Monday, January 09, 2006

The Joy of Knitting

The hat is moving along nicely. I thought today might see it finished, but my hands got a bit tired of wrestling with the 16" circulars, and I'm almost done - the next row starts my decreases, so I've about 12 rows to go, period - and since I really will need to order more yarn before really diving into the sweater ... well, I made a sweater swatch.

But before I did that, I made lots of small tables and colored many more small cells. Then I made copies of those tables, and pasted them all over the place. And moved them to better places. And changed them. Thank goodness for computers! Then, once I had a reasonable number of potential patterns to swatch, I had to decide how to swatch. Of course, I needed to swatch in the round. Why ever would I swatch with two colors otherwise? But maybe, just maybe, I could turn the swatch into two Norwegian socks? Why not? (Because sanity prevailed, that's why) So I cast on 60 stitches, did a rib for as little as I thought I could get away with, and started to Knit. With small yarns. And small needles (5" long 2 US, to be precise.) It was sheer bliss. Small yarns are good. Small needles are good. And the two together are what I was meant to knit, unless I need to have something done by yesterday. Then larger yarns on medium needles are warranted. But otherwise, I think I could cheerfully live with fingering yarn or smaller. The drape. The feel. The smell. Aaaaah.

Of course, one is supposed to *wash* a swatch before measuring it. Or at least get it off the needles. I couldn't resist, though, and a quick inaccurate check showed I'm right around my target gauge of 8 spi. The nice thing about designing a sweater is being able to work with whatever gauge I get, rather than 'get gauge. Or else.' I like how the tube looks, and ... it even fits as a sock! I stuck the stitches on a piece of scrap yarn (from the hat, where else?) and gave it a quick soak, press, and am letting it dry. Tomorrow I will measure it, and start calculating how many stitches my sweater needs where ... then comes plotting out which designs go where, and then comes the knitting! But perhaps not in that order. Once I figure out that the sweater needs, say, 352 stitches at the chest, I can easily cast on 316 for the rib and start knitting. For at least 2 hours, and then I'll run out of black yarn and have to order more. Sniff. Another yarn order. I'll have to be very careful about dyelots, though, because both the yarns that I used in the swatch were labelled 'Black.'

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