The past few weeks have had some ups and downs, in all aspects of life. Let’s talk here about those of the knitterly variety. You may remember that I took the yarn kit which had been destined as a Scout Shawl, and decided instead to make a summerly riff on Myrtle (blogged here). However, due to some inspired lying by the gauge swatch, I ended up with something big enough for me and a close friend to wear together.
I had knitted this with a US2.5 needle, which is pretty darned small, in a size 3. I decided to go down both by a needle, and by a size, so cast on for a size 2 with a US2 needle. This was problematic because my only US2 needle tips had previously suffered an accident, and hadn’t been replaced. (Note to self: If you leave your needles on the floor, they are bound to be stepped on eventually.)
I knitted all of the ribbing and the first six stripes with a bent needle before my new tips arrived in the post. I had fretted about changing both the needle size and the garment size, without swatching again. But since the swatch was pretty useless the first time, I decided just to take a chance on my gut. You can see that it paid off, as the fit is now much more reasonable:
This second attempt was addictive and I was happily knitting along while re-listening to Shards of Honor, the first in the Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold. Despite knowing how it ends, I got caught up in the story and kept knitting – this is a definite no-no for someone who suffers from repetitive stress problems to the wrists and hands. I finally stopped when I noticed the swelling in my left wrist. Much too late. I then had to spend the next 4 or 5 days resting my hands.
Yesterday, my hands had recovered slightly, and keen to start listening to Barrayar, I decided to knit a swatch for Caravay (Ravelry link). The pattern suggested a US size 4 needle, and I knew that I would need to go up a size, so I started out with a US5, and then knitted a second swatch with a US6.
The yarn knitted up so nicely, and then really bloomed in the bath. It also dries so quickly. The yarn is Tinde, a DK pelt wool from Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk, in the colour Burgundy. Stunning, isn’t it? (The yarn was provided by the company as part of a prize I won from the sweater’s designer, Linda Marveng.)
I wrote a post a number of years ago about the difficulties of recording information on the swatch – how do you remember after the fact which size needle you knitted it with? I came up with a solution there, which involved writing down all of the information and storing it together with the swatch in a see-through plastic binder pocket; however, I must admit that I don’t often follow through with this system. This morning, I “invented” a new technique for encoding which size needle I knitted each swatch with. (I use the quotes because it’s totally unlikely that others haven’t thought of it, although I don’t think I’ve read of it previously.) See the knots in the yarn at the bottom of the swatches? I put 5 knots in the one knitted with a US5, and 6 knots in the one with a US6. This worked out well. (At least with whole numbers; this could be more problematic with metric sizes.)
I hope your Sunday has more ups than downs.