Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Casting on

There are some yarns you either love or hate. And I think I have just made a mistake, the kind of mistake you make when $40 more will get you free shipping so you order 6 balls of yarn without knowing if you're a lover or a hater. This is the pattern photo that did it:
I can't explain why I thought I would want to knit this twice. I would be very excited to wear this scarf, and I picked great colors for matching my coat, but the pattern itself seems very simple. I just started working on the first version this afternoon, and so far, I'm a hater. Now that I've had a chance to collect myself, I realize that a more appropriate needle would have made the whole experience a lot smoother. At first I tried some generic and pointy aluminum needles, but they were way too heavy, so I cast on again using Addis (the regular ones, not the lace version). I'll give you a peek at how things went:
This is what Mo would call "a hot mess". This particular disaster is because I jumped up to grab the phone, but the experience as a whole was fairly unpleasant. I think it's still early enough to manage without resorting to scissors even though I've heard this yarn is a terror to take out. I may leave this until I can get my hands on some nice, pointy lace needles.

To avoid dealing with the magenta business above, I decided to start my swatch for Alouette. Sometimes, it turns out, I'm a lover. A lover who wants to do the gauge swatch right. A lover who doesn't mind having to cast on again and again and again. A lover who is willing to go back and fix mistakes.
I love how the pattern is turning out. I can't wait to see how the colors play off each other in the stitch pattern, but I'm attracted to the simplicity of a single color; it seems luxurious in person. This swatch is much wider than any I've done before. I just listened to the swatching episode of the Knit Science podcast, and she recommends doubling the suggested width and measuring from the center to avoid any weird tension changes near the edges. For a while I toyed with the idea of going all out and making a complete sleeve as a gauge swatch, but I worried that doing all of the stripes would leave me with unusable scraps of yarn if I ended up having to make changes and start over. The swatch is so large that it's likely I'll need to unravel it in order to finish the actual sweater. I'm not sure what the implications are for how I wash and block it before measuring. It would have been a much more rational purchase to spend some of that $40 on an extra ball dedicated to swatching and a back-up ball of Calmer.
I spent all of yesterday sewing up the pink cardigan, but I'm holding out for some sunny weather before taking pictures. smbelcas warned me this morning that the Blue Sky Organic Cotton stretches out. I was using the Dyed Cotton and not the organic version, but they seem as if they would behave in an identical manner. I'm hoping that the eyelet pattern will be enough to hold the stitches in somehow. Does that seem reasonable? And if I keep it buttoned, mightn't the negative horizontal ease keep the stitches from collapsing?


Opal said...

Is that mohair? It always lures me in with its beauty and I'm always left hating it once I actually get it on the needles. Frogging it takes a lot of *patience*. You might also want to try sticking it in the freezer for 5 minutes. Don't ask me why it helps, it just does.

Mo said...

Yeah, mohair is evil and in my experience you can't take it out but maybe that freezing thing will work? That other yarn is real pretty. Is that the one for your momma?

Do I really say a hot mess that frequently?

I'm glad you can take out stitches and start again. I was a lil worried about you before.

Sorry we keep playing phonetag.