Category Archives: Multidirectional Scarf

Finished object equals happy knitter.

Hmm. Some people appear to have committed to a three-month YNBA – for me, that would mean buying no knitting anything until…March 24. Yikes. An extra 23 days. Let’s see how the next forty-nine go, shall we? It’s actually not so bad so far, although you only realize how many yarn shop e-mail lists you’re on when you have to delete the e-mails without reading them. But in shockingly happy news, I have won sock yarn from Susan by correctly guessing the size of her sock yarn stash without going over. When she admitted she was keeping yarn in her desk drawer at work, I knew I had a good shot. Thanks, Susan! [Note that there is no injunction against winning yarn during the YNBA, just purchasing it. Thank goodness!]

I wanted this to be the post in which I showed you completed pictures of the Multidirectional Scarf. Though I had my doubts, a head cold and a fierce bout of knitting Sunday produced something lovely. Project specs: About 380 yards (most of two 200+ yard skeins) of DZined worsted weight wool/hemp/mohair blend, knitted on size 5 needles (ball band calls for sizes 6-8, and I knit loosely) produced a six foot Multidirectional Scarf. I used the alternate ending provided in the pattern that makes the last triangle symmetrical, and I wove in my ends using duplicate stitch, more or less. Fun fact: I gave away my pattern not once but twice because local knitters admired my scarf. Hee.

So that makes four things still on the needles for those playing along at home (Lush sweater, Cabled Rib Cardigan, Cherry Tree Hill socks and Age of Aquarius Hat); I’m tempted to pick up the hat or the cabled cardigan, because the hat would go quickly and Knit One Purl Too’s stash distribution staff (aka my husband) wants a sweater (now!), but I may do something radical. Ready? Read on.

The project that has languished the longest on the needles is the Lush sweater; swatched for on January 27th of this year. Longtime readers will note that I first started this sweater after I decided that I did not like the top-down raglan in Ballybrae that suffered from my ahem developing knitting technique (read: I made a heap of mistakes I could sort of see, but wasn’t yet savvy enough to fix). Unfinished sweaters? 2 Completed garments? 0. Zero! This is the great embarrassment of my knitting life, that I’ve yet to complete a sweater. I have most of the back and a sleeve done, but I am again having quality control issues – the Lush sweater has some “operator errors”. I have no desire to give in to my perfectionist tendencies, but could I make the sweater better and have a learning experience at the same time?

Here is my plan:

1. Cast on front and back stitches; mark the side seam placement after
ribbing is complete.
2. Knit to the armholes; make phoney seams.
3. From armholes to shoulders, knit front and back separately, back and forth, casting off for armholes.
4. I think there’s minor casting-off for neck shaping at this point.
Cast off stitches for front and back neck, but leave shoulder stitches
live for 3-needle bindoff.
5. In original pattern, sleeves are knit cuff up and inserted into
shoulders; I could do it up or down, I suppose.
6. Bind off shoulders. Pick up stitches around neck edge for turtleneck; knit turtleneck.

Can you tell what I’m doing? That’s right – reworking the pattern so the sweater is knit from the bottom up in the round. I’ve had a hankering to do a sweater in the round since I started knitting, and this plan lets me do that while still checking something off my list of unfinished objects. It’s like two steps backward to take a leap forward, but I feel good about re-starting a sweater I know will turn out better in the end.

Significantly, after re-reading Knitting Without Tears and The “I Hate to Finish Sweaters” Guide to Finishing Sweaters this past week I realized I just plain understood more of it. Amazing what a year of knitting experience will add to your brain. For reference, here are part one and part two of Jenna Wilson’s excellent series for Knitty on the vagaries of sleeve shaping. making sure the sleeves fit properly will be the most challenging part of this plan – and I think I’m ready. Can I finish a sweater – any sweater – before March 24?

The bonus link is back: For future reference, here is an Irish Hiking Scarf pattern, seen at Trish’s place.

64 days isn’t that long.

ynbaluarie_1.jpg What would life be like if I bought no yarn, no patterns, no knitting books until February 1? Is there a hobby where you don’t spend your time overloading acquiring things for the hobby? If so, let me know, and the hobby better not be “the practice of Zen”.

It’s not like I would lack for things to read, or knit. I have four five six projects on the needles (the Cabled Rib cardigan, the Age of Aquarius hat, the Cherry Tree Hill socks…the Lush sweater and the multidirectional scarf. That’s kind of embarrassing. Without the distractions of new acquisitions, I might actually finish something. At least the multidirectional scarf has gotten significantly longer.

I’ve acquired a stack of knitting books recently, but I should go back and re-read my very first two: Knitting Without Tears, and The “I Hate to Finish Sweaters” Guide to Finishing Sweaters. That might help as I confront the fact that despite my best efforts, I’m actually making progress on the Cabled Rib Cardigan.

I am still struggling, however with the heel for Michelle’s Basic Socks. After deciding simply to forge ahead and do a “regular” short row heel, I was unsatisfied with the results. Sloppy wraps to the left in that photo, and a big lump at the base of the heel to the right. I could ignore it and continue with what I’m coming to suspect is a substandard sock, but no. First, the YNBA is a reflective thing, a period in which can consider my techniques and improve upon them with current projects, rather than starting something new to get away from a problem with something old. Two, and most important, I can already buy socks that don’t fit properly at any store on the planet except for AutoZone. I make socks that fit.

I returned to Simple Socks Plain and Fancy, and have re-read the short-row heel instructions. They are sinking in. I am prepared to have a growth experience with my knitting. I am prepared to learn and grow as a knitter rather than rush headlong into something unsatisfying. Either that, or I’ll do an afterthought heel.

Peak experiences (and I’m not talking about the sock pattern).

It seems to be a pattern – I buy just a little more yarn, then I review my existing stash and feel the need to have a lie-down because, as the world’s slowest knitter, I easily have more than a year’s worth of projects waiting. Maybe two years’ worth. Then I buy a little more yarn. Usually sock yarn, because it’s cheaper, and after all, how long can socks take? Well, for my birthday last May, my mom took me to the yarn store and I bought some Mountain Colors and some Meilenweit Cotton Fun…both still stashed, seven months later. I lamely proposed a rule to my husband that I should not re-shop at a yarn store I’ve visited until I knit up something that I purchased there. [note: Technically, I’ve already broken this rule by returning to my LYS to purchase Magic Looping stuff and yarn for swatching, even as the felted tote I so wanted to make languishes]. Thank goodness for KnitFest.

Joke not about Toledo – when it is the site of knitting classes and knitting vendors you would ordinarily not see in your neck of the woods, it’s a beautiful place. Things worth sharing:

1. I sat two feet from Nancy Bush for three hours. I watched her cut a steek, which is as cool as it sounds. She was smart and funny, and I managed to keep up with the class without having to admit I have never finished a knitted garment. She signed my book. She just finished a new sock book too, so keep your eyes peeled.

2. Marilyn from Blackwater Abbey Yarns is the nicest person ever – by the time I finish the Cabled Rib Cardigan, we will have tracked down the perfect wooden buttons for it. What’s more, I spotted a new pattern for a cabled cardigan with a healthy dose of bobbles and XOX ribbing by Beth Brown-Reinsel, one of a series of pretty stunning samples knitted up and featured in the Blackwater Abbey booth…and named after Marilyn herself. Very cool, so that came home with me [no picture yet here or at the BWA site – it’s that new!].

3. My first two-color knitting project will be a Christmas stocking kit from Arnhild Hillesland that thankfully, doesn’t have to be ready until next Christmas. She has a lifetime’s worth of beautiful Norwegian patterns, at least for someone who knits as slowly as I do. As I left, she said “You know where to find us!” Oh, I’ll be back, don’t worry.

Finally, there was Debi from Dzined; I had been stalking her since summer, hoping to feel and purchase some of her yarns in person, and I liked them so much I shopped there twice…in a two hour period (Please. What if someone bought the sock yarn I wanted while I was in class? You would have done the same thing). In addition to two completely different skeins of sock yarn, I got some worsted varigated in lovely deep fall hues to make a Multidirectional scarf because it’s officially cold here in Ohio now. I was so excited that I cast on Saturday and knitted (here’s a closeup) on the way to a wedding in Columbus. Was I working on charity mittens? That are due today? No, I was enjoying the yarn that, for me, was worth waiting for. As I said to Stephanie yesterday, the variation in color is not tacky and bad (like some yarns which shall go unnamed and keep us from enjoying variegated lace to its fullest), but subtle and good. I would buy Debi’s yarn sight unseen now ["Hi, it's Donna - here's the VISA, send more yarn, whatever's good."], and not just because we clearly like the same colors. It may be the one yarn I’d take to a desert island with me, and I’ve touched angora.

Now, about those charity mittens – do you think I can finish the mate (not started) by dinnertime? Clearly someone who puts her own needs before those of children who need mittens is a bad person. At least the scarf and I will look stylish in hell.