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Gnashing of teeth

You know the Scalloped Lace Toddler Cardigan? The one I ran out of yarn for and had to order more and waited and waited and waited for and finally received and bound off all of about 48 hours ago (pictures to follow)? That sweater??

Missing yarn, now found

Well. Look what I just found while digging around in my yarn stash? Yes. That would be the skein of yarn that I thought I had but then couldn’t find and thought I’d used up. But it was actually sitting there, plain as day, in a bag with another color that I ended up not using in the sweater.

Grrrrrrrr.

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In praise of i-cord

I’ve been told that the “I” in i-cord stands for “idiot,” which I find to be quite unfortunate, because it is one of my favorite knitting techniques. By itself, it makes lovely ties and is a fun way to finish off the top of a hat. Applied i-cord gives you even more options and is one of my favorite ways of finishing off a raw edge.

For the Scalloped Lace Toddler Cardigan, I decided to work the button bands with applied i-cord in a contrasting color. I picked up and knit on the right side with the purple yarn, purled back, and on the next row worked 3-stitch i-cord. When I came to a buttonhole, I worked the bottom half of the buttonhole like TECHknitter’s Tulips buttonhole, and for the top I simply worked three rounds of plain (unattached) i-cord. It worked like a charm.

I liked the way the contrasting trim looked so much, I decided to do the same thing around the neckline. Except that I didn’t want to work any extra rows. I picked up stitches around the cast-on edge of the neck with a sock-sized circular needle. I tried to work i-cord directly on those stitches, but the white yarn underneath showed through. I knew there had to be another trick, so I hunted around online (Thank you, Google!) and found this technique at The Purl Bee. Brilliant!

Scalloped Lace Toddler Cardigan, i-cord neck trim

I even figured out how to weave in the ends so that the I cord appears to travel seamlessly around the neckline. So all this time spent waiting for my yarn order so I can finish the sweater wasn’t totally wasted.

To keep myself from stalking the KnitPicks site to see if my order shipped, I’m working on weaving in the hundreds of ends. I think I’ve tackled about five hundred, with about three hundred left to go…

Ends, billions of ends, waiting to be woven in...

The next sweater I knit is going to be a solid color, with a yarn I can split-splice, so I only have two ends to weave in when I’m done!!

Knitting, thou art a cruel mistress

My husband and son went camping this weekend, so I figured my daughter and I would have a lazy, relaxing weekend (which implies that lots of knitting would happen while the munchkin was napping or after she went to bed for the night). But alas, the munchkin had other plans. She decided that Friday night was a great time to learn how to climb out of her crib, so the weekend (and most nights since then) ended up being an exercise in munchkin retrieval and sleep deprivation. (I think it was 11:30pm or so on Saturday before exhaustion won out and she finally crashed, too tired to make one more foray.)

I had big knitting plans for the weekend. The Scalloped Lace Toddler Cardigan has been languishing in my knitting basket since we got home from vacation and it was reunited with the missing skein of pink yarn. It needed two sleeves (and eleventy-billion ends woven in), so really, it was practically done, right?

Scalloped Lace Toddler Cardigan, nearly done

Wrong. I knit away at the first sleeve, ripping back several times as I debated the best way to reduce one pattern repeat on the underside of the arm. I had this season’s Wallander on the DVR to keep me company (I ♥ PBS!), so I was having a merry old time. I bound off and went to start the second sleeve (which, I reasoned, would take me much less time, since I didn’t have to tweak the design this time. I was more than halfway through the skein of white yarn, but hey, it wasn’t a very big sleeve as toddlers don’t exactly have huge arms, and I had another skein of yarn in my stash. About halfway through I looked down and realized that I only had a few yards left. I went upstairs and… (You know what’s going to happen here, don’t you? The ominous music is swelling in the background, like a horror movie in which the heroine has to go check out the mysterious thump in the basement, despite the fact that she’s only wearing underwear and several of her friends have just met grisly ends.)

Yes. I was out of yarn. With only a little over two inches of a small sleeve to go. Gah! So I sulked. And knit on a sock for a while. But finally I accepted there was no way around it; I was just going to have to order more yarn. This particular yarn (Shine Worsted) came from KnitPicks. It’s about $3 a skein. So I went to the KP website… and promptly spent $50. On the plus side, I got several books from their 40% off sale, and free shipping. On the minus side… I spent $50 to get a $3 skein of yarn. My husband would not find that to be such a great deal. So I also bought three skeins of Felici Sport to make a pair of socks for his gargantuan feet. I’m sure he’ll understand.

But the darn sweater is still sitting there, mocking me. It was chilly yesterday morning, and the munchkin informed me that she was cold. A sweater would have been perfect. Sigh.

Knitting, sometimes thou art a cruel mistress….

WIP Wednesday: Too many things on the needles!

It’s official: I am knitting too many things simultaneously, and as a result, I seem to be getting very little accomplished.

Solemate Sock-and-a-toe

Solemate Sock-and-a-toe

First, there are the Solemate socks that I started for the Ravellenic Games. I finished the first sock and cast on for the second, and then I got distracted by the felted slippers. Yep, Second Sock Syndrome has hit hard here.

And then there are the afore-mentioned Felted Slippers, which I have now knit twice. I am hoping that the third time is the charm, but honestly, my track record here is pretty bad, so I’m wondering what’s going to go wrong this time…

Scalloped and currently sleeveless...

Scalloped and currently sleeveless…

The Scalloped Lace Toddler Cardigan is still waiting patiently in my knitting bag. And the toddler in question needs me to finish this soon, especially because then I can work on the other project I had planned for her this fall, a cabled sweater jacket that will hopefully carry her through those cooler fall days.

Cathy Sweater-in-progress

Cathy Sweater-in-progress

And then there is the Cathay sweater, for which I took the Tahoe sweater from Knitty as inspiration and then proceeded to change every single thing except the original yarn. (Yeah, I’m a pain like that.) I knit it at a slightly tighter gauge, added bust and waist shaping, added sleeve shaping, and plan to finish off the yoke using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s seamless set-in sleeve. Which reminds me, I still need to spin the yarn I plan to use for the trim around the neck and buttonband…

And those are just the projects that are currently in progress. I’ve also got swatches for the cabled sweater for my daughter and a cabled vest for me.

I either need more knitting time or a 12-step program…

Pack your knitting first

Today is the first day of school here. My son is grumbling and packing up his new school supplies, but like many moms, I’m looking forward to the start of the new school year. Especially since my youngest will be attending preschool for two mornings a week, which means that I will have two whole hours to myself, two mornings a week. Yes, my first stop will be at my LYS. How did you guess?!

The last couple of weeks have been crazy. In addition to all the back-to-school errands, we snuck away for a family vacation (from which I brought home a lovely stomach flu souvenir, sigh). We made our annual pilgrimage to my parents’ vacation home on a lake in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. It’s a lovely, peaceful place. We sleep in (well, as much as the kids will let us!), take long walks, and go swimming and canoeing. My husband and son did a lot of fishing in the lake and caught enough keeper-sized fish for dinner one evening.

I, of course, brought plenty of knitting to keep me busy while our youngest was napping. I had the second Solemate sock to finish, as I had gotten distracted from my Ravellenic project by the felted slippers for my daughter. The first pair of slippers were a bit tight on her, so I cast on for a second pair, which I brought with me. The project I most hoped to complete during the week was the Scalloped Lace Toddler sweater, but at the last minute, I also threw in the Cathay yarn I’d purchased for a Tahoe sweater. I didn’t want to be caught “under-yarned” as the Yarn Harlot says!

The key words in that last paragraph are “at the last minute.” I’m the chief packer for my family. My husband packs his own clothes and the fishing gear, but I’m in charge of pretty much everything else. This means that I pack clothes for myself and the kids. I pack toys and activities to amuse them. I pack the not-insignificant amount of gear that you need with a toddler. I plan the meals we’ll eat and decide what we should take with us and what we can buy up there. There’s no washing machine, so we pack our own sheets and towels, plus beach towels, etc. You get the point; it’s a lot of stuff. And I’m always worried about forgetting something vital, so I made lists and triple-checked them. So the end result is that, although I thought about what knitting projects I’d want to take with me, I didn’t actually pack any of them until the morning we left.

I realized my first mistake before we’d been on the road an hour. I pulled out the slipper I was working on and discovered that, since I’d been working in the round, I had two different size tips on my circular needle. Which wouldn’t have been a big deal except that I was ready to begin working the heel flap, which is worked flat. D’oh. I contemplated changing the tips around at the end of every row and decided I’d rather just poke myself in the eye with one of them. I dig around in my bag and came up with an empty size 6 circular needle. I was using a size 11 (8mm) needle for the slippers, so I figured I could make two wraps for each stitch on the size 6 (4mm) needle and come up with the same approximate gauge. A size 5 probably would have worked perfectly, but I made do with the size 6, as the slight gauge differences will vanish in the felting process.

Once I’d finished the slippers, I reached for my next project, the scalloped lace cardigan. I carefully removed the waste yarn from the sleeve stitches and put them back on the needles. Then I picked up stitches from the underarms and resumed working in the round. I worked up to the point where I needed to work the first color, and then I reached in my bag. You guessed it; I had every color but the one I needed to use first. Another d’oh!

I worked on my sock for a bit, but I was really craving a larger gauge project that I didn’t need a magnifying glass to handle. (I really missed my knitting chair at home, which has a convenient reading lamp just over my right shoulder.) That left the Cathay sweater. For this project, I had actually remembered to bring both the yarn AND the needles I needed. Thank goodness! I was able to knit a second swatch, calculate all my stitch counts, and cast on for the bottom hem. I had a nice chunk of knitting time in the car on the way home, and have been making good progress in the evenings since then. Now that school has started, I might even be able to sneak in a bit more knitting time during the day. A girl can dream, right? Of course, I still need to finish the Scalloped Lace Toddler Cardigan, now that I’m home with my missing ball of yarn…

Think of me as your public service announcement: If you’re planning to travel, pack your knitting projects first!

Thrashing About

In the computer world, the term “thrashing” is used when a computer is swapping information in and out of memory so much that it can’t make progress on the task at hand. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of knitting on a lot of projects but not finishing anything, so it feels like all I’ve been doing is thrashing.

I’m making progress on the Pinkerton Shawl. It’s a good tv-watching knit. (My husband and I finally got around to checking out the PBS series “Sherlock,” and we’re totally hooked. Gotta track down season 1 on DVD now.) Each row is shorter than the last, so (in theory at least, even though it doesn’t feel that way!) the pace is picking up.

I added the other side of the buttonband to the Scalloped Lace Toddler Sweater… and it was too long. I picked up exactly the same number of stitches as I did on the buttonhole side, but it looks longer. Pondering whether I need to frog it and pick up fewer stitches (and if so, should I redo the buttonhole side, which seems fine?), or do I try to block it out? Nothing is ever easy, especially where my knitting is concerned…

I even pulled out my Linen Stitch scarf the other day, which I haven’t touched in months. I had a lovely knitting playdate with a friend (our kids played, she and I sat and gabbed and knit; bliss!) last week. She was working on a lovely linen stitch scarf using multiple strands of lace weight cotton yarn. It’s worked lengthwise, and you swap one strand of yarn out at a time, so it slowly transitions from one color to the next. Inspired by her scarf, I pulled out my own linen stitch scarf. I had about 12g of yarn left, and each round uses about 1g of yarn, so I only had about 10 more rounds to go before I could bind off. But man, these rounds are slow. The ball of yarn doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller, and if it wasn’t for my yarn scale slowly counting down the grams, I’d feel like I was stuck in an endless loop, knitting the same row, over and over and over.

I do feel a strange compulsion to finish something (or several somethings!) right now, so I think a case of Finishitis might be in the works. With any luck, I’ll have at lesat one finished object soon!

WIP Wednesday

Man, I love knitting for babies and little kids. These projects go fast!

Scalloped Lace Toddler Cardigan

I finished the body of the Scalloped Lace Toddler Sweater the other day. I love the way the colored scallops worked out. Perfect for a little “girly girl,” doncha think? (Although I will admit that I’m somewhat less enthusiastic about weaving in all of the ends!)

Flower ButtonsI found some perfect buttons on Etsy (again from Tessa Ann).

I’m not sure about the button band, though. I originally planned to do an I-cord button band in white. Then I thought about doing it in the same pink as the top scallop. Then when I got to the end of the body and still had the purple yarn attached, I thought I’d use that instead. But now I’m back to thinking that I might like buttons better against the white. Hmmmm. Anyone have any opinions on the subject?

Sweater with buttons

New on the needles

I loved the Scalloped Lace Baby Cardigan so much, I cast on for another one yesterday, this one in a toddler size. I’m giving this one a circular yoke instead of a raglan, to make it a bit lacier.

For this cardigan, I’m using KnitPicks Shine Worsted Yarn. It definitely feels more like cotton than the KP Comfy I used for the hoodie, so I’m finding it a bit harder on my hands. But once it’s knit up, it’s quite soft (as well as machine washable), so I think it’s a good choice for knits for kids.

Scalloped Lace Toddler Cardigan

Cat included for scale. 😉

For this sweater, I plan to use a different color yarn for each of the garter ridges, so I’m eager to get to the body of the sweater. I think this is going to be another fun knit!