting on this, my beloved SO was playing a video game on the couch next to me. Every time he looked over he would express surprise over how much bigger my project had gotten since the last time he looked. I had to laugh, because this is totally a function of guage. I rarely knit with anything heavier than fingering weight, or so it seems, and so this worsted-weight sweater appeared to be going at lightening speed.

I also worked on on my Phoenix Rising shawl, and here's where I'm really sorry I don't have a picture, because my love for this project cannot be described in words. The colorway I'm using is absolutely PERFECT for this shawl. It's very busy, but it truly does look like something going up in flames. The lace pattern is simple enough that the busyness doesn't really detract from it, and because of the way it slants back and forth, it truly looks like tongues of flame. The beads in the center pattern are somewhat obscured by the color changes, but they glint just like little sparks going up the center of a campfire, and the dimond pattern gives the impression of that swirling motion perfectly. LOVE. IT. It appeals to my artistic little soul.

I finished the 3 repeats out of 5 of the main chart. When I have multiple repeats to do for something, I always like to get past the halfway mark as fast as possible, becuase it's easier to maintain motivation when you're on the downhill slide. The flow of the pattern is actually pretty intuitive, so it's (fairly) easy to catch myself when I make a mistake.

We're going to the beach this weekend and we have a 10 hour (!!!) drive ahead of us. I will probably be required to drive for some portion of this trip, but I expect to have at least five hours of good knitting time there and back, plus whatever time I have at the beach. Normally I would not take a beaded project as car knitting, but because the amount of beading in this project is really quite small, I might take the chance. At the least, I will probably take it and some backup knitting in case I find it doesn't work out.

I'm also thinking it's time to get some socks going. I kind of gave up socks for the summer. I think this was mostly because I was knitting charity washcloths for a summer project, and washcloth knitting took the place of most of my sock knitting. I also haven't been carrying my knitting around as much since I switched out of my Jordana Paige bags and into my smaller summer purse. I'm not sure what else to take. It's not really cold enough to make carting a sweater around desirable. I'll have to put some thought into this. I don't want to go on vacation and run out of knitting!!! Especially not before the car ride back...no one wants that.

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