Bits and Bobs

by flowergirlknits

There’s a bit of this and a bit of that going on knitting-wise around here – halfway through a pair of socks, swatching for the next sweater and some follow-up on my Central Park Hoodie.

First of all, since it’s been so cold and snowy here, I’m starting off with some eye candy – a lacy sock and flowers. The sock is the first from my latest sock project – Embossed Leaves – and the flowers are hyacinths; sadly, these are forced bulbs from the grocery store and not from my garden but beautiful and welcome none the less.

The swatch is for a cotton, three-quarter length sleeve version of Ariann. I think this will make a wonderful, light summer sweater to throw over a t-shirt or dress, especially in over-air-conditioned situations. This sweater already has a long history with me; I actually started it last June, struggled with the pattern, set it aside, then picked up the pattern for a wool version. Wool is more forgiving than cotton and so even though I still struggled with the pattern, I was able to figure it out. One really big thing I learned while knitting the wool version was that knitting a swatch is a good idea (Note to Self: Learn from and believe in the hundreds of years of knitting wisdom that has been handed down to today’s knitters. They are smarter than you and they are always right) The wool Ariann is nice enough, but sloppy-big (the victim no swatching for gauge and picking a too-big size) I still wanted a cotton version. I had knit two sleeves and started the body on my first attempt; now the question was whether cotton yarn could be frogged and reused. There was an excellent article in Knitting Daily a couple months ago about recovering wool yarn, but no mention of cotton. One way to find out is to plunge right in; I unraveled a sleeve and knit a gauge swatch and the yarn knit up just fine. This yarn (Lion Brand Cotton Ease) has some acrylic (eek!) in it which probably gives it some memory and made this work. Not surprisingly, I had to drop two needle sizes (loose woman that I am haha), but I’m getting gauge now. Also, I had originally bought extra yarn so I’ll really only have to reclaim a small amount. Wow – knitting from the stash and finishing off a long-hibernating WIP! Amazing.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka yarnharlot) had a fascinating post a couple days ago about reinforcing knitting with crochet. She talked about how useful this little technique was, especially in some sweater designs and specifically the Central Park Hoodie. A row of single crochet across the back of the neck can stabilize a knitted fabric that may sag (Stephanie explains it beautifully; check out her blog and if you’re not reading her blog, you should – educational, inspiring and fun – don’t miss it) Of course I ran home after work and dug out a crochet hook and added the crochet row across the back where the hood meets the back of the sweater (I imagined dozens and dozens of CPH’s getting the same treatment across the knitting world!) It took mere moments and looks neat and inconspicuous. I have never done much sewing and don’t know much about finer dressmaking details so I’m very sponge-like when it comes to any tips that help make a garment wearable. I am always happy/grateful to learn from the masters. Thanks Stephanie!

Next time, will I be able to fend off the siren call of more yarn? Or will I be able to rationalize a purchase as smart and even thrifty? Be sure to tune in!