Ups and downs

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:

Myrtle is designed by Kate Davies; here is a Ravelry link to the pattern, and here is a link to Kate’s website.) Below is a close-up to showcase the horseshoe lace stitch:

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.

8 thoughts on “Ups and downs

  1. I do the same thing, tie knots in the tail! If I’m doing a stockinette swatch, I’ll do purl stitches (# of st = needle size) on the RS

  2. I cut up Tyvek envelopes into rectangles, punch a hole, write the needle size with a laundry marking pen and tied it to the swatch. I can wash and block the swatch without worrying about losing the information.

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