Monthly Archives: January 2005

Measure twice, order once.

I am a cautious knitter. I swatch, I read patterns all the way through. Knitting appeals to my need to plan, to organize, to do things well. But I missed one crucial measurement years ago that is still haunting today’s knitting. First, some background without crossing too far into “overshare” territory: I wear a size 36C bra.

Mistake #1: In late 2003, I got a great deal on some Classic Elite Lush to make a turtleneck. Reviewing the sizes available in the pattern, I select the medium, with a finished chest size of 36″ that takes ten skeins. I buy my ten skeins.

Mistake #2: The Ebay seller ships my order twice, and says “keep the extra ten skeins” when I offer to return the yarn – so nice! Shortly thereafter, I receive the Spring 2004 issue of Interweave Knitts, and am completely smitten with Veronik Avery’s lovely cardigan, Salt Peanuts. Coincidentally, Elann, yarn purveyor to the stars, has the specified yarn on sale. I come up with the idea to sell the extra ten skeins of Lush and buy the Salt Peanuts yarn with the proceeds. I sell the extra ten skeins of Lush.

Mistake #3: Reviewing the sizes available in the Salt Peanuts pattern, I select the 37 1/2″ finished chest size because of course, I am 36″ around, and purchase my 19 balls of Muench Bergamo – I got an extra, because you don’t want to run out.

Last week, considering the purchase of a sweater from a seller affiliated with that distinguished retailer EBay, I asked Knit One Purl Too’s fitting specialist (my husband) to measure my chest.

Have you guessed what happens next?

40 inches around. When they measure you for a bra, the measurement is around your ribcage below your breasts, not including them – why did I not remember that? Let me say that again for those of you who may not fully understand the magnitude of my blunder: The measurement does not include your breasts.

So let’s review: Unbeknownst to me, I order not enough yarn for my first sweater. I receive a second free shipment that gives me the appropriate quantity, plus some. I knit not one but two pieces of sweater #1 in the wrong size. I sell the free yarn, and buy not enough yarn for another sweater. No, I’m not kidding.

If I break the YNBA, you’ll know why. Actually, here’s what I’ve decided to do. My birthday is too far away (May) to reasonably call any pre-April yarn purchase a gift. Are you familiar with the term Shabbos Goy, a Gentile who does things on behalf of observant Jews who must keep the Sabbath as a day of rest? Should I use up all of the Lush before March 24 (God, I hope so), I will press my husband into service as Knit One, Purl Too’s yarn goy, to click the button marked “order” so I can buy two more skeins of Lush and finish my sweater. He has said he will only do this if I publicly admit that I’ve asked him to, so there you go.

Sigh; I enter into this plan with the utmost respect for both observant Jews and the YNBA. Also, no breasts were harmed in the making of this entry, though I did bang my head against the desk in frustration several times at my boneheaded stupidity.

Bonus links: A preview of Interweave knits Spring 2005 projects. And, the Red Scarf Project for a Chinese orphanage.

A hat in 36 hours.

When we last saw this hat (the Age of Aquarius Hat from Knitter’s Stash), it was September 30, and it was all brim. I had every intention of finishing it, but I wasn’t in a big hurry…until we were invited to a party at the recipient’s house last Sunday. So between Friday afternoon and Sunday afternoon, I knitted. A lot. And there you go, as easy as falling off a log (and knitting for ten hours, including in the car, on the way to the party). A hat in 36 hours. Who do I think I am, Stephanie? [another photo – sadly, the photo of the back, taken in a hurry was out of focus]. Everyone at the party tried on this hat, and they were impressed with the softness of the yarn and the pleasing shape – the crown is nice and round, avoiding the bullet-head look that many stocking caps give the wearer. I’d make this hat again – it was better than Cats.

So, in spite of my best efforts to stall and start multiple projects, I’m down to three projects on the needles – the Cabled Rib Cardigan, the second Cherry tree Hill sock, and the Lush sweater. More accurately, the Lush sweater is *off* the needles, but only temporarily – I frogged my one and a half pieces and am excited to start again. Taking a step backward was oddly liberating.

I urge you to take a look at the completed Man-Along sweaters; they’re so inspiring! I have not yet finished the Cabled Rib Cardigan, but these sweaters make me want to get knitting!

Knitter, heel thyself.

Okay, raise your hand if you noticed that I accidentally added an entire extra month into my YNBA between the first post and the second post. I even set up a little counter down there in the sidebar (currently at 79 days) and thought “that’s a long time, but I can do it!” And you know what? I can. February 24? That’s for sissies. I’m not buying any books, yarns, needles or patterns until March 24. What’s more, I’d like to finish a sweater before I buy new yarn, so that gives me two rewards (yarn and garment). Even a slow knitter can finish a sweater in 80 days, right?

In gifting news, I neglected to mention that I received Confessions of a Knitting Heretic and Knitting for Anarchists for Christmas. They’re very interesting to read together – it’s a pair of books I feel I can appreciate more now that I’ve been knitting for a little while (though I would have loved to read both books’ detailed discussion of stitch mounts much earlier – it might have saved me from twisting a row of stitches on this sweater. Can you see it? About a third of the way up the stockinette section of the back? Joan Schrouder advised another knitter in a similar situation to cut the yarn at that point, pick out the offending row of stitches, and kitchener the upper and lower parts together. I could do that, but I still have the urge to re-knit this sweater in the round, so that’s what I’ll do.

The best gift might actually have been these two balls of Misti Alpaca for the Flower Basket Shawl from Interweave Knits. I love that my 23 year old cousin bought yarn for me, and I love that his mom had to explain what a skein was; thank goodness my aunt is a knitter.

And finally, I present the finished afterthought heel on the first Cherry Tree Hill Sock. I used Dawn Brocco’s six-point heel instructions, and though I feared the heel would be too pointy, it fits beautimously, and my kitchenering has improved since a terrible charity mitten disaster a few weeks ago that we shall not speak of except to say 1.) it looked like ass, and 2.) “Speed-kitchenering” is never a good idea, even if you think you know what you’re doing. I added about six rows of stockinette to make the heel deeper, and was so pleased with the result that I promptly forgot to add the three rounds of stockinette between the first two rows of decreases. Fits fine, no harm no foul – I’m mostly noting these changes so I have a snowball’s chance of repeating them in the second sock.

Finally, I think Theresa had the right idea – there are a lot of really well-written, interesting knitting blogs out there, and it’s time for one (or more) of them to be part of the annual slugfest lovefest that is the Bloggies. Visit the Fifth Annual Weblog Awards page before January 11 and nominate the best knitblogs out there for “Best Topical Weblog”. yes, it’s a little like a high school popularity contest, but isn’t everything? Why shouldn’t knitters get in on the fun?

A new year.

I liked Claudia’s idea: end as you mean to begin, so I knitted my way to the end of 2004, or at least until I could barely keep my eyes open and it was time for bed. I am once again re-doing the heel of the Cherry Tree Hill socks – Dawn Brocco’s six-point decrease instructions are swell, but the original heel was not deep enough. This makes the fifth or sixth version of this heel – my apologies for turning this blog into the “Sock Death March.” I’ve made no secret of this to those around me, but I’ll say here for the record that I’m not a fan of the Cherry Tree Hill – the color is gorgeous, but I didn’t expect the stripes. The yarn splits easily, and it seems loosely twisted, so once it splits, it can untwist and single stitches, worked to death, can look oddly Lopi-esque. I think sock yarn should stand up to frogging, and this does not. But I soldier on, so close to the end of sock #1, if I can ever finish the heel.

A long overdue thanks too to Susan for some delightful sock yarn from her huge stash – this makes just two balls of yarn aquired during the YNBA*. What you can’t see in this picture is that the yarn Susan sent sparkles – woo! I’m thinking it might be perfect for the New England Socks from Knitting on the Road. Something lacy, with a heel flap. Whew. Thanks, Susan!

So now I’ll begin as I ended – more knitting in store, and God willing and the creek don’t rise, a finished heel by sundown. Happy knitting new year!

*(well, four balls of yarn if you count a swap for some Regia that I will probably use to knit the Elann sock yarn cap, a stroke of brilliance since I got two different colors, and mismatched socks are only marginally cool if you’re over 30.)