It is 3pm on a Sunday, and I have managed so far to spend the entire day lounging in bed, listening to an audio book and knitting. In fact, if not for the need to take a photo for this blog post, I might not have stood up at all. I take this as proof that blogging is a physical activity, and will now say with confidence that I am indeed a sporty person.
I have been making good progress on my Acer cardigan, perhaps because I am being totally monogamous; no other project has managed to tempt me away. I have reached the bind-off for the armholes, and have finished the left front. (The body is knit in one piece till the armholes, and then the back and fronts are knit separately.)
Doug and I were invited to dinner on Friday by some friends who have an 8-year old daughter. She was fascinated by my knitting and asked about a hundred questions. She was particularly intrigued with the functions of the stitch markers and we embarked on a long conversation about the purpose of each and every one. (It is astonishing how smart and articulate an 8-year old can be; thank you, Amrita!) Answering her questions made me realise that others may wonder about this too. In the above photo, you can see two different types of marker. First, there are the markers which look like a tiny ball of yarn hanging from a loop – you can see these across the top row of the body of knitting, in purple and pink. These just indicate the boundaries between the patterned and the stockinette portions of the sweater. Until today, I also had similar markers in yellow which marked the side seams of the sweater. These have now been removed because I have bound off the underarm stitches.
The other type of stitch marker can open and looks like a little plastic safety pin. These are used to mark places on the knitting itself. The markers are colour-coded. In this sweater, I am using three colours – purple, orange and green. The purple ones mark where I have made waist decreases, and the orange ones mark the increases. You can see that I made three sets of paired decreases and three sets of paired increases. I use the green markers to note the pattern row. The cable and lace pattern for this cardigan has a 16-row repeat. The green markers indicate every time I begin a new pattern repeat; in other words, there is a green marker on every Row 1 of the 16-row repeat. These are absolutely invaluable. They mean I never lose my place in the cable pattern.
I used to mark all of my increases and decreases and pattern rows on a piece of paper as I knit. This was tedious. The paper always got lost. If I put a project down for a few months and then picked it up again, I couldn’t figure out where I was. Now, I mark everything important on the pieces themselves, using removable stitch markers. As long as I leave the markers in until the very end – when I am ready to block – I never have problems with remembering where I am or with matching one piece to the next.
As I am getting close to finishing this cardigan, I am spending some time thinking about what to cast on next. I have only one constraint: I can’t spend any money. One of the prime contenders is the Wren Fairisle Yoke, a pullover designed by Marie Wallin:
I have a kit for this pullover, purchased from baa ram ewe, thus the cost outlay to cast on is zero. It is not a sweater for the faint-hearted, however; not only is there stranded colourwork involved, but the yarn is fingering-weight. This project will eat up considerable knitting time, especially for slow knitters like me. Before I think about casting on, however, I have a question to pose. Wren is knit from the bottom up, in the round. I am considering using a provisional cast on for the yoke, and knitting the yoke bottom-up, and then picking up the provisional stitches and knitting the sleeves and body top-down. The pros (as I see them):
- I am worried about the amount of yarn I have in the Main Colour. If I knit the sleeves and body top down, I will not have to play yarn chicken; if I don’t have enough, I can use a contrast colour on the ribbing.
- I think that the sleeves and body look too baggy on the pattern photos (see the Ravelry page, here). I think it will be easier for me to try on and decrease appropriately to get a better fit if I am knitting top-down.
- The Yoke is more fun. Life sucks right now in many ways. Fun is good.
The big con (as I see it) is knitting the sleeves while having the whole sweater pooled on my lap; much easier to go around and round on tiny needles without the whole weight of the sweater to deal with. Have I missed any pros or cons? Do any of you have experience with this kind of thing? I welcome your advice.
Now that I have finished writing this post, it is time for me to indulge in some physical fitness. Thus, please excuse me while I walk up the stairs and pick up my book.