Friday, December 30, 2005

'Tis the Fifth Day of Christmas

and as some observant people have noticed, I did not blog on the fourth day. That was because a certain vest was proving recalcitrant and I spent 2 hours trying to realize my plan for a neck bind off. A good chunk of that was spent unpicking my first few tries. By the end of the evening, I was not speaking to the vest (but I was muttering about it a good deal) and so I decided not to reward the cantankerous thing with a picture in my blog. One of the good things about yesterday - and there were quite a few, actually, just nothing pertaining to finishing the vest's neck edging - was that I started my next project, a pair of mittens.

Yesterday I finished the patterned knitting of the vest, sewed the steeks, sliced the steeks open with blantant disregard for the integrity of my yarn, learned that to havea perfect 'meet' at the seam, I'll need to work half a pattern row before doing a 3-needle bind-off, and worked on the neck until I got sick of it.

Today, I conquered the neck, began and finished the nicely cooperative armholes. I'm going to save the Weaving of the Ends (not too many) for tomorrow. And who knows how far I'll get on the mittens! (First, *I* have to figure out which Fair Isle pattern I'm going to use on the cuff. So many choices, so few mittens...)

Despite the fact that all I've been talking about lately is knitting, I do have some children. They are very good about me being occupied during school vacation, and rarely remind me that they're bored and have nothing to do. It's counterproductive to be bored when one's room could use a good cleaning. And if there's fresh snow outside, well, then ... make snow forts while the weather is cold!

I have an important knitting lesson for those of you who knit. I'm sure you've heard it said many times (or at least read it) that you should always check your dyelots, and buy enough of a single dyelot to finish your project. But have you ever noticed a difference in dyelots? Excluding hand dyed yarns, of course? I never have. I've run into problems when I try to order more yarn 10 years after getting the first bit of yarn in a freebie bag from someone emptying their closet, and finding the company is closing out that style and only has two colors left, but actual dyelots problems? No. Not me. Not until ....

Look carefully. You will see that these two balls of Palette yarn are black. One is dyelot 3753, and the other is dyelot 4320. Can you see the difference between the dyelots? I thought so. I will be *very* careful, especially when using the ball on the left, to get the same dyelot if I need more of that shade of black.

Other knitting musings. The neck on my newly finished vest looks awfully small. I was all prepared to be smug about following EZ's directions to a T (so far as her directions are that precise), and not trying to follow the 45 degree angle of the pattern lines, which would give a short choppy neck ... but what did I end up with? A short, choppy neck. It fits very nicely over my husband's head, so I'm not concerned with it not fitting. But ... it just looks tiny. The next time I make a vest in this gauge, I think I'll start the neck shaping about 10 rows before finishing the sleeve shaping (sorry, Elizabeth). There's also the matter of picking up stitches along the edge. Typically, you pick up 4 stitches for every 3 rows, because standard gauge is like that ... 6 stitches = 8 rows = 1". My gauge was more like 6.3 sts = 6.3 rows = 1". So I picked up one for one, and my, is that ribbing around the neck a bit stretched. Not terribly so, but I'm going to let the vest stew for a few days and maybe (after the mittens are done) I'll take out the neck ribbing, pick up more stitches, and re-knit the thing. Without trying to do a sewn cast-off.

And thus closes the Year of the Vest. I realized, as I was sewing the last bit of ribbing down, that I've made four vests this year. One in April for my Master Knitting project, then two in the fall for a friend, and now this one. I've also made a goodly number of socks this year - maybe over 20 pairs? (including two argyles which don't match .. one for Master Knitting, and one for my husband. The match to that one will come some time after I get him to try on the first and find out what adjustments are necessary to make it fit.)

Don't expect any more Days of Christmas posts. I've gotten you up to date on all my Christmas yarn goodies, the Vest Blitz is done, and mittens await. Since this entry is already rather long, I'll save my Knitting Small Diameter Openings Mutterings for another post, next year.


Heatherly said...

oh! i love the vest! it looks really wonderful!

HomeJewel said...

Your vest is gorgeous! I saw your post on the Masterknitter's list (I'm lurking there). Thanks for sharing :)